Regulation Clips Drone Wings

Many United States drone entrepreneurs find it hard to get off the ground as rivals in Europe, Canada, Australia and China take off.  According to those drone makers, one obstacle stands in the way: regulation. The Federal Aviation Administration banned all but a few private-sector drones in the U.S. while it completes regulations for them in the next few years.

Outside the U.S., accommodating policies fuel the commercial-drone boom. In Europe, Germany has the largest number of drone makers that are generally profitable and operate on cash sales, not startup money.

The FAA said its drone policy reflects the concern for people’s safety in the air and on the ground. In September, the FAA authorized six filmmaking drones increasing the number of commercial-drone operators to eight. In Europe that number is in the thousands, including middlemen and contractors who use the drones to gather data for clients. Because of FAA regulations, Google and Amazon tested their delivery-type drone in Australia and Canada. These organizations have now announced a political action committee to lobby U.S. federal, state and local governments to nurture the country’s drone market.

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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