The Ambler

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Amble entrepreneur joins Northern Powerhouse talks

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Nigel (left) with Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Peter Lovering, CEO of BeemCar Ltd and Guy Opperman MP

The North is in desperate need of more effective business leadership says an Amble entrepreneur. At a recent Northern Powerhouse meeting, aerial photography engineer Nigel King met the Chancellor of the Exchequer, where the possibility of elected regional mayors was discussed.

Nigel was invited to the meeting together with around 60 other business representatives from the North. Nigel is the founder, owner and director of QuestUAV, an aerial photography and mapping company, which designs and manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles, known as drones.

“I met Anne-Marie Trevelyan a few months ago, before the election” he told The Ambler. “She was very interested in what we do, and our potential for technical development and apprenticeships. We were invited to 11 Downing Street to participate in the Northern Powerhouse meeting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other local MPs.”

Items under discussion included the role and funding of Local Area Partnerships (LEPs) and the possibility of a regional mayor.

“We need someone with business acumen who would help people work together, especially in the areas of infrastructure and technology,” said Nigel.

Nigel is passionate about the potential in the local area. “ The North East is the only area of the UK with a positive export figure and is the major exporter in the UK. We’ve got so much going for us. It’s true a lot of it is down to Nissan, but we have some tremendous tech start-ups. And of course an especial interest to me is the unmanned aviation industry that is happening here.

“I believe we need a more unified approach in government, with more truly skilled business people in the system, who can make effective and timely decisions for our area. One of the things discussed with George Osborne was about trying to have more effective results from our LEPs and what the future looks like.”

QuestUAV started manufacturing their aerial mapping drones on Amble Enterprise Park back in 2008. Since then they have grown to cater for a global market, with clients in Mexico, Brazil, Canada and South Korea.

“We work mostly in the areas of agriculture and surveying. We end up with a very accurate model of the area, so accurate you can take dimensions which can then be turned into engineering drawings. We take around 1500 hi-res images per flight. These are used by farmers to analyse crop health, and help answer food production issues.”

Nigel’s enthusiasm for his product is evident, but he is realistic about what he can achieve in the near future. QuestUAV have recently taken a new office suite in The Core, Newcastle, but remain committed to their manufacturing base in Amble.

“We’re starting to attract some really big clients now. Wells Fargo asked us to pitch for 900 UAVs and the Brazillian government’s food agency is also talking with us.

“These are £10m. contracts, were we able to fulfil them. We’re not big enough yet. We have plans to expand over the next three to five years, to expand our staff to 60 in four different locations around the world,” said Nigel. “But our workshops are staying in Amble.”

Anna Williams

See more about QuestUAV www.questuav.com

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