Tag: Blog

Team Crane shares strategic plans and goals with community partners

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

 

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane delivered its annual State of the Installation address at the White River Military Coordination Alliance’s quarterly meeting and Crane Regional Defense Group’s Key Leader Series forum this past month. NSA Commander, Commander James Smith briefed the groups on successes over the past year, ongoing initiatives and workforce needs, and upcoming projects including a future base master plan.

Leaders from NSA Crane have delivered this address to the Alliance since its inauguration in 2018, and this was the first time Team Crane presented this information to an unrestricted audience during the CRDG Key Leader Series. The Alliance, which includes state and local government officials, regional and local economic development officials, and Crane representatives, was formed to strengthen the relationship between NSA Crane and the surrounding communities and is the parent organization to CRDG.

The annual State of the Installation address provides an opportunity for Team Crane to share its strategic goals and any operational changes or proposed construction projects that may impact the Alliance membership. 

Cmdr. Smith delivered his third address, noting the following key updates and opportunities for community collaboration:

  • Future mission growth and planning: NSA Crane will update its Installation Development Plan (Master Plan) in 2023, and Crane Army Ammunition Activity and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane are also participating in strategic planning processes for modernization, mission growth, and future base design, respectively.
  • Improvements and infrastructure: More than $150 million in construction projects and infrastructure improvements are currently underway on the installation. 
  • Recruitment and job trends: Through increased involvement at career fairs both virtually and in-person, social media postings, direct hiring authorities and engagement with direct commands, installation employment is expected to grow 3 to 5 percent over the next five years. NSWC Crane has hired over 950 individuals over the last three years, which represents the largest number seen since the 1980s.
  • Opportunities for educational collaboration: Team Crane identified opportunities to continue to explore educational partnerships with state institutions that will build a strong talent pipeline to fill jobs, including Indiana University, Purdue University, Ivy Tech Community College, and Vincennes University.

As one of the largest employers in Southern Indiana, Crane plays an important role in the economies of our communities. Continued collaboration is key to building a strong relationship between community leaders and the public with those working inside the gates at Crane to make the most of opportunities that benefit our region.

 

IEDC visits our Region for talent attraction update

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

 

Talent attraction and workforce development are two of the most important aspects of economic development. Talent attraction focuses on recruitment from the talent pipeline outside of a given community, while workforce development aims to further an individual’s ability to grow their skills and develop the tools they need for business success in their community. Radius Indiana has implemented several initiatives over the last few years to bring new employees into the workforce as well as retain skilled employees to continue working in our eight-county region. 

Earlier this month, Radius had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with  Tony Denhart, executive vice president of talent and workforce for the Indiana Economic  Development Corporation (IEDC), to introduce him to the initiatives and programs taking place throughout the region. Denhart joined IEDC in January of this year and this trip served as his formal introduction to our part of the state. 

Denhart had the opportunity to meet with several organizations on his visit, including Regional  Opportunity Initiatives, representatives from WestGate@Crane Technology Park, and Naval  Surface Warfare Center-Crane Division as well as several defense contractors. Conversations  included learning about the Uplands Science and Technology Foundation (USTF), a nonprofit  research foundation dedicated to enhancing the vitality of WestGate@Crane Technology Park  and its recently-completed Master Plan. 

Each organization had the opportunity to share its talent and workforce efforts or its needs for talent. Radius discussed its four major ongoing talent and workforce attraction projects with  Denhart: Choose Southern Indiana; Veteran Recruitment- Digital Campaigns; Veteran  Recruitment- Hiring Program; and Catapult.  

Choose Southern Indiana offers a $5,000 relocation incentive to qualified out-of-state individuals  or families who relocate to the region. Such incentive programs are being increasingly used by  states and communities throughout the country to attract talent.  

Radius utilizes a series of social media and digital marketing campaigns to recruit military  veterans and retirees to move from outside Indiana to join the local population and workforce.  To complement the success of the digital campaign veteran recruitment strategies, Radius was  given funding from the State of Indiana for the purpose of attracting and retaining veterans from  outside of the eight-county region to grow the available workforce with unique skills and talents.  Radius became engaged in distributing veteran resumes across the private defense sector  industries. 

The Catapult program provides training to help individuals become skilled and educated in  modern manufacturing production based on employee training programs developed in  Japanese auto assembly plants in Indiana. 

Radius is one of the region’s leaders in workforce and talent attraction, and we thank Tony  Denhart for visiting our region and learning about our programs and initiatives.

Entrepreneurs and start-ups invited to participate in southern Indiana pitch competition

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

 

Pitch competitions serve as an opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-ups to showcase their business idea in hopes of winning funding for their presentation. Organizations in our region have come together to offer a competition that will help spur innovation and business growth. 

