AFRL exec: Arcade may be future ‘viable option’


The executive director of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) said Monday he’s looking forward to setting up an outpost in downtown Dayton’s budding “Innovation District.”

If the “experiment” at 444 E. Second St. works, it may lead to other downtown moves — perhaps even an AFRL office one day in Dayton’s newly developing Arcade, said that executive director, Douglas Ebersole.

RELATED: New downtown Air Force office part of emerging ‘innovation district’

“It’s a viable option,” Ebersole said in an interview Monday, referring to the arcade. “That decision will be informed by the pace and growth and activity at the Arcade.”

AFRL has a two-year lease on space at 444 E. Second with the Wright Brothers Institute, The Entrepreneurs Center and other development-minded partners and small businesses. Software firm Mile Two LLC is on the building’s second floor. And Portland, Ore.-based Galois Inc. will have a team of people in that building as early as this summer, Aaron Miller, the company’s director of business strategy and operations told this news outlet earlier this month.

Maybe half a dozen workers will have a home in the building by May 1, in addition to businesses like Mile Two and Galois, said Les McFawn, director of the Wright Brothers Institute (WBI) and a former AFRL executive director. But about 50 to 60 AFRL researchers are expected to spend at least part of their time in the building not too long after that.

“Our younger workforce really wants an environment where they can get out of their cubicles and meet with their colleagues in this kind of open environment,” Ebersole said.

Matt Clark, AFRL branch chief, Autonomous Control Branch, says AFRL researchers from across the nation will find a place at what downtown advocates sometimes call “444” — and their work is cut out for them.

“The collision of all of those groups will create innovation here in downtown Dayton around the central topic of safe verifiable software,” Clark said. “Software is huge, it’s complex, it’s hard. It gets harder when you talk about machine learning and autonomy. How do we make sure it’s trustworthy?”

The work won’t be classified but it will be important, he said.

The AFRL-WBI partnership — banding together to work in a downtown space — is fairly unusual nationally, observers said in interviews. And the Department of Defense is watching, McFawn said.

“We’ve had six DoD agencies in the past six months visit us,” he said.

The Entrepreneurs Center, University of Dayton Research Institute, Wright State University and others are expected to be on site, too.

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity to work with these cutting-edge researchers to showcase, first of all, the innovation economy in this town,” said Scott Koorndyk, president of The Entrepreneurs Center.

FIVE NEW BUSINESS READS

City of invention: Dayton remains a cradle of creativity

Green County firm lands work with SpaceX

Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations continue over health plans

Local bike trails draw global attention

Fuyao workers get a big raise



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow

Your house is a large expense with many associated costs like a mortgage payment, insurance, maintenance and more. It provides a roof over your head, of course, but since it usually costs you money each month, why not put it to work for you and earn some cash in the process? The following are four ways your house can make you money: If you're planning...
6 things to know about working for Uber
6 things to know about working for Uber

Uber has been making headlines in recent months for everything from a new CEO to industry regulation. But if you want to work as a driver for the service that revolutionized the taxi-transport industry, there is more important information about Uber you'll want to check out. Here are six things you need to know about Uber before working for them...
Manufacturing job growth helps drive down Ohio jobless rate
Manufacturing job growth helps drive down Ohio jobless rate

Ohio’s unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent in October from 5.3 percent in September as employers statewide added 4,300 jobs over the same period, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services announced Friday. RELATED: Many Ohioans still struggling despite low unemployment The number of unemployed workers fell 9,000 to 296...
Hatch to Sherrod Brown: ‘Don’t spew this stuff at me’
Hatch to Sherrod Brown: ‘Don’t spew this stuff at me’

Sen. Sherrod Brown and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch are garnering attention today for a yelling match they had last night at a hearing over the tax reform bill working its way through the Senate. Hatch, a Utah Republican, took umbrage at comments by Brown saying the tax bill will help the rich at the expense of the poor. &ldquo...
Elder-Beerman parent company to close 40 stores
Elder-Beerman parent company to close 40 stores

Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the parent company of Elder-Beerman, will close at least 40 stores by the end of 2018. The retailer will shutter about a sixth of its 260 department stores, furniture galleries and clearance centers. The chain has Elder-Beerman stores at the Dayton Mall, Mall at Fairfield Common and several others at Dayton area locations...
More Stories