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Academics / Drone Academy

Drone Academy

Academics / Drone Academy

Tiffin University launches the drone academy

Tiffin University has announced the opening of its Drone Academy in response to the growing and expanding drone industry. The Academy has become a place of learning, research and achievement for the advancement of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones. Featuring academic classes, training seminars, community outreach programs, certification opportunities and recreational activities like Community Fly Days, the Drone Academy provides theoretical and applied learning for the technological and operational aspects of the industry.

The Academy has been designated to participate in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Collegiate Training Initiative (UAS-CTI) by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and allows the Academy and University to collaborate with the FAA, in order to provide aid to students pursuing a career in drone aviation. The designation also provides the opportunity to partner with industry professionals, local government officials, members of law enforcement and other organizations to provide enrolled students with the industry-skills needed to ensure success.

The University also has plans to establish a minor in UAS that will be available to all undergraduate seated students, regardless of their major. The minor will introduce UAS technology to students that can be utilized in many different professions. There will also be a new concentration in UAS for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree that will offer students the ability to explore various UAS platforms and be able to master the concepts of programming for UAS Technologies.

Both the minor and concentration will introduce students to hands on drone flights in class as well as the knowledge to pass their Part 107 Remote Pilot License by the FAA. Students also will gain knowledge in python programming as well as advanced UAS flight platforms. Finally, students are taught the basics of videography and photography using drones.

Through the Drone Academy students can join the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) through the Tiffin University AMA University Model Aviation Student (UMASC) Chapter (in many cases at no charge to the student). This opportunity provides extensive resources, scholarships, grants and insurance for the students in Drone Academy.

The Academy is working with the Athletics Department to establish a Club Drone Racing Team, slated to be active in the fall 2022 semester.

  • 854,606 drones registered
    • 321,771 commercial drones registered
    • 529,331 recreational drones registered
    • 267,962 Remote pilots certified


  • Businesses and the government have spent an estimated $13 billion on drones.

  • The drone industry is expected to grow at 15% CAGR (Continued Annual Growth Rate) over the next five years.


  • The number of jobs operating drones will reach 422,000 by the end of 2022.


  • Through the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Research Program, a recent research project completed for the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Ohio UAS Center by Crown Consulting Inc. concluded that Ohio could expect $13 billion economic impact over 25 years by investing in advanced autonomous aircraft sector.


  • If Ohio acts to capture this emerging market, researchers concluded that Ohio could expect Advanced Air Mobility to contribute 15,000 new jobs, $2.5 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues and 1.6% GDP growth through 2045.


  • In the UAS industry there are several opportunities that exist. Employment opportunities for UAS that currently exist for students:
    • Public safety (fire/law/EMS)
      • Surveillance
      • Fire hot spots
      • Scene oversight
      • Search and rescue
    • o Disaster relief
    • o Order delivery and fulfillment
    • Commercial photography (real estate, weddings, etc.)
    • Commercial movie making
    • 3D Modeling (mapping, GIS, etc.)
    • Agriculture
    • Inspections (tower, bridges, power lines, windmills, cell phones, etc.)
    • Geological surveying
    • Wildlife monitoring

Drone Academy Faculty

Owen Fritz

Owen Fritz

School of Science, Technology and Health
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Drone Academy Director
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Degrees & Certificates

Ph.D. Candidate, Northcentral University
M.B.A., Tiffin University
B.B.A., Tiffin University
A.A.B., Terra State Community College
CFOT, Certified Fiber Optics Technician
MOS, Microsoft Office Specialist

Professor Owen Fritz began with Tiffin University in the fall of 2015 as an affiliate professor for the School of Business in the areas of Computer Information Systems and Economics. In the spring of 2018, he became a full-time faculty member within the Computer Information Systems program. In 2019, Owen is proud to have worked alongside Dr. George Miller in bringing revamping the Computer Information Systems program into the new Computer Science Program offering a B.S. in Computer Science.

Owen’s research interests include Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) & Generation Z, Technological Social Responsibility, and Office Applications in the Workplace.

Before academia, Owen has worked a variety of different jobs that have allowed him to develop a wealth of knowledge to pass on to students entering the field. Professor Fritz is a graduate of Tiffin University and is proud to be a #dragonforlife! Outside of the University, he has many different passions and interests that keep him involved in the community. One passion is weather, and Owen is responsible for the Sandusky County Skywarn (Storm Spotters) program that falls under the Sandusky County Emergency Management Agency. Also, he is an Asst. Emergency Coordinator for the Sandusky County Amateur Radio Emergency Service program that is back up communications when disasters should occur. Owen also is an avid fan of basketball as he can see him at most Dragon home games working scoring at the table as well as he is active with many activities around campus including serving as a Faculty Advisor for the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) Student Chapter.

Professional Memberships

  • ACM (Association of Computing Machinery)
  • ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League)
  • CCSC (Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges)
  • NCHE (National Council for Higher Education)
  • SIGCSE (ACM Special Interest Group of Computer Science Education)
bruce chambers

Bruce Chambers

School of Business
Assistant Director of the Drone Academy
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Bruce Chambers, the owner of An Aerial View Point (Drone Services and Training), has been designing, building, and flying RC Planes and Helicopters for over 50 years. By trade Bruce is an IT professional. When Drones first appeared offering an RC vehicle with a computer inside it was love at first sight. For over 15 years Bruce has watched the Drone revolution grow to an industry changing business. Now Bruce specializes in Drone Technology for First Responders, City, County, and State Governments, along with Agriculture needs. Bruce works closely with his community EMA, Police and Fire Departments, volunteering his Drone fleet wherever it is needed.
david gierhart

David Gierhart

School of Business
Drone Academy Instructor
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David has been flying drones for 5 years. Member of the Sandusky County Drone Emergency Response Team. Prior 20 years, building and flying remote control airplanes. Licensed FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot. Mechanical Engineering Associate’s Degree, Terra Technical College. Business Administration Bachelor’s Degree, University of Toledo. Forty-year career as a Draftsman, Product Designer, Plastics Engineer, Quality Engineer. Six Sigma Certified Black Belt in problem solving. Retired in 2011 from Whirlpool Corporation, Clyde, Ohio where I live with my wife Mary. We have five children and five grandchildren.

russell jones headshot

Russell Jones

School of Business
Head Coach, Collegiate Drone Racing Team
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Russell has been passionate about production ever since he worked on his first professional show in the entertainment industry over 20 years ago! In addition, Russell owns Jones Drones Cleveland which has given him the ability to see the bigger picture on anything from small to large scale drone-related jobs. In 2017, Russell became interested in action drone filming and drone racing and became a highly skilled operator in both. His love for drones and extensive production experience have created the perfect mix for the advancement of drones and drone racing. We are proud to have Russell on our team!

john schupp

John Schupp, Ph.D.

School of Science, Technology and Health
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Outreach Coordinator for the Drone Academy
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Degrees & Certificates

B.S., Cleveland State University
Ph.D., Chemistry, Cleveland State University

Dr. Schupp has twenty-five years experience in the synthetic crystal industry, from 1980 to 2005. In which time he received four patents in the area being granted in 2002.
Dr. Schupp started a student veteran program at Cleveland State in Fall 2006, and since 2009, he has spoken to over 600 campuses nationwide regarding veteran education.
Dr. Schupp helped write, pass and fund legislation for a FIPSE grant in 2010 which provided $6M in grants to over twenty campuses nationwide for veteran education.
Dr. Schupp is the winner of the Zachary Fisher Humanitarian of the Year award from the Department of Defense.