It's the bomb

| Print |  Email
Articles - July/August 2012
Monday, July 09, 2012

 

BY JON BELL

0712 GamePlan SkyResearch01
Above: Sky Research's UXO technology could help clean up offshore wind farm sites in Europe.
Below: Millions of acres of U.S. soil could be contaminated by UXO.
0712 GamePlan SkyResearch02

During the dangerous days of World War II, U.S. Navy ships in need of a resupply would motor up to a supply depot at the Port of Seattle, likely dumping spent rounds and unneeded munitions overboard to expedite the process.

It might not have seemed like a big deal then, but 70 years later, with more cruise ships than battleships plying the waters, the leftover munitions discovered near the busy terminal posed a real threat — and not just to safety but to the greater Seattle economy. In 2010 the cruise ship industry brought in more than $245 million to the area, so any disruption could have made big waves.

But thanks in part to an innovative company in Ashland called Sky Research, which uses advanced sensing technology to locate unexploded bombs, mines and other ordnance, divers and unmanned vehicles located and removed more than 220 potentially dangerous items and helped keep the cruise ships coming.

“Sometimes in our nation’s history, prioritization has not been given to cleaning up after ourselves,” says Bryan Coggins, chief operating officer for Sky, “so we help with that.”

Founded as a remote sensing company in the 1980s by pilots Sky and Anne Sky, the firm incorporated in 1995 and moved to Ashland two years later. Over the years, Sky Research has refined its technology, which includes Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), orthophotography and digital mapping, to vastly improve and expedite the detection of unexploded ordnance (UXO).

The company, which had revenue in 2010 of around $25 million, employs 150 people, about a quarter of them in Oregon; 35 new people have been added this year alone. Most of Sky Research’s work is for the government at former shooting ranges, especially those being encroached upon by suburban development. Coggins says marine and commercial applications, such as mineral, oil and gas exploration, are expanding as well.

In addition, Sky Research hopes to eventually use its technology for humanitarian purposes, helping to clean up areas with notorious UXO problems in southern Asia and elsewhere.

“That is our ambition,” Coggins says, “because we have some pretty slick technology that could make it a lot safer for anyone in these regions.”

 

More Articles

Buyer's Remorse

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Parents and students paying for college today are like homeowners who bought a house just before the housing bubble burst.


Read more...

Green Endeavor cleans up

News
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
080614 ULnew greenendeavorBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.


Read more...

Powerlist: Colleges and Universities

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation about higher education with the presidents of the University of Oregon and Clackamas Community College, followed by September's powerlist.


Read more...

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

Gender Code

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD

Janice Levenhagen-Seeley reprograms tech.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...

A Taste of Heaven

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Craft beer comes to Mount Angel.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS