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

Reader Input: Road Work

March 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.


Read more...

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


Read more...

Business School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Training, from the mundane to the sublime, bolsters companies and workers in an uncertain world.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy Overload

June 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.


Read more...

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

Living the dream

News
Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


Read more...

Up on the Roof

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction. 


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