January 12, 2005
Purdue's first satellite incubator opens doors to technology companies
MERRILLVILLE and WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A grand opening celebration at the Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana today (Wednesday, Jan. 12) put a spotlight on the incubator's incoming client firms and their potential for making an impact on the region's economy.
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke and members of the center's advisory board and management team participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome the firms, which are Advanced Concepts and Technology International LLC (ACT-I), Brogan Pharmaceuticals LLC, Spectral Data Inc., NuVant Systems Inc., ProLogic Inc., 21st Century Systems and Sierra Nevada Corp. Several other firms are expected to sign lease agreements in the first quarter of 2005.
In addition to securing $6.9 million in federal funding for both the 48,000-square-foot center's construction and initial operating costs, Visclosky worked to help recruit four of these charter ventures to the center.
"The Purdue Technology Center infuses technology and the jobs of the future into Northwest Indiana," Visclosky said. "By creating high-tech jobs, the incubator also provides new opportunities to diversify Northwest Indiana's economy.
"A large percentage of Northwest Indiana's jobs have traditionally come from the steel manufacturing industry, which has a cyclical nature. The Purdue Research Foundation provides a foundation for long-term economic investment in the area, while also creating a facility that fosters companies on the cutting edge of technology."
Jischke, who also is president of the Purdue Research Foundation, which owns and manages the incubator, said: "We want Indiana's core industries to remain strong, but by diversifying our economy with a variety of cutting-edge technology companies, we can develop new job opportunities and make ourselves both stronger and more resilient. That is one of the goals of this center."
The first seven companies to sign lease agreements with the foundation are developing a range of emerging technologies in the areas of homeland security, energy, pharmaceuticals and information technology.
"We wanted to be part of the center from the minute we heard about it," said Dan Schreiber, president of Spectral Data Inc., one of two companies to come to the center from the Merrillville area. The company was founded in 1998 to design and develop a new generation of portable, optical emission spectrometers to analyze metal alloys.
Another Northwest Indiana startup, Brogan Pharmaceuticals, was recently founded by Purdue graduate Brett Dines. The company plans to develop pharmaceutical products, including experimental drugs for clinical trials.
"The center's proximity to Chicago's business and medical communities, major airports, and being only an hour from Purdue's pharmacy program on its main campus in West Lafayette were guiding factors in my decision to start the company in Merrillville," Dines said. "The center's incubator programs have already been of assistance and will continue to guide the company through its start-up and into its operational phase."
While Spectral Data and Brogan Pharmaceuticals will be headquartered in Merrillville, other ventures view the center as a strategic place to expand.
Eugene Smotkin, the founder of Chicago-based NuVant Systems Inc. and a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, says the center's location works well with his research collaborations in Chicago and at the University of Notre Dame, located in South Bend., Ind. Smotkin is developing components and component evaluation instrumentation for fuel cell technology.
The center will be one of two dozen sites across the country where Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nev., develops and manufactures defense electronics systems and products.
"With a reputation for technical innovation and agile business practices, SNC has grown at an annual rate of almost 50 percent per year for the last decade," said David Klingler, the company's vice president of business development. "With our technology interests and the challenges of rapid growth, it's important that we locate where we can tap into a talented pool of university researchers and highly-trained graduates. Purdue's campuses meet both those demands."
An office at the Purdue Technology Center will be the eighth location for Virginia-based 21st Century Systems(r) (21CSI(r)), a software development company founded in 1996 that specializes in decision-support applications for a variety of defense and homeland security customers. 21CSI has pioneered real-time computer assisted decision making that relies on the use of cutting-edge artificial intelligence called "intelligent agents."
"Partnering humans with intelligent agent advisers can increase efficiency and safety of our inland ports as well as the country's trucking and rail systems - all transportation systems that we expect interstate commerce to become increasingly dependent upon," said Alexander D. Stoyen, the company's founder and chief executive officer. "What better location to work on this problem than in Northwest Indiana where these modes of transportation come together?"
Another software development company placing an office at the center, 10-year-old West Virginia-based ProLogic Inc., plans to work with Purdue-Calumet faculty in the area of homeland security.
The Waco, Texas-based professional technology services firm ACT-I also is focusing its efforts on homeland security and has earmarked its Merrillville office for a drinking water decontamination research and development project.
ACT-I, ProLogic, 21st Century Systems and Sierra Nevada all were referred to the center by Visclosky.
"Congressman Visclosky's commitment to accelerate his district's high-tech job growth is tangible in the Purdue Technology Center," said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president and treasurer of the Purdue Research Foundation. "Congressman Visclosky not only got this project off the ground, he dedicated resources to actively promote Northwest Indiana around the country as a viable and desirable place for entrepreneurs to locate their technology businesses."
Companies in the Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana will have access to a high-speed telecommunications infrastructure; videoconferencing capabilities; shared office services; attractive rental rates; networking opportunities; business mentoring; enhanced opportunities for investor interest; technical assistance; and the use of Purdue's specialized research equipment and laboratories as well as access to university purchasing services for small amounts of unique supplies.
"President Jischke has shown great leadership by expanding Purdue's leading research and technology expertise to run the high-tech incubator in Northwest Indiana," Congressman Visclosky said.
Purdue Research Foundation also runs the award-winning Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, which was named top research park in the country for 2004 by its peers, the Association of University Research Parks. The Purdue Research Park is the state's first Certified Technology Park and home to more than 100 high-tech companies - the largest concentration of these ventures in the state.
Writer: Jeanine Phipps, media relations, Purdue Research Park, (765) 494-0748, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph B. Hornett, (765) 496-1658, email@example.com
Justin Kitsch, public relations, Office of U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, (202) 225-6187 (mobile), (202) 225-2461 (office); firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert "Bob" Wichlinski, Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana executive director, (219) 746-1472, email@example.com
Howard Cohen, Purdue-Calumet chancellor, (219) 989-2446, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eugene Smotkin, Ph.D., NuVant Systems Inc. founder and chief technology officer, (787) 723-7334, email@example.com
Dan Schreiber, Spectral Data Inc. president, (219) 374-7663, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Maquire, ProLogic Inc. vice president of business development and marketing, (703) 598-1160, email@example.com
Alexander D. Stoyen, Ph.D., 21st Century Systems Inc. founder and CEO, (571) 323-0080, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Klingler, Sierra Nevada Corp. vice president of ISR, (408) 399-8680, email@example.com
Brett Dines, Brogan Pharmaceuticals LLC president and CEO, (219) 322-0208, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Niggel, ACT-I co-founder and managing director, (310) 721-6077, email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org
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