BVU Drone Enterprise Takes Flight in Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

The purchase of a commercial drone will give students the experience of operating a business, as part of their studies in the The Donald F. and Charlene K. Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship at Buena Vista University.

While the calendar read early August, two Buena Vista Beavers were in test-taking mode in Tea, S.D. And both passed with “flying” colors.

BVU Instructor of Management and Agricultural Business Kevin Price joined senior Andrew Klaassen in passing the Federal Aviation Administration’s drone exam, allowing both to become licensed unmanned commercial drone pilots for a business endeavor taking flight through The Donald F. and Charlene K. Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship at BVU. 

Price suggested a drone business concept to Gary Sterling, BVU Instructor of Management and Director of the Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. At Sterling’s request, Price discussed the idea with BVU students. Soon, six within the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business had shown interest in seeing the drone idea lift off the ground.

"We’re having fun learning about the operation and starting a business that will see students working directly with farmers in assessing their crop needs and condition across the region. It’s an exciting time.”

Kevin Price

Instructor with ag drone
Kevin Price, Instructor of Management and Agricultural Business.

“We’re focusing on agricultural services, such as crop health,” Price says. “We’ll do crop scouting and answer a grower’s needs by mostly focusing on population counts of plants, checking for disease and insect infestation, so a farmer can determine chemical application plans.”

“It’s exciting that we’ll have students get to experience operating a drone business as part of their studies,” says Rich Crow, BVU Director of the Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management, and a drone pilot himself. “Better yet, students will have the opportunity to run a fully functional business assisting area farmers while applying the agronomy and ag business concepts and theories they’re learning in BVU classrooms.”

Klaassen, who transferred to BVU from Iowa Central Community College, served as an intern under Price’s direction this summer in launching Beaver Drone Services. 

A commercial ag drone makes a landing
The new drone makes a smooth landing.

“We got the bugs figured out on the drone and then set up the business model,” says Klaassen, who selected BVU because it offered majors in both agricultural business and accounting. “The business has huge potential.”

“I’ve done recreational drone flying,” says Price. “The ones I’ve flown look like small helicopters. The drone purchased by the Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship looks like a fixed-wing airplane. We’re having fun learning about the operation and starting a business that will see students working directly with farmers in assessing their crop needs and condition across the region. It’s an exciting time.”

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