Meet Wesley Collins
Wesley Collins’ entrepreneurial mindset made him realize there is opportunity right here in rural Montgomery County. He resides in Coffeyville with his wife and daughters and his master plan calls for him to transition his aerial and virtual imagery business from part time to full time in March of 2022.
We featured Wesley and his business in the November issue of our Fab Lab Blab newsletter, and I wanted to share his story with you in this column today.
Using Drone and 3D Technologies
“Meet Wesley Collins, a 26-year-old, self-proclaimed knowledge seeker who has a passion for personal development, history and technology. Wesley has a broad array of talents and interests. While he attended Washburn University, he interned and worked for a Kansas Senator, and he is currently learning to read and translate Biblical Hebrew. In 2018, he established AVA Energy Expeditions, Inc., a company that aspires to use drone and 3D technologies to further enhance various industries. Wesley has made a direct impact on the Fab Lab by creating the self-guided 3D tour on the website, which creates an immersive experience for viewers. The Fab Lab was also instrumental in helping Wesley envision and create his own business.
Intro to 3D Printing at Fab Lab ICC
“Of his early days at the Fab Lab Wesley stated, “While attending ICC as a computer science major, I had a class called ‘AutoCAD’ that was held in the same building as the Fab Lab. One of the biggest attractions for me was the 3D printers. I remember my first day seeing the 3D printers at work, I was a kid in a candy shop.” Not long after that, a volunteer of the Fab Lab took him under his wing, and they began working on projects together. This fueled his desire to someday own his own business and to use the skills he’d learned from the Fab Lab.
“Luckily for Wesley, his grandfather and Jim Correll knew one another, so this made him feel comfortable enough to approach Jim and ask questions about entrepreneurship. Wesley said, “He answered a lot of my questions and entertained my imagination.” Jim also introduced him to two books that would help guide him along his entrepreneurial journey. They were Who Owns the Ice House and The Small Business Start-Up Workbook.
“Getting back to the business of starting his own business, during the fall of 2015, Wesley was an ICC student majoring in Computer Science. During this time, “I had a dream of the word ‘AHAVA,’ which led me to design the first draft of AVA’s business logo in the Fab Lab.”
“How did 3D tours and drones come into play? While sitting in the Student Union at ICC, Wesley was reading a magazine that explained how drones would have a major impact on our economy in the next decade. So he knew from that moment he wanted to start a company that used drones. The drone theme is what inspired the acronym of “AVA” which stands for Angelic Vibrant Angles.
Providing Aerial and Virtual Imagery for Clients Large and Small
“Currently, AVA Energy Expeditions, Inc., enables easy acquisition of aerial imagery, virtual tours and data, anywhere you need it. They’ve worked with anyone from sole proprietors and small shops to large enterprises with physical assets and properties in remote locations around the globe.
“Since beginning his entrepreneurial journey, Wesley stated that the most rewarding part of it has been, “the process of developing myself as a well-rounded individual. Since embarking on this entrepreneurial journey, I’ve encountered many obstacles that have pushed me to the next level to overcome them.” Of his biggest obstacle he said, “Overcoming the fear of rejection has been my biggest hardship. As an entrepreneur, I have encountered a wide range of people and businesses. Hearing ‘No’ wasn’t something I was used to before this journey, but now I’ve learned to redefine what ‘No’ really means in the business world.”
“Wesley is building his business but still makes time to volunteer at the Fab Lab as a speaker in the Entrepreneurial Mindset classes. He’s also looking forward to a number of future collaborative projects with the Lab.
“You can find AVA Energy Expeditions, Inc., online at avaenergyexpeditions.com, on Facebook
@AVAEnergyExpeditions, on Twitter @AVAEnergy, on YouTube as Ava Energy and on Instagram
The Fab Lab Blab newsletter is published 2 – 4 times each year and email subscriptions are available at no charge. The table of contents of the latest November issue includes Meet Wesley Collins and AVA Energy Expeditions, Inc., The Contractors Are Coming, Fab Food Lab Up and Running, Positives from a Pandemic, The Future of Factory Work Looks Bright, for Now, FABulous Featured Machine, SEED – The Small Business Entrepreneur Empowerment and Development Initiative. If you would like to receive a complimentary copy, please email me.
Jim Correll can be reached at (620) 252-5349 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Fab Lab ICC or Independence Community College. Archive columns and podcasts at www.fablabicc.org.
After graduating from Independence Community College in 2015, Wesley played football at Washburn University in Topeka. While there, Wesley interned in the state capitol for Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau all while continuing to work to build his aerial and virtual imagery business.