Alpena MI

The Challenge

Explorer Solutions was mandated by Alpena County, MI to conduct an Airport Strategic Positioning initiative. The County was looking for identifying an aerospace niche segment to generate economic growth for the County and structure the airport around a promising project. Explorer Solutions’ main challenge was to define a project where Alpena’s remote location would not be perceived as an issue.

Our Role

Explorer Solutions’ approach was divided into three (3) phases structured to accompany the client from initial studies to project implementation. First, we analyzed the aerospace market trends and determine which sub-sectors could match the local economic assets. Then, we pre-selected and proposed three (3) niches candidates to Alpena and guided them with the selection process. To corroborate the research study and confirm the niche potential, we proceeded with a validation phase and surveyed the industry. At last, we commenced the business development; confirm partners’ interest and work towards the establishment of the project.


Explorer Solutions’ findings suggested the creation of an unmanned aerial systems consortium to take advantages of the vast uncongested airspace, low-density population and local natural assets. Explorer Solutions’ work led to the establishment of the Northern Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium (NMUASC), a premier destination for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in Northern US. Explorer Solutions was able to transform what was first perceived as an obstacle for growth – remote location – into competitive advantages. NMUASC is now comprised of more than 20 organizations and partners and the home of UAS flight testing activities.