I saw a link to this Florida newspaper article pop up in a professional journal that I receive at work, and was shocked to see who the newest tenant to this research park is!
ERAU’s research park MicaPlex close to capacity
By T. S. Jarmusz email@example.com
Jun 24, 2018 at 4:06 PM
Jun 24, 2018 at 6:10 PM
Though it opened just over a year ago, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s research park is nearly full.
With forecasting company WeatherFlow Inc. joining the John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex (MicaPlex) this month, the park has only two spaces for tenants left. The rapid pace of development at the MicaPlex, which serves as a business and technology incubator, was both surprising and good news for the university.
Citing a strong economy and access to top-notch university talent, ERAU senior vice president for administration and planning Rodney Cruise said the MicaPlex, which officially opened in March 2017, was performing better than expected and that it had exceeded the university’s expectations. Cruise cautioned that finding businesses that are the right fit was more important than the speed at which it was filled.
“We are excited about the diversity of companies we are attracting — each is adding value in a unique way,” Cruise said. “The vision our board of trustees crafted 10 years ago is coming to life, and we are pleased with the progress.”
The MicaPlex has more than 10,000 square feet of flexible lease space. Though the building is close to capacity, the surrounding research park has room for more than 700,000 square feet of lease space, so there’s plenty of room to grow, Cruise said.
ERAU is researching the best way to further develop the park, he said.
WeatherFlow is a Florida-based weather modeling and forecasting company. The company employs meteorologists, computer hardware and software engineers, data scientists and field technicians — all of which mean more money into Volusia County’s economy.
“As part of their commitment to coming to the MicaPlex, WeatherFlow is creating additional high-paying jobs in our community,” Cruise said. “As the relationship grows, additional research projects and opportunities for students will develop.”
The Florida-based company provides weather measure products, forecast data and applications, and offers consulting and wind energy solutions. The company has been in business more than 20 years and its clients include the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency, the Navy and Coast Guard, among others, a press release says.
WeatherFlow’s addition further diversifies the quality and level of expertise within the research park, ERAU President Barry Butler in a statement.
"It complements who we are as a university and is in line with our core commitment to provide innovative and high-tech solutions to real-world issues,” Butler said.
The company’s most recent venture included designing smart weather stations for weather enthusiasts. The smart stations work with smart home platforms and use machine-learning techniques to improve the quality of measurements.
“We are beyond excited to relocate our main technical development offices to the Embry-Riddle Research Park," WeatherFlow chief information officer David St. John in the release. "With direct access to cutting-edge R&D test facilities and co-location with other on-site, start-up tech companies, our employees and company will flourish like never before.”
About the partners
It takes many different hands to run a successful research and business incubator, and the companies that occupy the MicaPlex serve in many in different roles.
The backbone of the complex is filled with tenant partners like WeatherFlow. Tenants are technology-focused companies that rent space at the MicaPlex and in turn benefit from the resources and facilities that ERAU provides them, Cruise said.
Resident partners are on-site, established companies that provide services to tenant partners while also utilizing the resources of the research park and the university, he said. Examples include the law firm Cobb Cole and the accounting firm James Moore & Co.
Incubator companies are start-up or early-stage companies that are still in the research and development phase. One example is Embedded Control Designs, a start-up founded by ERAU grads that works with drone swarm technology. Incubator companies can reside at the MicaPlex or virtually through an online office, he said.
Nexus partners provide financial support of programming at the park, such as the CEO Business Alliance. In turn, nexus partners “gain first-hand access to emerging technologies and companies,” Cruise said.
Currently, the park has two open spaces only for tenant partners. It also is seeking five additional nexus partners.