By August 10, 2017 Read More →

Florida Panhandle Technical College in Chipley, Florida Supports Highway 79 Corridor Project Through ‘Drone Program’

Recently celebrating their 50th anniversary, providing  job-ready employees to businesses in the Southeast United States, Florida Panhandle Technical College in Chipley, Florida prides itself on staying current in the provision of cutting-edge technology education.

Programs such as CyberSecurity, Network Technology, Hemodialysis and Drafting, inclusive of 3D printing, have attracted the attention of employers in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and surrounding areas.

Recently the brand-new ‘Drone Program’ at Florida Panhandle Technical College was approached by the local economic development contingents of Bonifay, Holmes County and Washington County to participate in the Highway 79 Corridor Project,  an interlocal agreement between the city of Bonifay, Holmes County and Washington County, Florida.

The overall goal of the project is to piggyback on the four-laning of Highway 79 in an attempt to attract business development to Highway 79, from I-10 in Bonifay, south to Douglas Ferry Road in Washington County, encompassing areas in all three entities.

Holmes County Coordinator Wesley Adams suggests a need for gas stations, hotels, strip malls and, through these components, most importantly, jobs, and through the efforts of Florida Senator George Gainer, the project recently received one million dollars to lay the groundwork for development.

The Florida Panhandle Technical College Unmanned Aerial Systems Program or ‘Drone Program’, a term more commonly used, comes into the picture for their capability to furnish aerial photo and video mapping of the project area, approximately 3 miles by 2 miles in size.

‘It’s exciting that our own local college has been singled out to help in this development’, says Washington County Commissioner Tray Hawkins, who has worked closely with Senator Gainer since his election to the Commission in November 2016, ‘and just another example of the importance of Florida Panhandle Technical College’.

With arguably little to no economic growth for the last decade, both Washington and Holmes County officials are ready for some relief, and the efforts of Florida Panhandle Technical College will, at the very least, save the project some of their very limited funds.

In August, students and instructors from the Florida Panhandle Technical College Drone Program started the process of overflying the project area, shooting photos and video,  as seen in these photos by Real Florida Media, a subsidiary of The Goulding Agency in Chipley, Florida.

These images will ultimately be used to produce a 3D map of the terrain, including buildings, roads, infrastructure, vegetation, waterways and other elements of the area, which will subsequently be used to plan growth and attract interested businesses.

‘We are very excited to be a part of this project’, said Florida Panhandle Technical College Director Martha Compton, ‘and it is an excellent learning opportunity for our staff and students, ultimately increasing the value of our program and hopefully attracting attention from consumers for our product, and students, over time’.

The documentation of the project will ultimately help to serve not only as a ‘how-to’ for the effort, but also a recruiting tool for this program, and other programs, at Florida Panhandle Technical College.

‘To have our county involved in economic development is wonderful’, said Washington County Commissioner Todd Abbott, ‘but the frosting on the cake is that our own educational facility, Florida Panhandle Technical College, can contribute to the success of the project, while using the project as a learning tool, is amazing’.

See more photos, video clips and interviews on Facebook at Real Florida Magazine, and listen to the broadcast of the football games and other local events on FPTC Radio, the voice of Florida Panhandle Technical College at





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