Governor Youngkin visits drone company among several stops in Hampton Roads

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The buzz around DroneUp, a rapidly growing technology company headquartered on Newtown Road in Virginia Beach, was part of a visit to Hampton Roads by the governor on Thursday.

DroneUp gave Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) a chance to show off his flying skills.

DroneUp claims to be the fastest growing drone service company in the country. From just 12 employees a year ago, the company now has 125 and plans to have 600 by the end of next year.

Its biggest investor is Walmart, and it already delivers Walmart items to the gigantic retailer’s home state of Arkansas.

What are the three most drone-delivered items so far? Hamburger helper, mac and cheese and third – and not so predictable – kiwi.

CTO John Vernon showed Youngkin a bank of video monitors on the company’s third floor.

“It was a stream actually out of Arkansas and we can really watch from anywhere in the world,” Vernon said. DroneUp has checked drones from as far away as Israel.

Youngkin presented a V3 “Virginia Values ​​Veterans” award to the company for its focus on hiring veterans.

“To have the opportunity to share with him what we do, I think it’s an acknowledgment of our team’s effort and it meant a lot to us,” said DroneUp CEO Tom Walker.

Youngkin also spoke about legislation in the General Assembly that will remove mask mandates. He calls this a major breakthrough in the debate.

“We now have a bipartisan effort to give parents the right to make a decision for their children. It is not pro mask and anti mask. If parents want their children to wear a mask, please make them wear a mask. It gives parents the option to opt out,” Youngkin said, adding that he hopes the legislation will be passed as a matter of urgency, so that it can come into force in a few weeks.

Youngkin’s tour of the region on Thursday was his first visit here since he was sworn in last month.

His day began with a visit from Fort Monroe to Hampton, then to Seatack Elementary An Achievable Dream Academy. According to the school’s website, the timing coincided with a school board policy review committee meeting.

Finance Secretary Stephen Cummings, Commerce and Commerce Secretary Caren Merrick and Veterans Affairs and Defense Affairs Secretary Craig Crenshaw accompanied the governor.

The final stop at Hampton Roads on Thursday was scheduled for Allie’s Anchor restaurant on the Boulevard de l’Indépendance.

Governor Youngkin will be back in the WAVY viewing area on Friday. He speaks at the William & Mary Charter Day 2022 ceremonyduring which he will also receive an honorary degree from the university.

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