ERDCWERX is latest innovation at ERDC
Published 7:38 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2018
New things are constantly happening at U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center, but ERDC director David Pittman told those gathered at the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting Wednesday there are some exciting things in the works.
Pittman highlighted ERDC will be celebrating 90 years in Vicksburg in 2019.
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“And we plan to be here for another 190 years,” Pittman said.
He also pointed out that ERDC is not only the largest employer in Warren County, but also the 22nd largest employer in Mississippi.
“And we’re hiring like crazy because people like me are retiring,” said the 57-year-old who began his career at ERDC in 1983. “We’ve hired more than 800 people in the last five years.”
He said one of the ideas being tossed around at ERDC is to do with the old headquarters building on Halls Ferry Road that was built in 1961 before being replaced by the new headquarters.
According to Pittman, it’s been discussed to turn the building into a visitors center for ERDC, as well as a multi-purpose area and a collaboration/innovation space.
Another exciting project is a new partnership ERDC has entered into with DEFENSEWERX, a non-profit 501c3, to establish an innovation hub called ERDCWERX in Vicksburg.
Josh Quenga, the new director of ERDCWERX, went into great detail about how the partnership will be a benefit to Warren County and Vicksburg in attracting new industry and creating partnerships with existing industry.
“This partnership will extend the reach of ERDC into the community,” Quenga said. “As the partnership intermediary, the ERDCWERX mission is to cultivate a vibrant ecosystem, shaping successful alliances to innovate and commercialize technologies that support the warfighter.”
Pittman said ERDCWERX will be a catalyst for economic development in the area.
“The whole point is to attract industry,” Pittman said.
ERDCWERX, which will relocate possibly in the Hardware Building once it is completed, will increase small business participation and effectively facilitate novel innovation, collaboration and workforce development principals and tools.
“ERDC is committed to strengthening a culture of innovation,” Pittman said. “As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ world-class research and development organization, we are extending our reach through government, industry and academic collaborations to solve the toughest challenges facing our military and our nation today and into the future.”