Florida Tech Formally Opens New Research Park
By Ed Pierce, Managing Editor // April 26, 2013
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ABOVE VIDEO: The FIT Research Park at Melbourne International Airport will be directed by former astronaut Capt. Winston Scott, who is Florida Tech’s Senior Vice President for External Relations and Economic Development. (Video by Ed Pierce)
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Friday was the dawn of a new era for the Florida Institute of Technology as the new FIT Research Park at Melbourne International Airport was formally opened on NASA Boulevard.
Dr. Anthony J. Catanese, FIT president, said creation of the research park is evidence that a university can work with industry and municipalities to find answers to complex problems and stimulate economic growth.
He said the new research park, located at the site of the old TRDA building in Melbourne and adjacent to the Melbourne International Airport, is a convergence engine for innovation, development and economic growth and a partnership with business and the community with Florida Institute of Technology.
At a special welcoming ceremony on Friday afternoon, Catanese celebrated the park’s creation and officially welcomed Florida Tech’s Center for Aeronautics and Innovation to the facility.
DIGNITARIES FROM GOVERNMENT & BUSINESS
A number of dignitaries from the university, business and government community sectors attended the event including Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan, Palm Bay Mayor William Capote, former U.S. Congressman from Brevard Dr. Dave Weldon and Brevard County Commissioner Trudie Infantini.
“This is going to be a major international enterprise and one of the great global centers for aeronautics,” Catanese said. “We at Florida Tech just don’t want to just be in this community, we want to be an important part of this area.”
Phillip Farmer, retired Chairman of the Board of Harris Corporation, told those attending the opening ceremony that he envisions the research park someday rivaling the top such facilities in the world.
“I was a student at Duke University in North Carolina when the research park called the Triangle was developed there,’ he said. Last year itb was reported that the Raleigh-Durham area where the park is now has the largest number if PhDs in the United States.”
He said this new research park is a long way from that, but a great place to start.
“Fifty years from now, maybe someone in this room today will be able to say ‘I was there when this was started,’” Farmer said.
The facility will be directed by former astronaut Capt. Winston Scott, who is Florida Tech’s Senior Vice President for External Relations and Economic Development.
Scott said the park, which was four years in the making, is intended to assist in the ongoing diversification of the economic base of Florida’s Space Coast and of the state of Florida as a whole, by encouraging the growth of research-based industry.
It also will lend itself for research interaction between Florida Institute of Technology and industry, enhance the reputation and visibility of the Florida Institute of Technology, the Melbourne/Palm Bay Florida metropolitan area, Florida’s Space Coast and the state of Florida, provide additional research and employment opportunities for Florida Institute of Technology, its faculty and students and the community and will enhance use of Melbourne International Airport.
“This is only the beginning and we hope to become a formidable research park,” Scott said.