This article was published in the Winter 2021 issue
by Paul Huish, Founder and CEO, DroneHive
Greetings from DroneHive! While we’ve been in Utah for over a year, having relocated our tech startup from Silicon Valley to Greater Salt Lake City (based in Park City) in December 2019, this is indeed our first introduction to Silicon Slopes and many of you out there in the Utah business community. I am Paul Huish, the founder and leader of DroneHive, one of the largest and most successful Drone Service Providers in North America. My family has a long history of entrepreneurship in the Salt Lake Valley, starting with my Great-Great uncle, who was in the casket trade. I am a Utah-native, born at “the U” and now that I’m back it truly feels like home during such a challenging year. In the relatively short time DroneHive has been in Utah, there are a few standout things I've experienced in the business community.
-The overall excitement about the future and what is being built in Utah is more vibrant, visible, and vocal than where we came from, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.
-The community is less competitive and much more collaborative, embracing the cliché saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats”.
-I see much more “Business for Good” with entrepreneurs who believe if they work towards good goals for society, they will naturally engender success for themselves and those around them.
These attributes align powerfully with our company values focused on environmental sustainability and STEM labor force development in underserved communities, which is why we're thrilled to be in the Beehive State.
DroneHive has been an active member of Deseret UAS for a few years before relocating to the Beehive State. Our original plan to become actively engaged with Silicon Slopes in 2020 was derailed; like so many of our startup counterparts, DroneHive hunkered down, circled our wagons, and did our best to maintain trajectory during the uncertainty we all experienced the past year. Due to our work's remote sensing nature and our roots as a remotely-oriented business with employees working from home throughout the US, our daily operations were not disrupted. We embraced the need for virtual inspection and property tours, and demand for our products shifted – with only a slight decline in Q2 of 2020. The need for aerial data collection and business intelligence prevailed, and many companies that had delayed the use of our services quickly engaged us for our support and partnership.
Here at DroneHive, it’s incredibly evident from the outside that we love what we do. We’re creating entry-level and advanced opportunities in a new industry experiencing hypergrowth. Our goal is to sustainably scale drones and overall compliant and safe Unmanned Aerial Operations across all industries. In doing so, we see immense variety in a single day. A recent example of current projects discussed just Friday of last week: a high-accuracy topographic map of a landfill for solar farm development in Massachusetts, a façade inspection of a historic building in downtown Salt Lake City for earthquake damage, and forest management project in a heavily-forested mountain region in Utah using LiDAR scanning technology to help better plan the navigation and logistics of the work to be done by the heavy machinery in the rugged terrain. The myriad of applications is astonishing, and people come to us with new ideas every week. We’re excited to hear yours and help you make it a reality!
Here locally, I’ve been very impressed with the government support and interest in UAS technology. Beyond the development support underway in Tooele, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is a very forward-thinking organization and one of the most advanced government departments utilizing UAS in the United States. I love to see what they are doing, and this is helping other DOTs across the US learn from their efforts. You should be proud of what your state is doing to improve safety and reduce traffic with drone tech help for so many UDOT projects.
I believe 2021 is going to be a year of hypergrowth for Silicon Slopes and DroneHive. We made the jump before the pandemic, but many former colleagues and associates eye our decision with envy. It has become more apparent and obvious what a superior business operating environment exists in Utah comparative to California. More will be making the move we are so happy to have executed over a year ago. The pandemic brought a new reality to many businesses, and the technology solutions being developed in Utah will be in higher demand than ever before. At DroneHive, we have already seen a release of pent-up demand, a push toward innovation, and more abrupt adoption of data-focused decision-making and tool kits, something we provide at scale nationwide with our network of expert remote drone pilots. An exciting push for DroneHive in 2021 will take us beyond the US, with plans for international expansion, creating subsidiaries with our business model in Australia, India, and Japan. DroneHive enters 2021 with optimism, hope, and confidence, especially with the Silicon Slopes and Utah business community's support.
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*Read the latest issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine, Winter 2021