BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Helen Ramirez, deputy city manager of Brownsville and CEO of the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation, says there are specific reasons Paragon VTOL Aerospace chose to relocate to her city.
“Brownsville was selected from over 50 cities in Texas because of our attributes – our open mindedness, our innovation, and because of you, the community,” Ramirez said, at a news conference.
VTOL stands for vertical take off and landing. Ramirez said Paragon VTOL will be “safely testing new urban air mobility and transportation, beginning with drones, and eventually producing vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.”
Ramirez said that because of the state-of-the-art technology it utilizes, Paragon VTOL could have a big impact on Brownsville, the region, the state of Texas, and nation. “We are going places,” she predicted.
Paragon VTOL Aerospace was founded by oil executive and Jamaican native Dwight Smith to produce a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. At the news conference, Smith said his company plans to build a manufacturing hub on designated industrial land at the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport, with operations starting next year.
He said the company is also planning to develop a “vertiport” for vertical liftoffs, landings and service. The company has acquired a capital commitment of over a billion dollars just for the micro grids that will power the vertiports, Smith said.
“The reason I selected Brownsville is because of the community,” said Smith. “Look at the people of Brownsville and you feel the sense of opportunity to build together.”
Smith laid out the strategy for his company in Brownsville. He said it will begin with working out the bugs of a drone package delivery. “We will start with small drone delivery based on a crawl, walk, and run strategy,” he said. “We will begin with meals, mail, and medicine drones in Brownsville.”
Under Paragon’s walk strategy, Smith said, the company plans to initiative a heavy load vehicle that will eventually carry passengers.
Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez enthusiastically welcomed Paragon VTOL to his city.
“Once again, Brownsville is making history and pioneering aviation,” Mendez said, referencing the first international airmail flight piloted to Brownsville by aviator Charles Lindbergh on March 10, 1929.
“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads,” Mendez said, borrowing a famous line from the 1989 movie Back to the Future Part 2.
“The relocation of Paragon VTOL furthers the creation of our infrastructure as a commercial NewSpace ecosystem,” Mendez said. “The City of Brownsville and its partners are committed to continuing to activate our economy through space industries.”
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