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    ENC Tech Bridge hosts NavalX director at FRCE

    ENC Tech Bridge hosts NavalX director at FRCE

    Photo By Heather Wilburn | NavalX Director Capt. Casey Plew, center, discusses the use of additive manufacturing...... read more read more



    Story by Heather Wilburn 

    Fleet Readiness Center East

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – Innovation, connection and speeding solutions to the warfighter were on the agenda as the Eastern North Carolina (ENC) Tech Bridge at Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) hosted a site visit by the Naval X Director May 16.

    Capt. Casey Plew leads NavalX in its administration of the Navy’s 18 Tech Bridges. The visit, his first to the ENC Tech Bridge, provided Plew and other guests the opportunity to learn more about the ENC Tech Bridge’s local initiatives and tour FRCE facilities to see firsthand how emerging technologies can make military maintenance, repair and overhaul operations more effective and efficient.

    "NavalX Tech Bridges across the country are the key to connecting the Navy and Marine Corps to strategic partners throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world," Plew said. "I was eager to learn more about the work the ENC Tech Bridge is doing locally to define naval problems and identify the right technology prototypes for intentional, innovative product development, integration and delivery.”

    Stops on the tour included a look at programs testing radio frequency identification tags for tracking small assets like tools, and autonomous parts-handling forklifts and electric to move items without needing a driver. Participants also had the opportunity to explore the Innovation Lab, a state-of-the-art additive manufacturing laboratory created and maintained by the Fleet Support Team’s Advanced Technology and Innovation Team at FRCE, and the FABLAB, a mobile makerspace that supports STEM outreach at schools and youth events in the eastern North Carolina region.

    ENC Tech Bridge Director Jamaine Clemmons said these tour highlights reflect key concepts that relate to both the Tech Bridge’s mission and the future success of FRCE.

    “Providing an inside look on how small businesses and an innovative environment and makerspace are leveraged to help solve challenging issues, and how STEM outreach events will help develop the future innovators of tomorrow, are extremely important for the Tech Bridge ecosystem to understand as it is key to the future of FRC East,” Clemmons said. “My goal as the ENC Tech Bridge director is to identify and source problems and then, most importantly, identify opportunities and partnerships that can lead to the development, maturation and ultimate transition of technologies that will make a difference.”

    The ENC Tech Bridge works to bridge the gap between the Navy and nontraditional partners like small businesses, academia and nonprofits by build an ecosystem of innovation that support the Navy and Marine Corps. Local Tech Bridge efforts focus on several areas of consideration, including manufacturing and repair technologies; advanced manufacturing; big data, data analytics and visualization; technical insertion; augmented and mixed reality; automation and robotics; and soft and wicked problem solving. The ENC Tech Bridge operates in conjunction with a partnership between Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) and Craven County, and the continued commitment from all involved will help drive positive results, Clemmons said.

    “As we continue to mature and develop our ecosystem, it is imperative that we have strong collaborations and partnerships,” he added. “The relationship thus far between the ENC Tech Bridge, FRC East and Craven County has been great!”

    As part of the NavalX network, 18 Tech Bridges aim to make connections between the Navy and emerging entities like startups, small businesses, academia, nonprofits and private capital that aren’t traditionally part of the Navy’s development and acquisition process. The Tech Bridge framework allows the Navy to collaborate with nontraditional partners and accelerate the innovation timeline in ways that traditional acquisition methods do not. This structure eases the collaboration process and allows the Navy to leverage the speed and efficiency improvements these nontraditional partners have experienced in recent years, ultimately putting assets in the hands of the nation’s warfighters significantly faster, at a more economical rate.

    “The partnerships the ENC Tech Bridge is forging with small businesses that own leading-edge technologies is absolutely essential to achieving our goal of giving Marines and Sailors every advantage possible,” Plew explained. “It is incredible to see what can happen when the Navy and Marine Corps teams partner with local and regional economic development organizations, small and non-traditional businesses, and likeminded venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. The ENC Tech Bridge has established itself as a lead driver growing the development of technologies in the ENC region. It's really exciting.”

    FRCE is North Carolina's largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,000 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $1 billion. The depot provides service to the fleet while functioning as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.



    Date Taken: 05.25.2023
    Date Posted: 05.25.2023 11:19
    Story ID: 445541
    Location: CHERRY POINT, NC, US 

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