Drone Company Means Big Business for Reno

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RENO, NV - The future of drone technology looks like it is going to be headquarter in Reno, Nevada. A drone developer announced Tuesday it will move here and bring with it hundreds of high-paying jobs.

"Today is that day where people are going to point to, 5 years from now, 10 years from now," said Governor Brian Sandoval, who suggested Tuesday that Reno has a new future.

"This was one of those threshold moments that build the foundation for this industry in Nevada," said Sandoval.

That industry is unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. Ashima Devices, drone developer, says it'll move its headquarters to Reno.

"You pull it out of your pack, you toss it in the air and up it goes," said Larry Lambert, Vice President of Ashima Devices.

Lambert says the device will have applications ranging from firefighting to ship inspecting. Soon all the work on the device will be done in Reno.

"We have a large large mission for this little aircraft and others like it," said Lambert.

All that research and development will require great minds. That need is part of why Ashima chose Reno.

"Companies such as Ashima will benefit from coming here," said Mridul Gautam, professor with the University of Nevada.

Nevada is already building its drone workforce on the campus of the university.

"The program the way people know it is in its infancy. But the faculty are experts, whether its robotics, whether it's machine vision, whether it is image processing, controls, materials, you name it. They have been there doing great work," said Gautam.

All that knowledge means collaboration between the University of Nevada and Ashima Devices. Moving forward, it means any drone company will have a pool of bright young graduates to choose from.

"It is not only the 300 or 400 jobs that are going to be produced because of this, but it is the other companies that are going to follow."

Those jobs and companies are why Reno is setting itself up for a new industry.

Ashima says it will hire 400 people over the next 4 years. Employees will have an average salary of $70,000.