May 4, 2015
CRANE, Indiana - TechPoint, Indiana’s technology growth initiative, recognized Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) as one of Indiana’s technology success stories during its annual Mira Awards gala on May 2, at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. Now in its 16th year, TechPoint’s Mira Awards celebrate the most innovative and successful technologies and technology companies in Indiana, as well as entrepreneurs and educators.
NSWC Crane STEM Director Tina Closser took home the award for Tech Educator of the Year and was chosen because of a rich history of outreach to local communities that includes allowing employees time on-the-clock to participate in activities such as math and science tutoring and the annual NSWC Crane Science Fair. In 2010 a formal Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program was created and with that the outreach efforts were strategically aligned with how to facilitate, motivate, cultivate and attract the next generation of STEM talent. NSWC Crane has implemented a number of programs to include one-time public events, in-class activities, out-of-class activities, mentorship with students and teacher training. In order to implement these goals NSWC Crane has utilized two full-time STEM personnel, Closser and Brandy Frady, STEM program support. Additionally, NSWC Crane makes time available to its employees to work in their communities to support STEM goals. Since the inception of this program, NSWC Crane and its personnel have served over 8,000 students, 100 teachers and 100 schools.
Closser began working at Crane as an engineer in 1999 and held several different jobs while volunteering for STEM activities such as tutoring and science nights with the Society of Women Engineers before becoming NSWC Crane’s STEM coordinator in 2011. “Most of the schools around Crane are rural, underserved communities without access to infrastructure that schools in larger areas may have. By using our lab assets and technology, we have a unique opportunity to teach the students in our surrounding area about STEM and the opportunities that come along with a STEM education,” she explained.
Out of the 100 companies selected as nominees this year, 73 of them didn’t even exist five years ago. Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint, said that this trend of new companies accounting for half or more of the nominees has been going on for three years in a row now, and that it is a good sign -- the sign of a thriving tech ecosystem. “The Mira Awards amplify success stories of some of the very best Indiana startups, scaleups and established tech companies, which helps them win new customers, attract investment capital and acquire skilled talent,” Langellier said. “The Miras are a large, annual part of our mission to accelerate tech growth in Indiana.”
Forty-three independent, volunteer judges spent more than 700 collective hours reviewing and ranking the applications, interviewing the nominees and selecting the winners. Judges included 15 company founders, eight CEOs and presidents, four CIOs, six vice presidents and a variety of other subject matter experts. A complete list of the 2014 TechPoint Mira Awards winners is available at www.techpoint.org/mira.
About NSWC Crane:
Located on the third largest naval installation in the world, NSWC Crane’s $1.5B business base supports the Navy by leveraging its technical capabilities to support the warfighter in this rapidly changing combat environment. Employees provide comprehensive support for complex military systems spanning design, development, deployment and sustainment. Find out more about the warfare center at http://www.navsea.navy.mil/nswc/crane/default.aspx.
TechPoint is the voice and catalyst for Indiana’s technology companies and overall tech ecosystem. The team is focused on: 1.) connecting the community through events, 2.) sharing the stories of companies and people on techpoint.org, 3.) attracting valuable talent and 4.) connecting our most promising companies with capital and customers. For more information, please visit www.techpoint.org.