MOBILE - The University of South Alabama Technology & Research Park today welcomed Radiance Technologies Inc. and Strand Associates Inc. -- TAI Division as new partners, increasing the diversity of academic-corporate partnerships that will strengthen the region’s economy and create new jobs.
The two rapidly expanding companies already have strong ties to the University, its faculty and students. The arrival of the new partners signals the complete occupancy of the first Technology & Research Park building, which now houses close to 200 high-technology professionals.
“At the USA Technology & Research Park, we are building partnerships between businesses and our faculty, students and graduates – all working together in a University environment to create, attract and retain high-technology jobs for Mobile and the region,” USA President Gordon Moulton said.
Leaders of both companies said the move to the Technology & Research Park strengthens their existing relationships with University researchers.
Radiance Technologies Inc., headquartered in Huntsville, applies emerging technologies to military and governmental needs. The company already has strong ties to USA’s College of Engineering. Armed with a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, they are testing fuel cells as an alternative source of electrical power.
Mark Thomas, who leads Radiance’s six-person Mobile division, said the Technology & Research Park location allows his company to add new employees while it deepens its relationship with University researchers.
“We as a company have an interest in helping USA grow as a research and development university,” Thomas said. “The move allows our team members to be located closely with the University team.”
The Strand Associates Inc. -- TAI Division is led by Dr. Don Blancher, a former USA faculty member.
Blancher founded the company in 1978 and merged with the Wisconsin-based Strand Associates in 2000. Throughout its history, TAI has offered its clients specialized services in water quality studies, including monitoring, toxicity testing, data management and statistical analysis.
Blancher has a strong interest in USA’s new Master’s program in Environmental Toxicology because of the firm’s long-time work in toxicity testing. TAI has donated laboratory equipment to the program and plans to hire graduate student workers to conduct some of the work requested by its clients.
Blancher’s ties to the University cross many departments, including geology, biology, marine sciences, computer sciences and medical genetics. The five-person company plans to expand.
“We draw our employees from the University team and a lot of University departments,” Blancher said. “We want to team with the departments to utilize some of the expertise at the University.”
The two latest partners in the Technology & Research Park join Accelerated Technology, a division of Mentor Graphics Corp. Accelerated Technology develops real-time software for use in complex embedded applications. The 180-person division moved into the high-technology building in November and plans to expand into additional office space in the building.
Accelerated Technology leaders said some 45 percent of their employees are USA graduates, and they expect this close collaboration to increase in their new location.
With the first building occupied, University leaders are now requesting proposals from private developers to begin the second building in the Park. Construction on the 30,000-square-foot building could start as early as this summer. Already, companies have expressed interest in about one-third of the space.
About the USA Technology & Research Park
The USA Technology & Research Park, launched in April 2002, is a major economic development initiative of the University of South Alabama. The park brings University resources and the technology business community together in a single location that expands educational opportunities for students, provides new research relationships for faculty and offers new growth prospects for businesses focusing on information technology, engineering and biomedicine. The park is a focal point of high-technology economic growth for Mobile and the Upper Gulf Coast. It was developed with the assistance and support of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, which awarded the University its “Innovation Award” in recognition of the park’s creation.
About the University of South Alabama
The University of South Alabama is a major center of high quality and accessible undergraduate, graduate and professional education for metropolitan Mobile, the state of Alabama, the Gulf Coast region and the southeastern United States. Founded in 1963, USA is one of the state’s fastest growing universities, currently enrolling more than 13,000 students in its 10 schools and colleges. USA employs 5,800 people, giving it the largest dollar-value payroll in Mobile County. The USA Health System annually serves 250,000 people in its hospitals and clinics. USA’s many research, teaching and service activities provide a $1 billion annual economic impact on the region and state as it pursues its academic mission.