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Homeland Security Update LIFT President Frank Otto

June 17, 2011 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Bill Wahling, Executive Director of LIFT opened the meeting this morning. He introduced the audience of the mission of the organization. LIFT’s purpose is to identify market needs and help inventors and designers develop products to meet those needs.


Bill then introduced the president and our speaker for the morning, Frank Otto. Bill noted that the relationship between the two leaders goes back to their experience in the aerospace and defense business working at EDO Corporation.


The Morelly Homeland Security Center was built under Mr. Otto’s predecessor Ken Morelly, with a $25 million grant that was applied for by LIFT. The center is a very interesting mix of functions, which Mr. Otto took us through in a very well organized presentation.


The primary mission of the center hones in on homeland security as the name implies, but getting there means many things. Creating advanced products from idea to completion to enhance security, but of equal importance creating products and industries that come out of creative ideas.


The Center is involved with a litany of first responder organizations locally and around the nation. The well equipped media room is wired for many analysts to work on problems simultaneously. The room is also used for training and other communications needs. The facility houses and serves, police, fire, and US Coast Guard units and agencies that need to be able to coordinate many efforts in cases of emergency. To achieve this functionality the center is energy independent and also has a mobile unit that can operate remotely.


In addition to the governmental agencies there are private companies that seek the synergy available there. Knowing what people are needing and finding products that will fill those needs are part of the to be developed and the input from those organizations. Real life scenarios are played out at the center to help prepare the various agencies for any emergency that may occur.


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has generated numerous research efforts that no one seems to have a handle on. The Center has no doubt that there is valuable research that has been done, and they are assembling that info in useable form and making it available for commercial enterprises.


The Morelly facility works with other organizations such as LISTNET, which has IT, specialists in its membership and LIMBA because of our interest in the infrastructure. The building has already filled all the available space with interested partner companies, and they range in size from giants to much smaller companies. Now there is an effort to accommodate those companies that they cannot house by offering associate memberships. The associate members are invited to all the information seminars and have access to all the resources.


Mr. Otto states, "We know how to take an idea through the research, development, and manufacture, and we can help companies all over the country."


The big push for the research and development is for composites. And that area will have a major impact on American manufacturing.


Richard Rotanz, Executive Director of the Applied Science Foundation for Homeland Security closed the meeting with some insights on the sciences used by first responders all over the country.


Ernie Fazio