A drone technology company is expanding its operations in Cumberland County, creating 32 jobs with average salaries of $85,000 a year.
Bosh Global Services has had an office in Fayetteville since 2009, where it now employs 10 people. The company provides technical and operational services for unmanned aerial vehicles. It also makes the systems that analyze the data they collect.
The expansion comes with the investment of an additional $400,000 in Fayetteville over the next three years.
The company was founded as UAV Communications Inc. in 2003 in Virginia and has headquarters in Newport News, Va. It has offices in California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New York, Great Britain and Sumter, S.C.
Its ties to Fort Bragg brought Bosh to Fayetteville, but partnerships with N.C. State University's School of Engineering and companies in Research Triangle Park have strengthened those ties and spurred the latest expansion, said Matt Twiggs, the company's vice president.
"It's just become a center of gravity," he said. "We're getting more and more work there and needing more employees."
Unmanned drones are best known for their use in military surveillance. The company's clients include first responders, military branches and special operations, intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security.
But Twiggs said the technology has commercial applications, including in agriculture, which spawned N.C. State's interest.
Spectral cameras on drones can survey the effects of drought, disease and pesticides on crops, effects that are not visible to the naked eye. Twiggs said farmers can use that data to help determine exactly when and where to apply pesticides and herbicides.
"They can realize increased yields and even lower costs," he said. "I don't care whose (vehicle) it is. What I care about is getting the information to the person who needs it."
Salaries for the new jobs will vary by job function. The average annual wage of $85,000 is more than double the average salary in Cumberland County, which is $34,000.
Twiggs said Bosh Global has found Fayetteville and North Carolina to be friendly to the growing small business. He said he is impressed with what Fayetteville State University and other colleges are doing to train a competitive workforce.
"We're excited about that," he said. "We want that kind of workforce locally."
The company is getting a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of as much as $64,000. Agencies involved in the project include the N.C. Department of Commerce, the community college system, the Economic Development Alliance of Fayetteville, the city and the county.