This month, Radius Indiana, in coordination with Elevate Ventures, the Indiana Small Business Development Center, Indiana Innovation Institute, the Mill, and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, will host its third annual virtual pitch competition for entrepreneurs, inventors and start-ups focused on patented technologies and intellectual property (IP) developed at Crane –  and the best news – it is royalty-free and no cost to enter.

Radius Indiana created the “Crane IP Defense Innovation Pitch Competition” after learning of NSWC Crane’s Rapid Response Licensing Program, which launched in spring 2020 in response to COVID-19. The Technology Transfer (T2) Program at NSWC Crane opened its portfolio of 300+ patented technologies to entrepreneurs to help rapidly transition federal research and development into the commercial sector and to help stimulate the economy – this is an unprecedented opportunity!

Engineers and scientists at NSWC Crane, Indiana’s only federal research laboratory, continually create technical solutions to solve problems faced by the men and women protecting our nation, but many of these also can apply to the commercial needs of the public sector. The Crane IP Defense Innovation Pitch Competition provides a venue to develop a practical application of technology to create a new commercial product, or launch a new business that can grow here in our region.

Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to connect with industry leaders from the partner organizations, and cash prizes totaling $12,000 will be available to the top three contestants. Additional prize funds will be available for competitors with locations in the Radius region of southern Indiana. 

The pitch competition is being held in conjunction with PROPELS Accelerator, a Mill program offering instruction on how to commercialize cutting-edge technology developed at NSWC Crane. The six-week program focuses on a full business development plan with support from experts in defense and entrepreneurship. Registrants will participate in a demonstration at the end of the session and are then encouraged to pitch their idea at the Radius Indiana pitch competition.

Radius Indiana encourages you to take advantage of this free opportunity to showcase the talent and bright ideas waiting to be discovered right here in southern Indiana. The deadline for registration to participate is June 17, and the pitch competition will be held in a virtual format on June 28. Visit www.radiusindiana.com to register. 

Sustaining the regions Defense and Agriculture Economies

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

 

In February, Indiana was chosen as the newest site for a federal program that will help private landowners and organizations around military bases by providing resources to improve, protect and preserve their land. More than 3.5 million acres in southern Indiana, from Edinburgh to Jasper, and from Madison to Vincennes, are now part of the Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape.

The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership was established in 2013 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of the Interior (DOI). The purpose of the program is to connect landowners within the landscape boundary to state and federal programs for opportunities that will help them sustainably run their land in ways that also support the military bases near them.

The Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape is one of 10 in the country and aims to be a win-win initiative for both the military, agriculture and the environment. Naval Support Activity Crane, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Training Center, Indiana Air Range Complex, and Lake Glendora Test Facility all fall within the landscape and will be enhanced by the designation. In addition, this part of the state is home to six state parks, seven state forests, nine state fish and wildlife areas, 39 state-dedicated nature preserves, one national forest, and three national wildlife refuges.

This unique partnership is a great achievement for southern Indiana. Millions of federal dollars and partner resources are expected to target Indiana for this project. Landowners in this part of the state will have access to tools that will not only help better serve Indiana’s military installations but also protect and enhance what they own.

Although the primary objective of the program is to preserve and protect the missions of the included military bases, it will provide opportunities for environmental protection as well. Beside Federal partners, state agencies, such as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and conservation organizations could increase support for the parks and forests as well as wildlife in the area.

Radius Indiana is a proud partner to the Defense and Agriculture economies. We are grateful to be a part of opportunities that grow our region and support those who live and work here. We look forward to seeing the achievements and accomplishments that grow from this partnership in our part of the state.

 

 

Team Crane joins Indiana State Legislation sessions

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

 

The Indiana State Legislature began its 2022 legislative session in January and the Indiana Defense Caucus had the opportunity to hear from the Crane members of the Indiana Commanders Roundtable. These roundtable conversations with the military commanders have proven to be valuable communications between military leaders and the State of Indiana. 

Historically, these sessions have provided the defense community the chance to share information and explore opportunities to strengthen the partnership and appreciate the roles that each installation serves in our nation’s security as well as the economic impact they have on our state.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation Office for Defense Development hosted this unique event to provide the commanders of Indiana’s military assets the opportunity to update the 2022 Defense Caucus on current mission activities and the potential impacts to Indiana.  

For the first time, the Indiana Defense Task Force was invited to participate in the session in order to develop ideas on how the state and local communities can support the commander’s missions. 

CDR James Smith, Commanding Officer, Naval Support Activity Crane, highlighted the installation’s ongoing efforts to engage with the community and state on collaborative initiatives, including energy resiliency, natural resource conservation, and encroachment protections. Other topics included infrastructure modernization and the potential of intergovernmental support agreements to reduce shared costs between state governmental agencies and the Department of Defense.

