Tag: Blog

New Crane Army Ammunition Activity initiative aims to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

You’ve seen Crane Army Ammunition Activity proudly share its modernization efforts as it prepares to open two new state-of-the-art facilities, and upgrade the way that it keeps the Crane Army family safe on the installation. However, these initiatives are only a part of creating an optimal work environment for its employees. 

Crane Army has also been considering another critical question: How do leaders ensure that the workforce reflects and is prepared for the modernizing landscape of talent management? 

The United States Army’s recent initiative, Project Inclusion, is helping to identify answers. The initiative aims to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across the force and build cohesive teams. Through this effort, Army leaders have listened to soldiers, Army civilians and family members to identify practices that inadvertently discriminate. 

The Army is pursuing an approach that maximizes every Soldier’s and Civilian’s potential through data-driven talent management approaches and initiatives, such as Project Inclusion, which will help cultivate a culture that infuses diversity across the leadership, provides individuals with promotion opportunities and maximizes the talents of everyone at every level.

While hosted at NSA Crane, southern Indiana’s military base, Crane Army produces and provides essential munitions for American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Crane Army’s  leaders have been holding a series of listening sessions with supervisors to learn how they can improve talent management. 

Over the recent weeks, supervisors have gathered to speak about recruiting, hiring, training, and retention with the ultimate goal of refining the ways that it hires the right people into the right positions. Workforce planning requires effective communication, and the belief that these listening sessions can be a springboard for many new candidates to start a career at Crane Army.

President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget anticipates an increase of more than 50,000 full-time-equivalent employees to the federal payrolls next year. This increase is part of concerted efforts to attract young and expert workers to federal service. 

Most of this budget’s push for increasing the labor force across the government is likely to come from programs that target recent graduates and highly-skilled workers in areas like information technology (IT) and cybersecurity. Almost 30 percent of federal employees are older than 55, and 8.1 percent of employees are younger than 30, according to the budget proposal’s analytical perspectives. 

Radius recognizes the value of a workforce with diverse ages, backgrounds, and races. Bringing in new talent to our bases, especially citizens with expertise in rapidly developing fields like IT and cybersecurity, is an essential part of creating the best workforce to serve our warfighters and protect our country. 

 

Indiana Defense Task Force combats potential losses of military assets

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

Indiana’s well-established military presence includes commands at Naval Support Activity Crane, the Grissom Air Reserve Base, and a distinguished state national guard with six critical assets. These commands support 14,000 soldiers and airmen, who are located in 52 counties across the state. The Base Realignment & Closure (BRAC) process was implemented in 1988, and the Department of Defense (DoD) repeatedly reduced its investment in Indiana’s military assets as part of that process. 

The Pentagon dollars that increased over the last four years could soon be harder to obtain. Many politicians are calling for a return of fiscal conservatism, and the Treasury will feel the full impact of COVID-19, both the stimulus and its cuts to paychecks and income taxes soon. 

In light of cuts to the Pentagon, potentially 10 percent or more in future years, defense communities should plan for various scenarios. Impacts from a defense budget reduction could include: 

  • Any military program not in existence prior to the previous administration will be subject to close review and re-justification. The number of aircraft to be purchased will be reduced, lot buys pushed out, recapitalization delayed, satellite constellations deferred, and ship keel-laying slowed because of budgetary pressure and/or shifts in defense prioritization. 
  • State-of-the-art technology pursuits like hypersonic weapons, autonomous combat vehicles, and artificial intelligence will be hampered. Legacy programs will be retired, while new acquisitions with lesser effect on service requirements will be canceled. 
  • When the Pentagon sees these types of budget cuts, military leaders typically ask for another round of the BRAC, a nonpartisan process that shutters military bases and consolidates missions to save money and increase military value. The last time the Pentagon closed bases was 2005, and other states came out as winners. 

