Business Oregon and Northwest UAV Partnership Has Created 60 Jobs in McMinnville

McMinnville-based Northwest UAV Propulsion Systems is the largest unmanned aerial vehicle engine manufacturer in the country. NW UAV has grown from seven employees in 2008 to 60 in 2011. The company has produced thousands of engines for UAVs for customers such as Boeing, the U.S. military and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Business Oregon staff connected NW UAV with research and development facilities at the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) to design and prototype the new fuel injector. Business Oregon invested significantly to build out the capabilities of ONAMI for just such partnerships that could help drive development of products for Oregon companies.

As a result of its partnership with ONAMI, NW UAV initiated a program to develop a unique fuel injection engine that runs on heavier jet fuels. The new system increases fuel efficiency and flight times while reducing emissions.

In September 2011, the company announced plans for a major expansion and relocation to a 28,000-square-foot facility in McMinnville. In addition to the company's design and manufacture of cutting-edge UAV engines, control systems and support products for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, two other divisions may be housed at the new location. The other divisions are: RP Advanced Mobile Systems which has developed the Strike Razor Tactical LT ATV and NW Rapid Manufacturing which specializes in rapid production of parts using the Selective Laser Sintering.

"This new facility will give us room to spread our wings and take advantage of strategic growth opportunities," said Chris Harris who is the President and owner of the company.

In 2009, Business Oregon's finance team provided a $450,000 guaranty on a $900,000 loan to the company from West Coast Bank through Business Oregon's Credit Enhancement Fund. NW UAV used the financing to expand its portion of the engine assembly process and to fund the purchase of additional inventory.