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Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation Executive Director Rich Burchfield was the keynote speaker at the June luncheon for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of AFCEA, held at the Peterson AFB Club on Thursday, June 27, 2019. AFCEA is a professional association that connects people, ideas and solutions globally by developing networking and educational opportunities and providing them in an ethical forum, enabling military, government, industry and academia to align technology and strategy to meet the needs of those who serve.
The event began with opening remarks by AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter President Bob Wright and the highly entertaining Maj Gen (Ret) Harencak, representing sponsor Jacobs. They were followed by keynote speaker Executive Director Burchfield, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and former Chief Defense Development Officer for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC, who gave a rousing presentation of the collaborative activities and engagement opportunities available at the Catalyst Campus.
As the eight tables of attendees, approximately 60 altogether, enjoyed Cobb salad and New York cheesecake, Mr. Burchfield’s obvious enthusiasm became contagious. He explained that Catalyst Campus is a defense industry incubator and small business support environment that promotes technology advancement for the warfighter and the transfers of technology between commercial and government organizations. The Catalyst Campus vision was also described: to create an economic development cluster to expand the aerospace and defense base through a collaborative infrastructure platform that supports entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Much credit was given to the Campus’ visionary founder, developer Kevin O’Neil, who was already well-known among the attendees for “paying it forward” in the form of his many contributions to the Colorado Springs community. Mr. Burchfield explained how Mr. O’Neil’s vision is supported by Catalyst Campus’ agnostic environment, which is especially important for industry, academia, and government to join in high-quality engagements to address critical issues.
Without the extensive facilities provided by Catalyst Campus, there could be no burgeoning collaborative ecosystem, so Mr. Burchfield reviewed the many physical benefits of engaging with Catalyst Campus: meeting rooms, events space, office space, collaborative workspace, community kitchens, Space Operations Control Center auditorium, classified space, and computer labs. He explained that the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit that manages and staffs the facilities, providing space and support staff, while the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC) provides the programmatics as well as the recruiting and execution of on-campus and off-campus programs and initiatives.
Business and workforce development are also a natural part of the business-nurturing activities the Campus supports, Mr. Burchfield explained, thus far attracting the Pikes Peak Community College Cyber Range, Pikes Peak Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), and Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA).
Another highly-successful, business-nurturing program, held regularly at the Campus since January 2018, is Catalyst Space Accelerator, a 12-week semi-residential accelerator promoting technology advancement for the warfighter, as well as technology transfer from the government to the commercial market and vice versa. Other important programs being enabled by the Catalyst Campus ecosystem include Air Force CyberWorx, which educates airmen cadets while partnering with industry to solve problems; the Unified Data Library (UDL), a cloud-based data platform that enables academic, government and commercially-gathered satellite and cyber security data sets to be accessed and leveraged for research and development, innovation and acceleration of technological solutions; and Space CAMP, an Air Force development organization that continuously develops and delivers software to front line Space Operators, ‘where no software has gone before.’
As Mr. Burchfield encouraged the audience at one point: “CyberWorx is doing amazing things, and I encourage the Colorado Springs Community to learn more about their initiatives and get involved.” The same could be said of the Catalyst Space Accelerator, Space CAMP and many other activities hosted on the Campus. As the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation collaborative ecosystem continues to grow, including a planned 100,000+ SF expansion, there are always plenty of opportunities for the Colorado business community to get involved.
The next Catalyst Campus event will be held in August 2019, when AF CyberWorx will be hosting a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Seminar. This event is designed to give non-traditional small businesses an opportunity to learn more about the SBIR application process, funding and how to navigate government contracting through statewide subject matter experts and resources. For more information, contact Stephanie Abeyta at email@example.com.
Lora Premo Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation 7196596418 firstname.lastname@example.org