The state must make a significant effort to avoid additional significant losses of our military assets. In 2019, the Indiana State Legislature established the Indiana Defense Task Force to accomplish the following tasks for Indiana’s military bases: 

  • Identify the public infrastructure and other community support necessary to improve mission efficiencies and for development and expansion; 
  • Identify existing and potential impacts of encroachment; 
  • Identify potential state and local government actions that can minimize the impacts of encroachment and enhance the long-term potential; and
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration among the state, including the military department of the state, political subdivisions, military contractors; and academic institutions to maintain and expand the missions. 

This move by our legislatures recognized changes that could occur in the future defense landscape. We applaud the Indiana State legislature for recognizing that the coalition that fights for Indiana’s military assets must grow, and grow stronger. 

Washington, Indiana Sites Receive Certifications

Two prime business development sites in Washington, Indiana, have received Gold and Silver Site Certifications, making two additional southern Indiana locations to take advantage of a new certification program through Radius Indiana’s partnership with Verisite.

Verisite is the result of the collaboration between Ginovus, Plaka + Associates, and the Veridus Group that brings considerable industry experience in economic development, site selection, and engineering. 

The Verisite Silver Certification gives companies and site selectors the assurance the site is ready for expedited development and that all needed documentation and data has been compiled and verified, which results in cost savings and speed to market for a new business.

Located at the intersection of Interstate 69 and Highway 50 in Washington, the 47-acre and 183-acre greenfield sites offer prime locations for future industrial or commercial development. Both sites benefit from the condition and accessibility of existing infrastructure within close proximity, established local development ordinances, and aggressive local, regional, and state-level incentives. 

The locations have access to critical utility infrastructure needed to establish state of the art facilities, as evidenced by M&C Tech establishing their first manufacturing operations in the community and most recently True Rx Management Services.

Radius Indiana, the regional economic development organization, is actively recruiting veterans to the region through a digital marketing campaign designed to help bring additional talent to meet local employers’ needs. In addition, Radius is launching two new workforce training programs: “Catapult” and “Build Your Own,” which focus on the upskilling of workers to meet the needs of manufacturing and construction trades. 

Another regional organization, Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI,) is actively administering a program called Ready Schools that leads to the creation of student-run manufacturing businesses as training grounds. In addition, ROI has programming for STEM Fellows, digital fabrication labs, out-of-school STEM learning, graduation and career coaches, career pathways, educator boot camp, and work-based learning.

Washington actively partners with both organizations to better connect growing talent to the region’s career opportunities to include advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and defense.

The Verisite program creates opportunities for excellent locations, like Washington,  to become a preferred location for industrial growth and innovation. The comprehensive site certification process compensates for industry gaps, such as brownfields and existing buildings. The proprietary program creates a narrative around in-depth market research and analyzes human capital components in order to provide decision-makers with reliable data. 

The tenured firms involved in Verisite designed and built the proprietary process for site certification to finally establish universal definitions and designations for site certification. This offers a modern, trustworthy standard for property owners, developers, and communities that utilizes a consistent and standardized set of criteria to determine all aspects of a site’s readiness for development.

“We commend Daviess County and the region for being proactive in their site development efforts. Communities that understand speed to market and the importance of mitigating risk, are well-positioned to win site selection projects”, said Leslie Wagner, Senior Principal, Ginovus.

For more information on the certified sites in Washington, Indiana, contact Radius Indiana at j.quyle@radiusindiana.com or 812-277-9778. 

 

 

NSWC Crane names first-ever female technical director

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

Dr. Angie Lewis has been named the new technical director for Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane), becoming the first woman to be selected for the position. 

Lewis will act as the senior civilian at NSWC Crane, working with her team to ensure a mission-ready environment for the command’s operations. NSWC Crane has more than 3,800 military and civilian employees, providing the Navy with acquisition engineering, in-service engineering, and technical support for sensors, electronics, electronic warfare, and special warfare weapons.

Lewis began her career at NSWC Crane in 1990, and previously served as the Center’s Business Director. Prior to that position, she was the command’s first female Chief of Staff. In 2015, she won a Torchbearer Award from the Indiana Commission for Women, which is presented to women who have stepped forward as leaders by breaking down barriers and overcoming obstacles.  

