It was a four-year-old’s birthday party that sparked a revolutionary startup.
James McClearen, founder of Blueflite, wanted to deliver a birthday present to his daughter at her birthday party in their backyard by drone. He had pictured in his head: poof, right on time a drone bringing her gift would appear out of nowhere, as if by magic.
It seemed simple enough at first, buying off the shelf drum and modifying it to carry some cargo from one side of the house to the other. But quickly the challenge of having some family fun morphed into a grander vision.
With advanced tools for design, modeling and simulation and computer aided manufacturing, James decided to design and build his own drone from scratch.
Courtesy of Blueflite
As he began to shop online for the bits and pieces that he would need, he started to ask basic questions about cargo drones: What is being delivered? How heavy is it? How big is it? How fast does it need to get there? How does it unload? Does it need to be inside the drone protected from the elements or can the payload swing underneath? Is this a bombing run? Or a gentle safe placement? Exactly? In her outstretched hand? This is silent enough to sneak out can it be fully autonomous? How fast? How far? How heavy.
These are the questions that define the spatial functional and technical design space of drones.
Suddenly, James wasn’t just building an epic birthday party. He was building a business.
“What started as a party gag turned into my personal life quest. I quit my job and teamed up with some like minded people to start a company,” James said in an Autodesk interview. “I believed these products would offer our customers a unique, powerful value proposition that could propel a niche company to the forefront of a logistics revolution.”
Based in Brighton, Mich. (outside of Ann Arbor), Blueflite is a B2B tech company developing a world-class platform for aerial delivery of industrial cargo for the energy industry. For businesses that want to transport cargo Blueflite offers the benefits of a helicopter, speed and access to remote locations, but at the cost of ground transportation.
Blueflite leverages its proprietary UAS technology which they provide as a Platform-as-a-Service.
This helps companies streamline their material management, reduce costs and carbon emissions associated with logistics, warehousing and unplanned maintenance, as well as reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities.
Blueflite is also a connected platform that feeds information into the digital infrastructure to provide near real-time information for a digital age experience for the people embracing a city of the future.
It’s about harnessing local aerospace for fast and efficient delivery, making surface road congestion and risk decline.
“Drone delivery creates a win-win for the city of the future. Today,” James said.
And Blueflite is looking for people to join them in making this vision a reality.
“It is great to be part of such a visionary effort,” James said.
From technicians to mechanical engineers, Blueflite is looking for talented engineers to join the team.
As a small team in growth mode, everyone on the Blueflite team is an initiator, eager to acquire new skills, and take ownership of their projects. That also means there’s a lot of freedom and responsibility, and everyone works in a flat hierarchy. Leadership appreciates output and performance over status.
Blueflite office, courtesy of Blueflite
Passion and perseverance are also necessary for the team, as well as valuing honesty, humility, respect and teaching.
“We all love what we are doing, and that’s why we thrive as a company,” said James. “Not everything works out the first time and people need to live with set-backs, stand up, and do it again.”
As the team continues to grow, James said they’re especially looking for critical thinkers and strong problem solvers. Teamwork and strong communication are also key to thriving in this fast-paced, complex environment with many moving variables.
“We have a strong engineering focus which requires the ability to look at things from many aspects and come up with solutions that work for us and our clients,” James said.
A positive mindset and flexibility also go a long way on the team.
Courtesy of Blueflite
“They say that Rome was not built in a day. We have ambitious goals which require the right attitude to make it work,” James said. “We all really like what we are doing, and we all have quite a bit of fun with that.”
If you want to join Blueflite in this logistics revolution, check out their open roles and apply now.