There might be a name or logo change in the future.
But Tuesday’s announcement that Skyborne Technology had been acquired by another technology company was nothing but good news for Skyborne President and CEO Mike Lawson and his aspirations for his company’s Gulf County operations.
“We have a full business plan that has been put in motion,” Lawson said. “We feel this is major. This is all fitting with our business plan.”
Under the deal, Han Tang Technologies (HTTI) acquired 100 percent of R Squared Technologies (R2).
Skyborne is a wholly-owned subsidiary of R Squared.
R Squared has developed a portable communication network that has both defense and emergency management applications.
The Sentinel, as it is trademarked, was on display when Skyborne held a 2018 ribbon cutting for its first manufacturing plant in the U.S. in Wewahitchka.
According to Tuesday’s press release, the Sentinel is ready for production.
Since opening a manufacturing plant in Wewahitchka, Skyborne has purchased the Costin Airport and recently received county approval to build a hangar at the airport to accommodate its manned and unmanned aerial systems.
Skyborne chose Gulf County specifically for access to employ manned and unmanned aircraft pilots, skilled manufacturing labor for composites, aircraft aluminum and high bulletproof fabrics.
The first airship built at the plant is more than 60 percent complete, Lawson said.
Lawson said the county approval for the hangar was the trigger to enter into the private markets for acquisition.
And a cheaper alternative to an IPO is a straightforward acquisition.
“The right way is to be acquired ... and being in the market brings a level of transparency you need in dealing with the military or foreign governments,” Lawson said. “They can pull up the filings and see where you are.”
Lawson will remain CEO of the new company.
And, he emphasized, the acquisition puts the wheels in motion on plans for the county and developing the area as a hub for drone systems and education.
The high schools have drone programs and Gulf Coast State College at its Gulf/Franklin campus has drone instruction.
“This is all fitting with our business model,” Lawson said. “We are excited about the growth for HTTI and our subsidiaries and look forward to expanding the employment opportunities for the Gulf County region and the State of Florida.
“Our current business model targets disaster relief, border protection, communication, public safety, environmental research, distance learning, medical and other markets globally.”
Lawson said a next step will be ground-breaking and ribbon-cutting for the new hangar at Costin Airport.