Lewis sets an example for young women who want to seek careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) industries. According to a 2018 study by the National Science Foundation, women remain underrepresented in STEM-related fields. Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but account for only 28 percent of the science and engineering workforce. In this prestigious position, Lewis will continue to serve as representation for women, and inspire more women to get involved in traditionally male-dominated fields. 

NSWC Crane is an advocate for STEM programs in the surrounding communities, and launched its own STEM program in 2010, which is supported by more than 100 NSWC Crane employee volunteers. The STEM Program provides hands-on learning opportunities to students grades K-12 through STEM education programming and events throughout the Indiana Uplands region. 

This program includes summer STEM camps, and after-school programming and field trips to WestGate Academy. NSWC Crane employee volunteers participate in sponsored-school partnerships, mentor students in classrooms, and support science fairs, a STEM club, and VEX and First Robotics competitions for students. In April 2020, the program responded to community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking its program virtual to continue to provide educational opportunities for students.

Radius Indiana recognizes the importance of building the workforce pipeline for jobs in the region, and having a strong, diverse talent pool ready for hire. Our region is in a unique position to directly benefit from having a naval base in our backyard. Dr. Angie Lewis sets a tremendous example for women to enter the STEM field and help build our region’s workforce.

Radius applauds NSWC Crane for its STEM activities and the opportunities they continue to provide to the region, and congratulates Dr. Angie Lewis on her new position. We look forward to working with you and seeing an increase of women in STEM careers because of your inspiration.

Change in Command Brings Excitement for Crane’s Future

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

In July of this year, NSA Crane and NSWC Crane welcomed two new commanding officers to lead the southern Indiana installation. 

Commander James L. Smith, commanding officer of NSA Crane, is a 2002 graduate of the United States Naval Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering. Captain Thomas (Duncan) McKay, commanding officer of NSWC Crane, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Florida State University in 1996, and later earned a Naval Engineer’s Degree and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. Both present impressive resumes and hold a number of personal achievements and various awards.

Like the leaders before them, Smith and McKay will be balancing the responsibilities of learning from the organization’s past and executing plans for its future. While they are adjusting to the new role, both commanders are also tasked with gaining the trust and support of those around them. The leadership teams, stakeholders and communities involved with Crane will also be adapting to the new leadership styles and expectations. 

While both bring a great deal of experience to their respective roles, we are currently living in unprecedented times. Stepping into leadership during a pandemic poses a number of challenges including navigating remote work and changes in logistics and daily operations. We wish them the best as they use new leadership styles to overcome these obstacles moving forward. 

Both Smith and McKay have expressed their appreciation for the community’s support of Crane and its missions, as well as their commitment to sustain the strategic value of Crane while growing the economic prosperity of the region and state of Indiana. This includes maintaining a close relationship with the White River Military Coordination Alliance to continue building strong communication channels, and promoting development within the surrounding areas.

Last year, Crane anticipated increasing the size their workforce in the coming years. Recently, Crane released the date for the 2020 Crane Career Fair, taking place virtually from 2-6pm on Thursday, October 22. Today, Team Crane’s civilian and contractor workforce stands 5,500 strong, the largest in three decades. With over 900 employees becoming eligible for retirement in the next five years, employment opportunities are expected to become available. Our region needs to ensure there is a workforce available to meet the growth needs and replace those retiring in the coming years. 

NSA Crane Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support, Radius Indiana

Naval Support Activity Crane has responded to local and national COVID-19-related needs in unprecedented ways by joining efforts to fight the virus, boost the economy, and assist community members in need. Radius Indiana is proud of NSA Crane’s efforts to support the needs of COVID-19 in our region.

The work at NSA Crane remains imperative for supporting service members around the globe, and mission-critical activities are continuing so that the base can continue to help maintain military readiness. The following efforts are just some of the ways the base is working to maintain operations and support our region.

 

Keeping employees safe while preserving national security

NSA Crane employs thousands of Hoosiers, and due to the nature of their jobs, many employees are teleworking, and many are still required to come in to work at the installation. In order to protect these essential workers, officials at NSA Crane have taken a number of precautions. Many employees are now working staggered shifts, all individuals are required to wear face coverings, and if any employees test positive for the virus, they will be placed on a type of administrative leave that won’t negatively affect their employment. 

