HALIFAX IDA DEVELOPS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP WITH NASA AND EMERGING INDUSTRIES TOWARDS COMMERCIALIZATION
The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (Halifax IDA) and its Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC) brought together representatives from the Commonwealth of Virginia, NASA Langley Research Center, GENEDGE, the Institute of Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), and six emerging companies focusing on advancedtechnologies and products that are ripe for commercialization in Halifax County.
"This meeting is just one example of how the Halifax IDA proactively creates effective partnerships to attract and grow business and industry in Halifax County," says Matt Leonard, Executive Director of the Halifax IDA.
This meeting is a continuation of a dialogue between Halifax County, the Commonwealth's Secretary of Technology, Karen Jackson, and representatives from NASA Langley, which began last year with the vision of developing a lasting partnership that can leverage the cuttingedge R&D resources at NASA Langley and the IDA's SVPAC, to successfully anchor and grow new ventures in Halifax County. The purposes of the meeting was to introduce the companies incubating with SVPAC to the greater research and development resources and capabilities at NASA Langley and to develop solutions to each company's pressing problems as they move towards commercialization of their new products.
The companies that attended the meeting included companies developing novel products across several advanced technology sectors with applications in tissue engineering, high performance vehicles, coatings, oceanographic data collection and analysis, electron microscopy, and regenerative bone healing.
"All of these have real-world applications, growing markets and the potential for high paying jobs," says Kristy Johnson, the IDA's Manager of Marketing and Business Development. ""Bringing jobs to Halifax County is our mission," she adds "we're exploring every real pathway to make that happen."
"We were able to identify one-of-a-kind resources within NASA Langley to help us develop our next generation High Performance Vehicle," says Mark Swain, VP of Marketing for TMI, AutoTech – a Halifax based industry that successfully established their business in HalifaxmCounty eight years ago, and attended the event. TMI AutoTech partnered with the Halifax IDA and SVPAC to recently win a Tobacco Commission R&D Grant to develop, test, and manufacturer a new High Performance Vehicle in Halifax County.
"Our goal is to combine the already-existing R&D capacity in Halifax County with the capabilities of NASA to help companies launch new products in ways that weren't possible before," says Dr. Doug Corrigan, Executive Director of SVPAC. Doug adds, "We really appreciate the vision and openness of NASA Langley to work with us and our incubating companies so that we can create a product development and commercialization ecosystem for emerging companies that is second to none. NASA brings thousands of great technologies and programs that were initially created for the exploration of space, but are now ready to be readapted to move into the commercial sector. Those technologies can help our emerging companies to leap-frog their development efforts and create better products."
"As a remote drone company, our oceanographic data-collection platform requires the most innovative and low-powered sensors in order to remain competitive. NASA Langley has developed next generation sensors that we are beginning to explore as an option as we move forward in the development of our next generation Datamaran," says T.J. Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of Autonomous Marine Systems.
"NASA Langley is invested in the success of our region and we're looking for opportunities to leverage our capabilities -- technology, facilities, processes, and expertise -- to help businesses solve their technology challenges. We do this to enable their growth, which improves our economy. Regional Economic Development is the right thing do to and we are committed," says Christina Moats-Xavier, who serves as the Lead for the Office for Development at NASA Langley.
"We cannot overstate the importance of Secretary of Technology Jackson, Secretary of Commerce Maurice Jones, and the honorable Mary Rae Carter, Governor McAuliffe's Special Advisor for Rural Partnerships," says Leonard. "Their awareness of our capabilities, belief in the potential of rural Virginia and exhaustive efforts are a direct outgrowth of the Governor's work to improve the lives of all Virginians through new opportunities for increased employment and economic growth."
For questions regarding this partnership, please contact. Dr. Douglas Corrigan at