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    Valley startup combines with Mississippi firm to form new drone tech company

    An Arizona mapping and infrastructure startup has joined with a Mississippi-based aerial imaging firm to form a new company focused on data collection services for unmanned aerial systems.

    Soaring Eagle Technologies, which has planted its headquarters in Houston, was formed this year through the combination of Chandler-based Skynetwest and Soaring Eagle Imaging of Brandon, Mississippi. Soaring Eagle Technologies is a portfolio company of Houston-based Iapetus Holdings LLC, an investment firm with a portfolio of energy service companies and other alternative investments.

    The combined company provides technology services for utility, energy and infrastructure asset inspections, including infrared thermal imaging, aerial mapping and more. Soaring Eagle’s services have been deployed in situations to inspect power-grid infrastructure, vegetation management, storm response, controlled-burn fire overwatch, wildlife and fishery management, and search and rescue, the firm said.

    In addition to the firm’s Houston headquarters, Soaring Eagle has presences in Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Mississippi and New York.

    Noah Ruiz, president of Skynetwest, joined the combined firm as director of operations for Soaring Eagle Technologies.

    “Given the growing demand for technical UAS aerial data collection services and infrared imaging, it makes good business sense to leverage efficiencies to continue expanding and meeting client demand,” Ruiz said. “We look forward to what this juncture brings as we plan to make a greater statement in the drone industry.”

    Ruiz is a Chandler native and said he will be keeping his roots in Chandler, whose business incubation and entrepreneurial development program Chandler Innovations helped his company to scale.

    “Chandler is my home and where I started the company,” Ruiz said in a statement. “Chandler Innovations provided me with the tools and knowledge I needed to get to this point of growth faster and to scale the business strategically.”

    Earlier this year, the FAA granted Skynetwest a waiver and permission to conduct Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations, which allowed the company to extend its scope.

    Soaring Eagle Technologies President Will Paden comes to the combined company from Soaring Eagle Imaging.

    “The merger with Skynetwest further increases our capability to service utilities, surveyors, and engineering firms, as well as other large clients,” Paden said. “The combined company provides our clients with emerging-tech capabilities, including lidar [which uses laser light to detect objects] and [beyond visual line of sight] solutions.”

    Iapetus Holdings has five other operating companies in its portfolio outside of Soaring Eagle Technologies: Atlas Field Services, Atlas Retail Energy, Atlas Commodities, Gold Coast Utility Specialists and Hyperion Safety Environmental Solutions.

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