Performance Drone Works (PDW), a company dedicated to developing high-tech, military-grade quadcopters, is joining the family of Stovehouse businesses as its resident technology startup. PDW will open in a 10,000-square-foot office on Governors Drive this Fall.
“Performance Drone Works is a cutting-edge autonomous drone business with a mission to make the American warfighter better at their craft,” explained Patrick Laney, CEO and Co-Founder of PDW. “We specialize in creating next-generation autonomous drones for the military and government operators. Our job is to take advantage of the developments in artificial intelligence so our warfighters can fly drones less and focus on mission accomplishment more. We provide situational awareness with a focus on delivering drones that are 100-percent reliable, rugged, and are a natural extension of the soldier.”
Thanks to Patrick’s previous experience running a portfolio of Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems businesses he was confident he could start the company here in Huntsville, Alabama—the home to Army Unmanned Aviation. Along with Patrick, PDW has a leadership team with 50+ years of combined unmanned systems experience.
“Just a year ago, PDW was only a handful of people,” he added. “By the end of this year, PDW will be 50 persons strong. Those people will be working at Stovehouse very soon. One of the reasons we picked the multi-use campus was to attract viable talent and offer our employees access to its on-site amenities.”
As a startup company, PDW strives to perpetuate a culture of being collaborative and—in some ways—“whimsical.” By giving its team access to on-site restaurants, shopping, outdoor games, and live events, the company believes it will be able to create an unmatched work-life balance and appeal to the talented young professionals it strives to recruit.
“We’re already talking about doing monthly events at Stovehouse,” said Patrick. “When it comes to creating a positive work culture, Stovehouse has the vibe we are trying to capture. It’s also exciting to be a part of history. During WWII, Stovehouse produced bomb crates and grenade fuses and today it will reconnect to this military legacy when PDW begins producing autonomous drones.”
As far as the physical PDW office goes, leadership says that the space will be an open and collaborative design with plenty of windows and natural light. The high ceilings existing from its days as a mill were perfect for adding a Motion Capture Lab where its Autonomy Team will do most of its work testing advanced algorithms and machine learning so that drones can learn to fly themselves and navigate indoors.
It’s also important to note that PDW is a venture capital-backed company with several well-known investors supporting it, most prominently RSE Ventures and Lux Capital that are both based in New York City.
“There are obviously venture-backed companies already in Huntsville, but it’s not as commonplace,” said Patrick. “We have credible names on our team that typically do business in markets like Silicon Valley, New York, Boston, and Austin. I had to justify Huntsville to our investors, and they agreed that the city’s connections to NASA and Army Unmanned Aviation make it ideal for doing business and drawing on the talented engineering base already here.”
Owner and Developer of Stovehouse Danny Yancey is pleased to welcome PDW to the campus where he knows they will enjoy working hard and taking advantage of the many benefits on-site.
“PDW is creating frontier technology that Stovehouse is honored to be a part of,” said Danny. “We hope that its team will thrive at the development and enjoy the many options for leisure it provides, along with a work environment that encourages team building and creative thinking.”
Eric St. John, CCIM and Vice President of Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate, helped secure the office for Performance Drone Works and believes the space will be an “excellent partnership between two entities [PDW and Stovehouse] with a common interest and desire for innovation.”
The new office has plans of opening in November 2020.
“We can’t wait to open at Stovehouse and bring our business to the next level,” said Patrick. “PDW is a company made up of passionate people who are working hard to equip our military with technology that will help protect and preserve life. Because many of us on the team have served in the military, we understand the responsibility and sacrifice that comes with it. We’re proud to provide game-changing tools that benefit our heroes.”
For more information on Performance Drone Works, be sure to visit https://pdw.ai.
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“Overall, we believe 2021 will be a positive year for commercial real estate and the economy as a whole. We are blessed to live and work in the Huntsville/Madison market and know the future is bright for all of us.” Those were the final words of our annual report in 2020, and I am happy to say we got that one right—despite all the obstacles that were put in the way of the U.S. economy.
Chattanooga-based company, High Point Climbing and Fitness, is set to bring more world-class climbing to Huntsville with the addition of a new climbing and training facility just north of the city center. This new site will be located within the historic Lincoln Mill development and offer area climbers around 11,000 square feet of bouldering terrain and training space. The new High Point location will also feature hydraulically adjustable training walls and a full pro-shop stocked with all the top brands of climbing equipment. High Point’s new Huntsville facility is slated to open by the end of 2022.