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

6 highlights from the Craft Brewers Conference

The Latest
Friday, April 17, 2015
thumbcbcPHOTOS BY  JASON E. KAPLAN

The 32nd annual CBC attracted a record number of attendees (11,000)  to the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Oregon Business expands events portfolio

The Latest
Friday, March 27, 2015
htctfacebookBY OB STAFF

New events series brings magazine to life.


Read more...

The Good Hacker

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY CHRIS HIGGINS

As digital security breaches skyrocket, a cybersleuth everyman takes center stage.


Read more...

Beyond Bodegas

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development. 


Read more...

5 questions for Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur

The Latest
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FW splashBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland is awash in rideshare options. We ask the head of Flywheel what sets his app apart.


Read more...

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...

Much ado about data-driven organizations, for good reason

Contributed Blogs
Monday, April 13, 2015
bigdatathumbBY GRANT KIRBY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

The mega-shift from technology-driven to data-driven organizations raises questions about Oregon’s workforce preparedness.


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