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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • MIDC looks into ‘drone’ industry

  • McPherson could play a role in the emerging drone industry, Brad Eilts told the McPherson City Commission Monday.
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  • McPherson could play a role in the emerging drone industry, Brad Eilts told the McPherson City Commission Monday.
    Eilts, McPherson Industrial Development Company executive director, said he attended the first Kansas Unmanned Aerial Systems Conference, and was impressed by the industry’s potential.
    Unmanned Aerial Systems are known to the public largely through the use of military drones, but Eilts said the vast majority of potential uses are focused on precision agriculture.
    Drones also may be used for pipeline monitoring, weather, environmental and geological observation and research, traffic control and public safety.
    Unmanned systems also might include ground and maritime vehicles as well.
    Eilts and McPherson Airport Manager Tom Chandler hosted Kansas State University Director of Development Joel Anderson for discussions on drones. The discussions included both college presidents, USD 418 Superintendent  Randy Watson, and representatives from Hutchinson Community College and Mid Kansas Co-op, among others.
    According to the Aerospace Industries Association, the industry should have an $89 billion market within the next decade if industry obstacles are overcome.
    It’s also estimated spending on drones will double during the next decade from $6.6 billion to $11.4 billion annually.
    Eilts said he is working on developing a team to research the drone industry.
    On other fronts, the city of McPherson continued to position itself in 2013 for additional growth of existing businesses, Eilts said.
    “I’m really excited about some of the strides you’ve made in housing,” Eilts said. “In the long term and in the short term, we’re really positioning ourselves well.”
    In other news from MIDC, information requests have been mailed for the 2014 Industrial Directory.
    Development also is underway on a Key Accounts Program, which would help utilities bring high quality service and value to their largest customers.

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