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New Uplands Foundation to support WestGate growth

WestGate@Crane Technology Park (photo courtesy of Regional Opportunity Initiatives)

ODON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – A new foundation has been created to lead the physical development of the WestGate@Crane Technology Park in Odon. The Uplands Science and Technology Foundation aims to grow the park’s capabilities in areas such as microelectronics, artificial intelligence, and hypersonics.

The nonprofit research foundation was established last year following the completion of a WestGate master plan. Joe Carley, who currently serves as Indiana University’s director for economic development and director for strategic partnerships at the IU Center for Rural Engagement, will serve as the USTF’s interim chief executive officer.

“I’m honored to serve the Uplands region in this role and to build on the work of the many partners who have helped make WestGate Technology Park a unique asset for our state,” said Carley. “Throughout the process of creating USTF, we’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best minds in the country on building innovation communities, and I believe that we have a roadmap for WestGate that has the potential to be transformative for the region and the state.”

Bloomington-based Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. says the USTF will provide leadership for the park’s physical development, marketing and attraction functions, and innovation and engagement activities.

ROI Chief Executive Officer Tina Peterson will serve as the chair of the foundation’s board of directors. Greg Deason, senior vice president of alliances and placemaking at Purdue Research Foundation, and John Mensch, president of the WestGate Authority, will serve on the USTF board along with other economic development, university, and defense leaders.

“Never has the potential of WestGate been more relevant and significant than at this moment,” Peterson said. “With defense sector growth in the Uplands 68 times greater than that seen across the nation, the Indiana Uplands has an important role to play in ensuring we have both the ecosystem and the assets necessary for technological innovation to thrive for the benefit of our state and our nation. WestGate is positioned to become one of our country’s most influential research destinations, and the USTF will be instrumental in catalyzing innovative activities at WestGate.”

WestGate is located outside of Naval Support Activity Crane, the third largest Naval installation in the world. More than 50 organizations are located within the park.