By: Shawn O’Brate
SHOSHONI – The Shoshoni Wranglers’ football team was able to reach back-to-back State Championship games in the Class 1A 9-Man division, winning last year’s and falling one score short of winning the second this year, but something was happening behind the scenes with one of the key players for the Wranglers.
Senior Korbin DeWitt, the six-foot starting center for the Wranglers, was not only putting all of his time and effort into winning football games with his teammates but he was also spending his free time building a new business venture from the ground up.
DeWitt Drone Services LLC started back in June and has since accumulated nearly 20 clients across Shoshoni and the rest of Fremont County. DeWitt has multiple avenues that he ventures with his multiple drones, some of which span from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
“I started off with [a] little one, just a basic Mavic, to mess around with and take pictures with,” DeWitt said. “Then last year I decided I could do work with this kind of stuff … I got into it, I studied and all that and I ended up buying the bigger one for gas plants, transmission line inspection, all that kind of stuff.”
So far, DeWitt has used his drones to help multiple real estate companies take premiere photos and videos of their homes for sale and has since expanded into the power line and natural gas companies to investigate possible issues with their equipment.
He was able to achieve this quick rise in clientele through pure determination and word of mouth, values that have fallen short in many businesses which have transitioned to strictly social media and online advertising.
“I just started asking around, handing out my business cards, offering my services and eventually I got a few calls,” DeWitt explained.
After a few months it’s become obvious that DeWitt has found his niche and that this new enterprise could be more than just a fun way to make money during high school.
“Hopefully we can expand a little bit and get stuff set up, situated and grow from here,” DeWitt said. “Maybe into some surrounding states, that way I can stay close but still expand … I have a couple plans here and there but that would be more development that I’m working toward in the future.”
With the help of his uncle Billy, who helped pay for one or two of the more expensive drones, DeWitt has been able to find a select group of businesses that can cut down on costs and damages with the help of the Shoshoni High School senior.
“Inspecting damaged equipment, whether it’s rigs or power lines … with the zoom you can stay quite far away from things that might be hot or might be too dangerous to get close to or inspect,” DeWitt explained. “Or, sometimes, you’d have to shut stuff down to get up close. With this you can stay far away and see temperatures.”
What’s even better than the senior starting his own business with plans of expansion and growth across Wyoming and other states is the support that the entire town, school and communities around him have given.
“Everyone has been really supportive overall. Family, teachers, principals and everyone have been really intrigued and interested,” DeWitt said.
DeWitt went on to praise Brady Slack, Shoshoni High’s history and life readiness teacher, who convinced the Wranglers’ starting center to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Remote Pilot Certification test early because he knew he was prepared for it, even if DeWitt didn’t think he was.
“I was going to wait until June 15th to take it,” DeWitt said about the test this summer. “If you fail you have to wait another month to retake it … I was still nervous and I told him I was going to wait another month and he just said ‘what are you going to wait for? Just take it now, you’re ready’. So I decided to take it in May and I passed [so] I was able to start [the business] in June before I was ever going to take the test thanks to that little push.”
Currently, DeWitt is in the middle of his final semester of high school and is the manager of the Shoshoni wrestling team. In the spring DeWitt has previously been a part of the track team but is considering putting that to the side and focusing on growing DeWitt Drones.
After high school is over for DeWitt it’s a whole different ball game, literally, as he is still contemplating life options but knows that his drone business could grow to be more than he ever imagined.
“I may go get a business degree online … I might go to Black Hills State or up in Bozeman at Montana State but right now I’m kind of thinking of just working on this,” DeWitt said as he landed a drone outside of Shoshoni High School. “It’s definitely hard to think about but the more I put my mind to it the more I think I’m capable of it and I have a bunch of different steps where I can take this.”
DeWitt’s father, Charlie, knows college life can be tantalizing but he also knows his son’s success doesn’t have to be built on a campus and that he has the talent to keep the drone business stable, especially with a solid base.
“He would make a lot of money with a base,” Charlie said about his son. “He’s good at it, he pretty much does it all alone and I know he can do a lot with it.”
If DeWitt’s Drones sounds like something you or someone you know might be interested in you can find more information on Facebook as well as on his website at dewittdroneservices.com.