 

Supporting the Red Cross during a severe, statewide blood shortage

Team Crane completed a successful blood drive in March, with employees providing 232 units of blood while maintaining social distancing procedures. Crane employees who are teleworking commuted onsite just to donate blood during the drive. Public health concerns have caused many blood drives at schools and local businesses to close, making the donations from Crane employees critical to helping save patient lives across the county. 

 

Continuing to provide STEM programming to local students

The NSWC Crane Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Program has responded to community needs by putting their programming in a virtual format to continue to provide educational opportunities for students. The program usually provides hands-on learning opportunities through in-person field trips and events, but adapted the program so students can learn problem-solving skills remotely, without access to the lab. 

 

Offering patent licenses to encourage new technologies

Officials at NSWC Crane are offering the laboratory’s patent portfolio of technologies at a reduced cost to lessen the severity of the new coronavirus outbreak and shorten economic recovery. The Technology Transfer Office at NSWC Crane is authorized to negotiate royalty-free patent license agreements with businesses that would use any of its 300+ patented technologies. The lab’s leaders hope that businesses and entrepreneurs will use these technologies to protect American lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and support new jobs and economic growth. 

 

Building capacity at facilities in need

Navy Lt. Miranda L. Bassett, a construction manager for the NSA Crane Public Works Department, deployed to Chicago to help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers convert spaces into alternate care facilities to provide additional capacity for possible COVID-19 surges, alleviating the strain on area hospitals. Bassett is among a select group of engineers, health care workers and emergency responders going into hot zones to help. 

 

Producing critical materials to support supply chains

Several of the Army’s depots, arsenals and ammunition plants, including Crane Army Ammunition Activity, are assisting in the response to COVID-19. Crane Army is repurposing raw materials to produce and distribute hand sanitizer. Within days, they designed and assembled a sanitizer manufacturing line drawing on their expertise in munitions production. The line has proven successful and is ready for full-rate production, allowing Crane Army to help protect workers while also supporting an overburdened supply system to get a critical product into the hands of the professionals that need it.

Economic Development is More Important Than Ever

Column from the Indiana Economic Development Association

Indiana launched into 2020 with the unemployment rate in many communities hovering at near-record‐
level lows of 2 – 3%. A major concern in many communities was the lack of workers to fill current jobs.
In response, economic developers shifted from attracting businesses to attracting workers.

It is impossible to calculate how drastic the change has been in four short months. Economists project
that unemployment rates will hit double‐digit levels, perhaps approaching rates not seen since the Great
Depression. Over 26M American jobs have been lost effectively canceling all job gains since the Great
Recession. Local stakeholders fear that much of the progress they have made in the last few years to
grow local business, enhance downtown development, and increase the tax base will be threatened as
revenues from various taxing sources will see shortfalls.

In flush times and lean, the practice of economic development is focused on attracting, expanding, and
retaining investment in communities. Prior to the coronavirus crisis, economic developers were
diversifying their services by working with local businesses to help fill open jobs with qualified workers,
collaborating with chambers of commerce and tourism bureaus to promote community assets to attract
new residents and workers to their communities, and working to support local entrepreneurs in starting
and growing their businesses. The evolution of economic development extended to downtown
development because vibrant downtowns are key to attracting and retaining talent.

Fostering single‐family and multi‐family housing stock became a priority for talent attraction. This effort
to develop workforce housing led to community‐wide collaborations between economic developers,
elected officials, and housing developers, who came together to solve unique housing challenges in
communities across the state. Many economic developers have focused on expanding childcare
solutions, as well: high quality and affordable childcare contribute to our quality of life and workforce
engagement.

The work of economic developers is constantly evolving because they are reacting to the unique needs
of their communities. What works in one region or county may not work in another, so our connections
across the state allow for sharing best practices and the ability to bring new ideas back to our
communities that are tailored to local and regional needs.

