#TampaBayInnovationWeek: Wade Hartley

Innovation is a one-way road to economic growth

It can be challenging to offer new ideas in this fast-paced society. Fortunately, The Greenhouse and the St. Pete community are dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs with impactful resources such as mentorship, community partnerships, workshops, and more.

For Tampa Bay Innovation Week, we are excited to highlight entrepreneurs who have used innovative problem-solving to launch a successful business, like Wade Hartley, founder and owner of Hartley Aerial.

Innovators help drive our local economy by identifying problems, finding creative solutions, and creating jobs to help St. Pete grow as a community.

Meet Wade Hartley with Hartley Aerial Services

GH: Tell us a little about yourself and your business!

WH: My name is Wade Hartley, and I’m the founder of Hartley Aerial Services LLC, a professional drone services provider and production company based in St. Petersburg, FL. I was born and raised right here in St. Pete and am a graduate of UCF College of Business. Our company specializes in providing high-quality aerial inspections, videography, photography, and live broadcast services.

Our pilots have done work in over 20 different states, ranging from disaster relief missions after hurricanes, flying inside Amalie arena for the Lightning, creating a virtual tour of downtown St. Pete, and providing live coverage for college football.

GH: What inspired you to start your business?

WH: Between my love of aviation and video production, I was inspired to start my business after seeing the potential for drones to revolutionize the way we collect imagery. As a pilot, I saw firsthand how drones could be used to safely and efficiently gather high-resolution data in a way that was not possible before.

GH: What has your experience at the Greenhouse been like?

WH: We feel constantly inspired and supported by other entrepreneurs in the community from attending events, such as One Million Cups at The Greenhouse.

GH: What makes your business innovative? 

WH: Our business is innovative due to the use of cutting-edge drone technology and data analytics to provide our clients with actionable insights. By leveraging the power of drones, we are able to collect data faster and safer than traditional methods. In addition to showcasing some never before seen perspectives.

GH: What do you think the City of St. Petersburg needs more of? 

WH: I believe St. Pete needs more investment in green public transit options for our growing city. Maybe this is an opportunity for EVTOL aircraft or drone delivery platforms to take cars off the road, ultimately creating a safer place for pedestrian traffic. St. Pete has a rich history of commercial aviation, and we hope to help bring this legacy into the next generation of air vehicles.

GH: What advice would you give to other business owners who want to become more innovative? 

WH: My advice to other business owners who want to become more innovative is to pay attention to problems in their environment and be willing to take risks. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity, and never be afraid to try new things. Also, seek out mentors and build relationships with other entrepreneurs who can provide guidance and support.


Hartley Aerial provides custom drone photography and video services to clients all around the country.
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