The 2019 announcement of Business Facilities Magazine’s 15th Annual Rankings Report determined that Virginia’s initiatives in unmanned aerial systems business deserved the top spot in the nation for its UAS innovation and expansion.
Jack Rogers, Editor in Chief for Business Facilities Magazine said, “Virginia is poised to be an influencer of growth in this emerging industry for years to come. The State’s unmanned systems leadership, facilities and industry connections, both military and civilian contributed to their national ranking as the #1 state for unmanned aerial business.”
The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), President and CEO Ed Albrigo added, “It is exciting to see the unmanned systems industry in Virginia being recognized for its innovation, growth potential and economic impact. This is a direct result of the high level of commitment made by the Northam Administration and Virginia’s legislature to this important industry. It includes opportunities for innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers in Virginia to have a powerful impact on public and private utilization of unmanned systems in the future.
Virginia’s Unmanned Systems Center at CIT plays a key role in coordinating opportunities for businesses to discover Virginia as they grow and expand in unmanned systems via air, land, sea and space. “Our goal is to ensure that everyone creating opportunities for innovation, economic development and jobs in unmanned systems find the State of Virginia a great place to live, work and innovate,” said Center Director Tracy Tynan. “This ranking continues to reinforce the importance of the support we have received from Governor Northam to embrace this emerging industry and welcome business growth.”
In the last year, Aurora Flight Sciences, a pioneer in unmanned aircraft and autonomous flight has committed to investing more than $13.75 million to expand its Headquarters in Northern Virginia. Aurora, which was acquired by The Boeing Company in 2017, is building a robotics and integration facility that will consist of a manufacturing unit, a research and development lab, hangar and office space. The project will create 135 new jobs.
Additionally, in Blackstone, Virginia, UAVPro, who supports a defense prime contractor, is completing a four-million dollar infrastructure improvement and expansion program that includes the construction of a new 23,000 square-foot facility that will complement their existing facilities collocated at the Allen C. Perkinson Airport / Blackstone Army Airfield.
Other key resources and assets that bolster Virginia’s capabilities and business potential in unmanned aerial systems include; CIT’s role as team lead with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), on the FAA’s UAS Integrated Pilot Program (IPP), and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) UAS airfield, a 3000 foot runway dedicated for UAS operations.
Along with ranking #1 in Unmanned Aerial Systems Business, Virginia was also recognized in five other major business categories, including: #2 for Economic Growth Potential, #2 Best Business Climate, #2 for Cybersecurity Growth Potential, #5 Workforce Training Leadership and #6 for Tech Job Growth nationwide. A copy of the complete article can be found at: Business Facilities 15th Annual Rankings.