In addition, leadership from Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane (NSWC Crane) and Crane Army Ammunition Activity  (CAAA) visited Indianapolis. NSWC Crane’s Director of Congressional and Public Affairs Dr. Sandy Zehr debriefed Indiana’s State Legislature’s Defense Caucus on their work directly with warfighters to create comprehensive, innovative solutions at the speed of relevance as a National Technical Leader.

CAAA Commander Col. Santee Vasquez visited the Indiana Statehouse to speak with state legislators on CAAA’s capabilities, how it provides munitions readiness to the U.S. Department of Defense, how it is modernizing its capabilities to meet the needs of the U.S. Army, and to outline current workforce initiatives and industry and academic partnerships. The event was open to all the military commanders from all the services at bases and activities in Indiana.

Team Crane has an unprecedented opportunity to further foster and grow as a Center of Excellence for testing and munitions. We applaud their efforts and participation in the 2022 legislative session and look forward to seeing the progress that will be made as a result of their input.

NSA Crane aims to strengthen and modernize infrastructure

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

 

High-quality infrastructure can increase productivity, streamline projects, and create a more optimal work environment for employees. For two of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane’s major tenants, modernizing infrastructure can help lead to solutions for some of the world’s most complex technological challenges.

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane (NSWC Crane) and Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) both celebrated new facilities this fall to strengthen the organizations’ infrastructure. 

CAAA opened two facilities on Sept. 2, a plating shop and a centralized receiving department. The plating shop features automated lines to chemically treat steel, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and brass surfaces. The receiving department is CAAA’s first-of-its-kind centralized facility, which will be used primarily for receiving inbound shipments of ammunition and explosives.

CAAA team members have worked to design, fund, and construct these facilities for more than a decade. This is one of the first times that CAAA has completed two projects around the same time, which made last month’s ribbon-cutting ceremony especially monumental.

Earlier this week, NSWC Crane held a groundbreaking for the Strategic Radiation Testing Modernization Facility, which will conduct testing for radiation hardness. Radiation can harm the operation of microelectronic materials used for military applications, even causing malfunctions and failures in aerospace electronics. The need for materials that can withstand radiation has grown in the past decades, especially because satellites that transmit data rely on these materials.

Several years ago, studies indicated that there was not enough capacity or capability in the strategic radiation testing equipment to continue supporting the base’s current strategic mission.

This facility will provide important capacity to support testing for multiple, concurrent, future nuclear modernization programs.

The new facilities demonstrate both NSWC Crane and CAAA’s commitment to modernizing operations. The new equipment, processes, and renewed commitment to safety will help Crane provide the highest quality product to the 21st-century force.

Radius Indiana applauds the efforts of both organizations for their commitment to modernizing their infrastructure.

New citizen-led committee formed to leverage potential of southern Indiana

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

 

Local business, financial, and political leaders recently formed a citizen-led committee to expand support for southern Indiana’s military base and support the region’s economic growth.  

The Crane Regional Defense Group (CDRG) was established in 2020 as a grassroots effort to expand community support and advocate for Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) at the local and federal level. Members work with government, industry and military leaders to accelerate regional economic and community development and accelerate the strategic value of Crane. 

CDRG is a subcommittee of the White River Military Coordination Alliance, a community organization that was formed in 2018 to promote positive development and growth in the areas surrounding NSA Crane. 

Our organization has four main objectives:

  1. To educate and inform the businesses, citizens and governments of the region about the economic and cultural benefits of a strong military presence in the region and the importance of supporting regional infrastructure.
  2. To support the expansion of technical and industrial jobs across the full life cycle in Research, Development, Acquisition, Production, Logistics, Depot, Demilitarization, defense-related opportunities as well as the overall growth and diversity of the defense economy in our region.
  3. To provide leadership to facilitate coordination and build consensus on key projects with various entities who have similar interests in maintaining a healthy and stable community, economy and Department of Defense installations in our area.
  4. To serve as a catalyst to assist other government and private organizations in promoting the Logistics, Depot and Production assets at Crane Army Ammunition Activity and the Science and Technology assets at NSWC Crane and in the larger Indiana Uplands communities.

CRDG began meeting regularly in January 2021. In just six months, the committee has appointed an executive committee, established bylaws and membership guidelines, launched membership recruitment, and planned its inaugural event, the 2021 Key Leader Series. 

CRDG is currently accepting registrations for new members. Organizations that join will have opportunities to influence agenda with local defense and community leadership, receive direct briefings on the activities both inside and outside the NSA Crane gates, network with Crane commands and other government agencies, and participate in yearly events. 

Small and large businesses, and businesses that both are and are not involved in the defense industry are welcome to apply.  

To learn more or apply today, visit https://www.craneregionaldefensegroup.org/

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.