If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city.
This week, we’re joined by Chris Lauborough. Chris is the owner of a relatively new business here in our community called SkyFall Video Services. SkyFall offers aerial inspection, ground/aerial videography, and photo needs for advertising private and commercial real estate and business promotion with the use of drones! As one of the first people in our entire town striving to utilize this new technology, we’re excited to have this trailblazer with us today to learn more about how Chris plans to aim high with his business…literally!
Thanks for making time for AAT, Chris! I’m sure many people are intrigued to learn more about SkyFall; however, why don’t we start by hearing more about you, first! “I was born and raised in what you would call the Bay Area or what you’d also call Silicon Valley-Sunnyvale, California. After high school, I immediately went to college to figure out who I was and which path in life was calling me. Naturally, growing up in the heart of technology, I was also enthralled with computers and tech of all kinds, especially remote-controlled cameras as I always loved remote-controlled cars, planes, and helicopters growing up. During school, my wife and I started and ran a photography business for two years; we did well and made some decent money at it. After changing my major in college, a dozen times, I decided the fast-past corporate world wasn’t what I wanted to live in, so I started looking for other places to live. Much of my family was already living here in Elko, so that’s where I turned to first; they were the only family I had that wasn’t living in California. My wife and I made the move here in 2011 after, literally, just getting married; we got married in August, September we moved here, and in December we had bought our first house! At first, we thought maybe we overshot a bit by moving from a super dense city to a remote town in the country, but Elko was exactly the type of living we wanted. We’re still here and thriving seven years later and have since grown into a family of four!”
That’s all wonderful, Chris! Now, let’s talk about SkyFall. How did you even come up with this idea for a business, and what has it been like getting established as really one of the first people in our town to jump into this space? “Since starting SkyFall Video Services, I couldn’t be more excited! Being a kid in the Bay Area, I was always tinkering with RC cars and aircraft, so when consumer drones started being more affordable, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them and start flying them! Things really kicked off about a year ago when I bought a drone, just for fun as a hobby, and my wife, being a realtor, asked if I would be interested in filming a house for as an advertisement. A light bulb went off after that! I realized I could take my hobby and make money with it; it could be great! I looked into what the laws and regulations were for commercial drone use and went through the process to get licensed and certified. The airport here has been extremely helpful as well. I’ve already talked to the director and a couple of their on-call guys and told them everything about what I’m doing; we’ve already got a system developed where I can relay my flight plans with them, and everything can be legit. Right now, I’m starting with something accessible with real estate and small business promotion, and then I want to branch out into the huge industrial world of commercial drone use. I don’t have the exact perspective as someone who is full force into this career because I do still have my full-time job with the city water department, but I still treat it as important as my full-time job. I look forward to offering Elko’s businesses, residences, and services the most cutting edge and comprehensive aerial options available. Being able to fly and capture inspiring footage while creating something special is the best job I could ask for. I’ve found something that I really love and get to be one of the first pioneers to bring it to the county! I’ve always said if you’ve found something you love, chase it.”
As you are setting the stage for how this technology can be used in our community, what are some of the things you’ve had to work through to properly lay the foundation for drone use in our area? “Offering SkyFall’s services in Elko has been very motivating and welcoming. This field is very new in its entirety, and, as an industry, it’s in its infancy. Being able to be at the forefront of the industry here, I want to set the bar as high as possible. I want to set the standard for how everyone can follow the rules as the public perception of drones right now can be negative; they’re seen as a nuisance. People only see the crashes or the people who are doing dumb things with them, so I want to show people that this can be done the right way- following the rules. The tech is all still super new, and the hardware is extremely expensive, making it difficult to get up and running as a start-up business. The weather will also be a challenge as it’s not always optimal for flying here in Elko; the cold and wind are the two biggest things. However, the main key is to always look towards your goal and keeping fighting for what you want; if you take things one step at a time, success will follow. I want to offer people the best I can, and I inspire to build SkyFall into my full-time job. I want to help Elko stay at the cutting-edge level! ”
Chris, what would you say to inspire someone else who may have a unique dream or passion they might feel called to introduce into our area? “If you truly put your mind to start a new business, moving to a new city, going back to college, or whatever it may be, you can achieve it. We all have the same opportunity to reach our goals, as long as we keep going and never give up; my story here in Elko is living proof of that. The city may seem small on the surface at first, but if you take the time to learn and seek through the day-to-day- there is a vast plethora of opportunity and success to be happy with. I live each day gratefully and humble. Remember, life will always throw you problems, but it’s how you solve those problems that make us who we are.”
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See you around, Elko!