Before I moved to Grand Forks about 18 months ago, I was eagerly investigating the pulse of the Grand Forks region UAS industry. I’ve been involved in the field on a variety of levels for more than 10 years, from operational use, training & development, and strategic planning. While researching the region, I was inspired by the humble and impactful events that are occurring.
There is an awe-inspiring excitement in the region revolving around UAS innovations, advancements, and technologies. Surprisingly, it isn’t being inspired by tech giants, but instead local companies, entrepreneurs, and business owners right here in the area.
Breaking ground at the Grand Sky UAS Business Park, successful research and development projects from the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, degree programs and training offered at The University of North Dakota and Northland Community & Technical College, and dedicated investment and operations from leading UAS companies such as General Atomics and Northrop Grumman. I was able to find and share those headlines with my family to make the case and get them excited to venture to North Dakota.
The pulse that I ’ve found is a strong & powerful one. Momentum is building for the Grand Forks region to be the epicenter for monumental advancements for UAS operations in the United States.
A month into my new role with the EDC, it’s crystal clear: The Red River Valley and Grand Forks region is completely dedicated to making the area a great place to live, work, and prosper. Manufacturing, agriculture, UAS, and professional sectors all seem to be in a balance – a balance that feeds one another through collaboration, learning, and engagement. Public and private entities, including the citizens, care about the health of the entire region. It becomes more and more evident every day.
I am excited to be immersed in the unmanned systems sector as the UAS Sector Development Manager. I am already engaging with the leaders of this push forward. Government, military, local and state, as well as commercial industry leaders, are geared together to make things happen. They are committed to make things happen in a way that is sustainable and healthy for the long-term future of the region.
My days are spent collaborating, brainstorming, and strategizing with the leaders in the UAS sector. We are coming together in working groups to devise plans on the development of the UAS Sector, building on our region’s history of exciting UAS firsts. Discussing ways to integrate the capabilities of each partner in this growing industry breeds vibrancy. On both personal and professional fronts, I have found Grand Forks is “way cooler” than I thought. The community accepts new families by supporting people like us who take the journey to North Dakota. My wife and I are joining the chorus of people who say, “Now that we’re here, we don’t want to leave.” And that’s the plan. There’s a lot happening here. Not just in the UAS sector, but all over. You won’t believe it until you see it, so come see.