As we emerge from the current crisis, communities will be faced with many displaced workers and
closed or struggling businesses. Local economic development organizations will be the natural leaders
helping our state recover because they know the local businesses, understand their workforce needs,
and are experts in attracting and retaining tax base: all critical activities in helping communities claw
back from the coronavirus crisis.

At last count at least 21 Indiana‐based economic development organizations have played a role in the
creation of local disaster relief loan or grant programs to help local small businesses survive during the
stay‐at‐home order. This is another example of their understanding of local business needs and their
ability to adjust their priorities to respond to the needs of their communities.

In the last few years, economic developers have become more focused on supporting entrepreneurship,
encouraging the creation and growth of home‐grown businesses, exactly the kind of support and
expertise that will be needed to revitalize our downtowns post‐coronavirus crisis.

Economic development professionals have developed national networks of business contacts that they
work with when companies want to expand or relocate. These networks can help bring suppliers to a
community to support existing companies. While supporting our existing businesses will be the first
priority, the attraction of new companies to the state will be an area of focus as we move to fully
recover lost jobs and tax base.

As we look toward the future of Indiana, we should all find comfort in knowing that economic
developers are on the front lines and are ready to evolve again to move their communities out of crisis
and into recovery.

Lee Lewellen
President/CEO
Indiana Economic Development Association

“Pitch-In” Defines our Regional Collaboration and Communities

From: Jeff Quyle, Radius Indiana President & CEO

Did you know that the Dictionary of American Regional English says that southern Indiana has the best pitch-in dinners of any part of the country east of the Rocky Mountains?

Now, in truth, the dictionary brags on our region only in a round-about way. The book actually says that most of the country used the phrase ‘potluck’ to describe a meal where various folks come together with all or most of them bringing some food they intend to share. But Southern Indiana (and parts of Montana) call these meals ‘pitch-ins’. So when you look for the best pitch-ins in the eastern US, you have to look in Southern Indiana.

I think using the phrase pitch-in instead of potluck really reveals something about the character of our southern Indiana culture and communities. To ‘pitch-in’ implies that a person is thoughtfully making an effort to bring something of value, to add their own efforts. In contrast, ‘pot-luck’ sounds like a person is just bringing any old thing that happens to be available — ‘pot-luck’ is more of a take-it-or-leave-it mentality.

Here in southern Indiana, people do have a pitch-in mentality. Whole communities of residents are interested in supporting each other in thoughtful ways. Especially this Spring, as we’re learning the meaning of pandemic and social distancing, Hoosiers in the Radius region and other parts of southern Indiana are pitching-in to support and help one another. The collective heart of the culture here is not about giving potluck; it’s about making an effort to offer value.

In the economic development field, communities and their leaders in the Radius region have also shown a tendency to want to pitch-in to support economic development. Our community leaders recognize that a successful economic development efforts doesn’t rely on just one person or one office carrying the load. We know that success in economic development means that elected officials, property owners, infrastructure providers, educators, and others must work together.

There are many successful examples of communities putting together teams of leaders who each pitch-in their expertise and abilities to help the businesses in the region. That means helping existing businesses as well as working to recruit and settle new businesses. While a city or town may install the sewer line, a utility will provide the broadband, while an accountant will help set up needed account systems, a banker will establish lines of credit, and the local school system will enroll student interns. It’s not potluck – it’s an intentional pitch-in.

Radius is supporting the southern Indiana pitch-in culture by helping our local leaders learn more about what role they can offer. We now hold an annual leadership training program that gives direction, information, and model solutions to community leaders so that they understand what their community needs to succeed in economic development.

When we hold our fourth economic development training program later this year, we will surpass one hundred attendees. That will be one hundred leaders in southern Indiana who will be a little better prepared to practice the southern Indiana tradition of pitching-in.

Keeping Watch at Crane

By: Matt Craig, Radius Indiana Director of Crane Community Support

 

Every year the counties and cities around Naval Support Activity Crane expend some energy to assuage concerns that it will someday fall to the ax of military cutbacks. Some ask, “is it necessary?” 

