Finding hidden bombs

| Print |  Email
Archives - January 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009
SkyResearch.jpg Sky Research’s MD530 helicopter equipped with a magnetometer sensor array that detects bombs.

ASHLAND “Do you lift weights?”

Before I can answer, Sky has handed me something large, metallic, and, I am guessing, heavy. I brace my legs before cradling the cool, metallic bomb. “That is an improvised explosive device,” he says. “The IED has killed more troops in Iraq than any other weapon, and it has wounded soldiers in horrific ways. We can find these from the air, and we can find them on the ground.”

Sky, co-founder and vice president of Ashland-headquartered Sky Research, doesn’t have much to say about his unusual name, other than “Sky? That’s my name. I’m a pilot.” But he has plenty to say about Sky Research, a $13 million, 85-employee operation with four offices in North America.

He and Anne Sky, the company’s president, came up with their business plan while living in a Sioux tepee in the Illinois River Valley in 1979. Now they run the only company in Oregon that locates, maps and removes unexploded bombs. They’re cleaning up 12 Air Force bases and three Army bases throughout the nation and preparing for a monumental job at a Navy site south of Puerto Rico.

Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of unexploded weapons buried in the earth. Sky projects revenues will grow 20% to 30% in 2009 as the company expands its research and development contracts and branches overseas. But for all of Sky Research’s growth, it remains puny compared to the companies that dominate the industry, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

“We’re competing with $50 billion companies,” he says. “But we can do the job faster, cheaper and better.” He’s hoping the incoming Obama administration will help give the company a chance to prove it.             

BEN JACKLET


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...

That's Not a Watch (This Is a Watch)

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.


Read more...

The Human Factor

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Matt French opens up South Waterfront.


Read more...

Closing the Gap: The two Oregons and the way forward

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

"Nostalgia is not an economic strategy."


Read more...

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

Live, Work, Play: Amen Teter

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.


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