NEWS | May 13, 2021

Mid-Atlantic Tech Bridge (MATB) Hosts Virtual Industry Day

By Todd A. Hurley, NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs

The Mid-Atlantic Tech Bridge (MATB) hosted a virtual industry day on May 6.

The MATB is a partnership between Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division Norfolk Detachment, NSWC Dahlgren Division Dam Neck Activity, Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic Hampton Roads Detachment and Commander, Second Fleet (C2F). Each of these commands were present during the presentation, as were two of the MATB’s existing regional partners — the 757 CoLab and Gangplank Virginia.

This presentation was held to provide an opportunity to increase industry knowledge of ways to collaborate with the MATB, Naval X and the greater Naval Research and Development Establishment (NR&DE). Those who participated in the virtual industry day learned about the naval acquisition process, current and future requirements, and partnership and small business opportunities. Participants were also able to engage directly with leadership from all four commands.

Under the direction of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition), and with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), regional tech bridges were established to better connect naval entities and the private sector. They serve as a super connector to facilitate collaboration between the Naval Research and Development Establishment and regional technology ecosystem including start-ups, academia, corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations and private capital in order to match capability problems with technology solutions. The MATB is part of a network of 13 tech bridges.

Tech bridges are used to connect, reinforce and sustain innovation clusters across various regions where there are tightly linked Department of the Navy (DON) partners. The MATB facilitates innovation, collaboration and partnerships between government entities and the Hampton Roads, Virginia, technology ecosystem.

“Innovation is extremely important to Carderock and to myself,” said Larry Tarasek, NSWC Carderock Division’s Technical Director. “Tech bridges are a great way to partner with non-traditional partners. There is a lot of hard, tough problems we all need to solve, and utilizing tech bridges is an excellent way to go about doing that.”

This Tech Bridge event was moderated by NSWC Carderock Division’s Dr. Julie Stark, Science and Technology Office Department Head, and consisted of brief overviews by each command present with a focus on science and technology (S&T) goals and opportunities, followed by a series of questions and answers.

Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, Commander, U.S. Second Fleet (C2F), provided his thoughts on the importance of the MATB, the tech bridge network, and Naval X.

“The Navy and Marine Corps have recognized that in order to remain agile in this competitive environment, we must leverage non-traditional means to capitalize on innovative ideas and capabilities,” Lewis said. “It is for this reason that we are excited to partner with the Mid-Atlantic Tech Bridge initiative to connect and collaborate with local industry to find solutions to problems at all levels.”

S&T leaders from NSWC Carderock Division, NIWC Atlantic and NSWC Dahlgren Division (Dam Neck) provided overviews of their commands and partnership opportunities, as well. The presentation concluded with a series of questions and answers, moderated by Stark.

When asked about the Navy’s plan to leverage virtual augmentation and reality, all the S&T leaders had an opportunity to present their ideas.

“The Navy is a giant organization, and the Warfare Centers are great for technology pushes,” said Dr. Dave Drazen, NSWC Carderock Division’s Chief Technology Officer. “Carderock has already explored virtual reality for ship checks, and we are continuing to work on how to have virtual reality be most effective for supporting the fleet.”