Donate Surplus Materials, Equipment to Gorge STEM Hub

The Columbia Gorge STEM Hub is accepting donations for their Free Resource Marketplace. This a place where teachers can go to find supplies for their classroom, donated by local businesses. It’s a great way for businesses to find a new home for technology, science, and maker supplies without having to contact the schools themselves. Plus, it is a huge help to teachers who generally have very limited funding for supplies. Since September, the Resource Marketplace has distributed over 60 items and reached over 500 students. Donate (free pick up included!) by contacting Christy Christopher.

Business Participation in Local STEM Events

The Gorge is coming up on the season for a number of our annual events focused on STEM education. Business participation in the events to share what you do is essential! Some of these opportunities include: 
  • Friday, April 27: GTA’s Gorge STEM Career Day, where businesses present to 7th graders from our five-county region. Read about past events here or contact Jessica for details.
  • Friday, June 1, Gorge STEM Fair as part of Hood River First Friday, hosted by Hood River Valley High School Robotics Students and the Gorge STEM Hub. Contact Christy to sign up for a booth or for more details.

Aero Drone Corp.

Aero Drone Corporation is a startup founded in May 2017 that provides a suite of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) services from their headquarters in Tygh Valley, Oregon. The company currently focuses on four areas of UAS services, including training, consulting, flight services, and drone manageability software.  

Training: Aero Drone Academy designs, develops and markets instructional UAS products and services for corporate, higher education, and government industries.  The Academy provides introductory and advanced UAS training for multiple types of drones and sensors in real-life flight environments including indoor facilities as well as five square miles of Class G airspace. Effective training enables UAS workers to operate safely and effectively. As a new offering, Aero Drone will be providing infrared courses in Summer 2018 in collaboration with FLIR. 

Consulting: Aero Drone UAS Consulting services enables organizations to leverage drones to increase public and workplace safety, while reducing costs and saving time.  Their staff can guide organizations to select the best hardware and software for each entity’s specific needs, and provides best practices and documents to set up and run your drone business. 

Flight Services:  Aero Drone has deep expertise in aerial cinematography, as well as industrial inspections and monitoring.  They utilize high-end photographic equipment, multi-spectral sensors, and a fleet of rugged, commercial drones.  Aero Drone uses photogrammetry, orthomosaics, 3D models, mapping, and automated classification to analyze and present solutions to their customers. Examples of past projects include inspections of building exteriors, pipelines, power lines, utility poles, communication and meteorological towers, and industrial roofs. 

UAS Software:  As the latest service, Aero Drone is developing drone manageability software which will allow enterprises to manage drone equipment safely, securely, reliably, and profitably.  The software provides comprehensive functionality for UAS operations and maintenance, including job and mission planning and resource scheduling, personnel and credential management, and integration with log file and payload data.  All software and data management is cloud based and accessible through any internet device, with local clients for field work when the internet is not available.  Aero Drone’s software is currently in alpha testing and they are seeking interested beta testers for April to help shape the software for their needs.

Aero Drone views the value proposition of GTA membership in the connections to other businesses for knowledge sharing. “Also, this is a drone corridor and we want to be leaders in the UAS industry,” adds Russell Hargrave, President and CEO. “It’s essential to engage with GTA members if you’re going to be a leader for UAS in the Gorge. Membership helps us to be recognized, known, and trusted.” Learn more about Aero Drone online or by contacting Russell Hargrave at or 541 490-6001.

About Russell Hargrave, President and CEO

Russell brings more than 25 years of experience creating and managing organizations that develop and support both software and data products. As IT Director at Intel, Russell created and managed capabilities such as Intel’s IT Global Software Development and Intel’s India Development Center. These capabilities successfully provided Intel with a significant competitive advantage. Prior to being an IT director, he was part of the leadership team at Wang Laboratories developing innovative office automation products. Russell holds a degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University.

About Irl “Mike” Davis, Founder, Director of Services and Chief Pilot

Mike has over 35 years of experience with business startups related to aviation, manufacturing, and international logistics across 17 countries. He also previously owned and operated an FBO, created a flight school, and managed a successful charter operation. In addition to holding FAA certification as a remote pilot, he is a commercial pilot, instrument rated in both single and multi-engine aircraft.  Mike also brings a degree in Electrical Engineering with extensive graduate work in Chinese Law. 

Wind Challenge Seeks Volunteers

This is the third year the GTA is helping host the Gorge Wind Challenge with partners Google and Columbia Gorge Community College. In this one-day event on March 17, middle and high-school teams compete to build the best wind turbine. It’s a remarkable event with no advance preparation needed from the students and everything – materials, lunch, t-shirt – provided for free. Volunteers are needed to help guide the teams through the turbine build. Training is provided. More info and registration here.

GTA Business Mentorship Program Launched

As the GTA continues to look for ways to help the tech companies in the Gorge grow and thrive, we are happy to announce a new initiative to link our members looking for and willing to mentor. Mentorship could be a one-time meeting or a periodic check-in between businesses at different stages of evolution. If this sounds interesting to you, please complete this very brief survey to share more information.

Gorge FLL Teams Win at State!

The GTA is so proud of all of the thirteen amazing Gorge FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics teams that competed at the state tournament last weekend. The Pink Fluffy Unicorns from Wy’east Middle School took home a First Place trophy and are now headed to the World Competiton in Houston, TX in April! These incredible kids will need financial support to make it happen and we will share more details as we have them. 

The Pink Fluffy Unicorns with Coach Karen O’Neil celebrate their First Place trophy.

Big congrats also to the Hydro Automatons from Hood River who won 4th place, and two Hood River teams that won Core Values trophies: the Hero Robot Monkeys and the Hydro Hipsters. Our students are the BEST!