On November 14th Alfred University Drone Club students and faculty helped IncubatorWorks celebrate 30 years of entrepreneurship and innovation at their Alfred NY location.
IncubatorWorks is a resource for business startups and expansions in the Southern Tier of New York. From ideation, to testing, to limited production, to full manufacturing – they help by offering advanced technologies, flexible manufacturing infrastructure, and professional mentoring.
With two locations [Alfred and Corning], their mission is to help entrepreneurs start or grow businesses in a cost effective, supportive environment until the business is ready to graduate to its own dedicated space.
As part of Start-Up NY and in partnership with the Southern Tier Startup Alliance and the Western NY Regional Hot Spot, IncubatorWorks provides the most comprehensive business and manufacturing ‘incubator’ network in the region. This network provides direct support and services from the following universities and colleges: Alfred State College, Alfred University, Binghamton University, Cornell University, Clarkson University, Corning Community College, SUNY Fredonia and the University of Buffalo.
Today, more than 15 Alfred University students met on the AU football field in order to test their drone flight skills. . .and to have pizza.
Most flew trainer drones, but a select few also flew more high-end drones, such as the Phantom or Inspire drones, which will be used for the club’s commercial activities in the near future. The students also created an obstacle course to hone their flight skills; maybe future drone races are in the works!
Today, Alfred University faculty from the School of Engineering and the School of Business submitted their final Appalachian Regional Commission grant proposal to Southern Tier West. The proposal aims to educate the local workforce in drone repair and maintenance, flight operations leading to a commercial drone flight license, and in entrepreneurship skills leading to business creation. The students will then work with local farmers by using drones to help increase crop yield and health.
We hope to receive the grant, but in any case we want to publicly acknowledge all the new friends we met in this journey and who supported us in this project, specifically:
Thank you all, Fiat Lux!
On Wednesday evening, September 6, 2017 Professor Sangjoon Lee and Jason St. John of Alfred University attended the Allegany County Farm Bureau board meeting in an effort to gain their support and feedback on the university’s Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant application. Business and Engineering faculty of Alfred University applied for the ARC grant proposing to train the local workforce in drone repair/maintenance/piloting and business skills, then to apply those skills to obtain farm data that will increase the local farming community’s crop health and yield.
The board members were enthusiastic about the grant’s goals and were more than gracious with their feedback. Jason explained that if ARC approved the university’s grant, then the farmers would initially receive farm data free of charge, and that really got the member’s attention. Many of the board members have heard that drones have several farm uses, but their high cost is a major hurdle. Using drones is ideal for those jobs that are dirty, distant, dangerous, or dull, and is a very cost effective tool to gather farm data. Private companies offering drone services charge too much for some of the smaller farm operations in this area, but Jason explained that Alfred University can likely provide the same level of service to the farm community at a lower cost, and use local students, if it received the ARC grant, and that really sets the university apart.
Professor Lee and Jason left the board meeting hoping for the community’s support, and looking forward to servicing them as customers of Alfred University’s drone and business services in the near future.
By Jason St. John, Finance Major, Alfred University (2018 grad)
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has advanced our grant application to the final stage where we will present our project before the NYS Department of State, the NYS Governor, and ultimately ARC in Washington DC.
Our project could not have gotten this far without the super support of staff from Southern Tier West, Alfred University, and our students. Thank you all. We will need your further support for this final stage.
Today, with the assistance of Dean Nancy Evangelista, faculty of the Alfred University School of Business, and the Alfred University Engineering School presented a grant proposal before the Appalachian Regional Commission for using drones to gather agricultural data, and for workforce development.
The goals of the grant are increase new regional jobs and/or introduce new skills for old jobs and/or create new businesses that use drone technology. We propose to achieve these goals by combining theory and practice:
- Theory: creating an educational program that teaches drone flight/repair/maintenance skills, as well as the business/entrepreneurship skills needed to create a sustainable business; and,
- Practice: using drones to obtain agricultural data to help local farmers increase their crop health and yield.
Hopefully our project will receive funding – wish us luck!