Drone Industry Aims to Take Off in Florida

According to experts, Florida is lagging behind in terms of competitiveness within the commercial drone industry. Florida lags behind its peers such as Alaska and Texas, where the business environment is much healthier for commercial drones.

Being in the back of the pack among the United States is especially unfortunate because on the national stage, the U.S. is trailing a disappointing list of nations. In an effort to move both the Florida and the U.S. commercial drone market forward, the first Tampa Bay Unmanned Aerial Systems Commercial Markets Conference was held on October 30 in Tampa.

Proponents of drones touted their seemingly endless data collection capabilities. They suggested everyone from farmers to police to real estate agents would benefit. They also insisted job growth would be a key component of the industry’s success in Florida and across the nation. We look forward to seeing what they can do!

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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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