In August 2021, Whisper Aero announced it would locate its headquarters and create nearly 50 new, high-paying jobs in Cumberland County. Since then, the company has also broken ground on an 8,000-square-foot flight testing facility at the Crossville Memorial Airport (KCSV).

TNECD sat down with the company’s co-founders, Mark Moore and Ian Villa, to discuss how Whisper got its start and its plans to grow and transform modern aerospace technology from right here in the Volunteer State.


Q: What is Whisper Aero, and why should people get on board with the future of mobility?

IAN VILLA – Whisper Aero is all about delivering the next generation of cleaner, quieter, more efficient thrust. We’re building thrusters at multiple scales, ones that work for drones, some that work for larger aircraft but also fans that move air for industrial applications, commercial applications, personal applications.

“Whisper Aero is all about delivering the next generation of cleaner, quieter, more efficient thrust.”

Ian Villa, COO, Co-founder, Whisper Aero

MARK MOORE – When you look at the Whisper Jet or some of the other advances in drone delivery that we’re working on, it probably seems like science fiction, but the last 10 years have been so vibrant in terms of technology development.

The future is coming very fast. There’s incredible technology change across the transportation, energy, information and manufacturing sectors, and everything’s happening at once. That’s never happened before. Complete industries are changing how they do business, and it lets things happen so much faster. The important thing is that it’s not a scary future, it’s an exciting future, and it’s especially a fantastic opportunity for small companies to make big things happen that can change the world.


Q: Why did Whisper Aero choose to locate to rural Tennessee?

MARK MOORE – Whisper Aero believes in living in the future that we’re trying to create, and the technology that we’re developing is especially important for rural communities.

We chose Crossville, Tennessee, which is halfway between Nashville and Knoxville, because it is very typical of what’s happening in rural America, and we want rural communities to have the same opportunities as larger cities. It is important for us to create the first regional air mobility airport in a rural community and incubate the technologies here so that we can showcase what can be achieved in other towns across rural America.


Q: How much of Whisper Aero is research and development based?

MARK MOORE – During the first two years of Whisper, it was all about research and developing the basis for a fundamental technology change in how electric propulsion is done to be able to achieve this radical reduction in noise while also dramatically increasing the efficiency.

Now, we’re at this exciting stage of actually putting it in production and working with partners to get it into leaf blowers, Department of Defense drones, civil aviation products and Amazon delivery drones that, yes, you will see flying in the next few years.

It’s amazing to have done it in just a couple of years, but when you have the right ingredients, amazing things can happen.

IAN VILLA – We have an 8,000-square-foot facility in Nashville that’s for engineering and rapid prototyping, and we have a facility here in Crossville that’s 40,000-square-feet for testing and manufacturing and that combines the best of both worlds.

In Nashville, we get to connect with the government, the entrepreneurship community and bring all that energy, great design work and engineering back to Cumberland County to actually build up a synergistic relationship within the state and not only build, test and ship our propulsion systems from downtown Crossville but also fly them at the new flight test hangar that’s going to be built at the Crossville Memorial Airport.


Q: Why do you think it’s important to bring research and development jobs to Tennessee?

IAN VILLA – I think the future of American industrialism and what we’re building, so much of it in the past has been outsourced to other countries, other nations, and to really create a robust supply chain and an ability to react and build the future, it takes not only production and manufacturing, a lot of which is already in Tennessee, but it needs engineering, research and development, design.

Whisper Aero actually brings together the researchers, the designers, the engineers, right next to our manufacturers and our test engineers, all in one location to drive innovation. You want a location where you can iterate and move very quickly and that’s what we built in Crossville.


Q: How have you partnered with Tennessee Tech University and other organizations to solve mobility problems?

MARK MOORE – We saw an opportunity and talked to one of our early investors, Jon Yarbrough, who went to Tennessee Tech and decided to donate the money to buy this building in downtown Crossville so that the university could build a center of research for advanced transportation and incubate new companies here in local Tennessee to really bring forth the next generation of great transportation and mobility solutions.

We’ve been fortunate to work with others to revitalize this facility and bring in brand new capabilities, such as a large wind tunnel and supercomputing center that’s in the works with Tennessee Tech, and connecting with local entities like Oak Ridge Labs, other universities and more of the great Tennessee companies that exist. So, it really has been not just about us but creating magnets here locally that attract many more innovators to be part of the future of transportation and mobility.


Q: What is Whisper Aero doing to revitalize downtown Crossville and keep younger people in the community?

MARK MOORE – It’s really critical that small towns are able to keep young people with great, higher paying, technical jobs. That’s why we really wanted to be in downtown Crossville, where we’re hiring a large number of technicians and engineers, and we’ve got to make sure that it’s not just about us again.

The downtown area is exciting and vibrant and a place where young people can enjoy themselves and they don’t feel the need to go to Nashville. Instead, they can find that great life balance of family and affordability and closeness that small, tight-knit communities have. They can enjoy having their families grow up in the places where they grew up.


Q: What does the future look like for Whisper Aero in Tennessee?

MARK MOORE – Whisper Aero is headquartered and will always be headquartered in Tennessee. I’m never moving. Like many other people, I’m a transplant from California, and I love it here. It’s a quality of life that doesn’t exist in most other states. It’s a very, very business friendly state that believes in personal freedoms and companies being able to move quickly, to innovate. There are so many advantages of developing a company in a state like Tennessee where they have a much better personal touch with innovators and small companies.

“Whisper Aero is headquartered and will always be headquartered in Tennessee.”

Mark Moore, CEO, Co-Founder, Whisper Aero

IAN VILLA – We are excited by the aviation side, but we’re equally excited to layer this tech into HVAC systems, stove top fans, leaf blowers, and so trying to make an impact really on the way that we live, whether that’s how you move, or how you live your daily lives, that’s really what Whisper’s about.

We have an investor, Robert Downey Jr., whose coined the phrase, “the future’s got to be as considerate as it is compelling,” and we think that through our technology and putting our products out in the world, we can do exactly that.

To learn more about Whisper Aero, visit

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