Without doubt or hint of hesitation, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Crane’s economic impact to our region is over $2.1B annually with a civilian and contractor payroll topping more than $400 million. 

Local leaders constantly monitor base realignment and closure, or BRAC, the process by which the federal government prunes defense spending or rearranges its assets to meet changing military needs. Unease due to BRAC has come a handful of times, including in the 1980s and 90s and in 2005, when the base lost over 350 jobs. 

For now, though, it appears there’s little political expectation of a BRAC and there has been a wealth of change at Crane since 2005. But local leaders often speak about BRAC the same way officials might talk about a big flood or other natural disaster. It’s hard to say when it will happen, and so it demands permanent, guarded attention.

That’s why it’s important for the community leaders to strengthen the ties between the base and region—to focus on the connections that have united us since 1941. In recent years, community leaders have heard mostly good news. 

Recently, local, state and military leaders created the White River Military Coordination Alliance to enhance communication between Crane and the community and to implement practical policies, programs, and projects geared at sustaining and enhancing the installation and the quality of life in the neighboring communities.

Last year, NSA Crane announced projections to hire 850 new employees above attrition during the next three years, ranging from highly-skilled to blue-collar positions. This builds on the over 400 new jobs already announced in the last quarter of 2018, with new employees coming to both of Crane’s largest tenants, Crane Army Ammunition Activity and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.

Under Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s leadership and the Next Level agenda, Indiana is advancing a more collaborative, strategic approach to growing and enhancing its defense industry. Indiana is strengthening its efforts to target industry growth and job creation, and collaborating with industry, government and academic partners to increase the state’s competitiveness in the defense sector. The Legislature also exempted military retirement benefits from income tax with support from not only state lawmakers but from city and county leadership and the business community.

The Office of Navy Research, Development, and Acquisition named Crane as one of only five national “Naval X Tech Bridges.” As the Midwest bridge, it will work to better connect the Department of Defense with the private sector. Crane will collaborate with innovators, academics, small businesses to bring solutions more quickly to national security problems. 

Crane and the region have a strong connection, one that has been strengthened in recent years. Now we must work to keep it that way.

 

Crane’s Evolution Strengthens Region

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

Photographs from Naval Support Activity Crane’s early years contain some familiar images that we can still see today at the installation—from the original command office at Building One to vast acres dotted with munitions storage—there is much that could transport us back in time. But time, and Crane, have marched on at a blistering pace.

Over the years, Crane has continued to evolve to fulfill rapidly-changing mission requirements and is home to the only federal research laboratory in Indiana. It has also become a vital part of the our regional economy and plays an important role as valued community partner. Crane’s evolution from its original designation as an ammunitions depot to now a prime location for new missions and programs is evident from several recent headlines. 

Last month, Crane announced projections to hire 850 new employees above attrition during the next three years, ranging from highly-skilled to blue-collar positions. This builds on the over 400 new jobs already announced in the last quarter of 2018, with new employees coming to both of Crane’s largest tenants, Crane Army Ammunition Activity and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.

Crane was also chosen as the location for a new Underwater Launch Test Facility to support the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s strategic mission and a recently completed a new flexible manufacturing facility for Crane Army, which is a multi-million dollar investment to upgrade existing workplaces and increase efficiency in advanced manufacturing.

Last week, the Office of Navy Research, Development, and Acquisition named Crane as one of only five national “Naval X Tech Bridges.” As the Midwest bridge, it will work to better connect the Department of Defense with the private sector. Crane will collaborate with innovators, academics, small businesses to bring solutions more quickly to national security problems. The Tech Bridge, which will operate from Bloomington and WestGate@Crane Technology Park, also gives organizations a chance to seek financial backing through grants and other forms of funding.

From monumental developments in technology and new facilities to an adaptive workforce that is among the best and brightest in the industry, Crane’s capability to grow and change keeps it as relevant today as it was at its commissioning in 1941. It is certain that Crane’s ongoing evolution will continue to make an impact on our region and bring new opportunities for growth.