In 2014, Bridger Aerospace began conducting aerial surveillance with a twin commander aircraft. The company quickly recognized it could use its expertise and technology for aerial wildfire solutions, including wildfire observation and suppression. Bridger Aerospace has since added four fire suppression planes known as “scoopers” to its surveillance technology to “become an integrated provider of aerial firefighting solutions,” said Sam Davis, VP of Finance. “We focus on initial attack, responding early and quickly at the start of fires, and the scoopers are great for that.”
As Bridger Aerospace and the need for its services grew, it connected with Prospera to assist with applying for a Big Sky Trust Fund (BSTF) grant to add thirty locally-based employees in 2021. The BSTF grant requires recipients to hire employees who live and work in Gallatin County. After receiving the grant, Prospera has continued to be present and available to answer questions the Bridger Aerospace staff has in terms of who qualifies as an employee under the grant parameters. “Our ultimate goal is to have community members who would be interested in this niche industry,” HR Manager Jamie Bach said. Bach works directly with the Prospera team to report the company’s hiring statistics for the grant. “Prospera really helps me. I give them the information, and they review it to make sure it looks good. It saves me a huge amount of time because we’re working with state and local governments, so having someone like Prospera reach out without me having to ask, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ takes all the guesswork out of it, which is so valuable. They really do want to help local businesses. It’s just an amazing group,” said Bach.
As Bridger Aerospace looks to the future, the company expects to grow its staff to expand its firefighting capabilities, including early detection and prevention as well as repair and maintenance of aircraft.