Ultra Electronics  U.S.S.I

Ultra Electronics U.S.S.I, 4868 East Park 30 Drive, Columbia City, is part of a joint venture that received a $1 billion Navy contract.

The U.S. Navy has awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for up to $1.04 billion in sonobuoys to Columbia City-based ERAPSCO.

ERAPSCO is a joint venture between Ultra Electronics Undersea Sensor Systems, Inc. in Columbia City and Schaumburg, Illinois-based Sparton Corp.

The Navy wants up to 37,500 AN/SSQ-36B sonobuoys, 685,000 AN/SSQ-53G sonobuoys, 120,000 AN/SSQ-62F sonobuoys and 90,000 AN/SSQ-101B sonobuoys, and it wants them for Department of Defense fiscal years 2019-23.

It describes the naval surveillance equipment as “air launched expendable, electro-mechanical anti-submarine warfare acoustic sensors designed to relay underwater sounds associated with ships and submarines.”

The contract calls for 49% of the sonobouys’ production to take place in Columbia City and 51% to take place in DeLeon Springs, Florida, and it calls for their completion in September 2025.

The contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304©(1) and the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Maryland, handled the contracting.

Heartland REMC to offer broadband to services

Members of the Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. expect to be able to get broadband as well as electric service from the cooperative before long through a partnership it announced last month with Trans-World Communications.

A June 23 Heartland post on the partnership was included in recent cooperatives news shared by Indiana Connection, an Indiana Electric Cooperatives publication.

“Over the last 18 months, we have been diligently researching and reviewing options to see if it was possible to provide a reliable high-speed internet service without raising electrical rates,” it said.

“Thanks to our partnership with Trans-world Communications, this service will not affect your electric rates,” it said. “We will begin building the system in the fall of 2019. The service will be available to both homes and businesses in our territory.”

With offices in Markel and Wabash, Heartland serves Huntington, Wabash and Wells counties, part of southwest Allen County, and fringe areas of Adams, Kosciusko, Whitley, Grant and Miami counties.

The cooperative planned to reach all of its members within five years with broadband service offering download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second, according to the Indiana Connection report.

The service will be offered for a flat monthly fee and will come without a data cap. The report said TWN Communications has been doing business in the communications industry for more than 30 years.

Pledge supports Fawick Hall expansion

The James Foundation of Auburn has pledged $1.5 million to help with an $8.5 million expansion of Fawick Hall, which houses several of Trine University’s engineering departments.

The expansion will provide more space and resources for biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering programs and for a design engineering technology program. A learning lab with a maker space will foster creativity there.

It also will house an artificial intelligence/virtual reality lab as part of Trine’s new School of Computing, which runs programs in computer science and information technology and in software and computing engineering.

The foundation was established by Rick and Vicki James to improve quality of life by upgrading social platforms and providing new cultural and educational opportunities.

Rick James chairs Trine’s board. “Engineering has been central to Trine University since 1902, and we are excited to provide expanded resources for Trine engineers while at the same time training students to help meet the critical technology infrastructure and cybersecurity needs of our region and nation,” he said in a statement.

“Trine University continues to be honored and blessed by the generosity of The James Foundation as well as many others who stand behind our mission and vision,” Earl Brooks II, Trine’s president, said in the statement.

“Such support is essential as we continue to enhance our educational offerings and impact the quality of life and quality of place throughout northeast Indiana by empowering students to have successful, meaningful careers.”

With an airy, glass-walled exterior and bright, open spaces for conversation and collaboration, the expansion will feature state-of-the-art technology to support its new labs and classrooms, and movable walls in some of the classroom areas will make them more flexible.

The expansion also will provide more faculty office space and a café, which will function as a campus gathering point.

The pledge was made in support of a $125 million Invest in Excellence campaign, which has raised more than $106 million so far. More information on the campaign is available at 260-665-4114 or the trine.edu/give website.

Bridge application deadline Aug. 2

Entrepreneurs interested in joining Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. and participating in its new Bridge program have until Aug. 2 to apply.

Through the program, established companies that have stepped up to be Bridge investors sponsor a startup’s GFW, Inc. membership for five years, which provides access to many benefits as well as participation in networking and education programs tailored for entrepreneurs.

“Startups are a critical piece of any growing economy,” Renata Robinson, GFW’s small-business development director, said in a statement.

“Looking at companies like Sweetwater Sound and Vera Bradley, we know the impact startups can make by creating jobs and becoming major employers,” she said.

“The Bridge program is designed to fuel the success stories of tomorrow. We’ve already seen incredible interest from the entrepreneurial community, and we can’t wait to get started with our first group of founders.”

In addition to the training, the benefits that will become available to entrepreneurs through the program include exclusive discounts, free use of GFW offices and meeting space and access to GFW events restricted to its members.

“We’re so thankful to our Bridge Investors for stepping up to share the benefits of being part of GFW Inc. with startup companies,” Brenda Gerber Vincent, GFW’s community and corporate impact vice president, said in the statement.

“I can’t wait to see the connections they forge. This is a wonderful example of the business community coming together to build a nationally recognized economy.”

The program is part of an expanding effort in Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana to encourage and nurture entrepreneurship.

Inventors Club to meet at TekVenture on Aug. 8

The Fort Wayne Inventors Club has scheduled its next meeting for 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at TekVenture, 1550 Griffin St. in Fort Wayne.

The group, formed to advance invention in the region, requires no dues or fees and asks only that individuals come to its meetings with a curious mind, desire to learn and a willingness to help fellow inventors.

More information about it is available from www.fortwayneinventorsclub.org or by contacting Dave Gross, president and CEO of Collision Control Communications.

Elevate Ventures introduces pitch competition

Elevate Ventures has started a program that it calls Elevate Nexus to help colleges and universities in the state that do not already have them to initiate investment pitch competitions.

Elevate Nexus will help organize the events and provide the colleges and universities where they will take place with information on pitch competition best practices.

They may coordinate with a state-level investment pitch competition under the direction of Jacob Schpok, an Elevate Venture entrepreneur-in-residence who will lead Elevate Nexus.

“This will unlock the abundance of talent and ideas in Indiana,” Chris LaMothe, Elevate Ventures CEO, said in a statement.

“By creating a pitch competition of this magnitude, we hope to light up the public and private higher education system in our state to be catalysts in their communities for commercialization of innovation and entrepreneurship ideas.”

The program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, which is managed by Elevate Ventures and overseen by the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

“By partnering with Indiana’s world-class university system, the state is helping foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem that fuels innovative ideas and technologies,” Elaine Bedel, IEDC president, said in the statement.

“With the launch of Elevate Nexus, Indiana will build on regional efforts throughout the state to increase support and resources for entrepreneurs and high-growth startups, providing another outlet for communities to engage innovators and universities while driving economic growth.”

In addition to its technology transfer work with universities in the state, the 21 Fund works with innovation-driven public-private partnerships to promote Indiana’s economic growth.

Veteran reporter Doug LeDuc joined Business Weekly in 2006 and primarily covers banking and finance and technology. You can send information for his weekly column to dleduc@kpcmedia.com or call 260-426-2640, ext. 3309.

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