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The Ventura County Economic Development Association Honors Fathomwerx Lab with the Public-Private Partnership Award

By Esmi Careaga | NSWC Port Hueneme Division | Feb. 18, 2021


Fathomwerx Lab, a collaborative, innovative government and industry space, recently received the Public-Private Partnership award by the Ventura County Economic Development Association (VCEDA) for its contributions to the local, statewide and national economy including several new relationships and potential new technologies.

Fathomwerx received the award during VCEDA's 50th Annual Business Outlook Conference (BOC), held virtually Jan. 15, and which welcomed Ventura County decision makers, subject matter experts, local business executives, community leaders, educators and elected officials.

The theme for this year's conference was Economic Recovery After COVID-19: The Future of Work, and addressed the ongoing challenges currently impacting the local, statewide and national economy. 

The BOC is considered one of the most recognized and longest-standing meetings in Ventura County for business leaders and advocates, according to VCEDA.org. 

Sandy Smith, a consultant for Specialists in Engineering, Safety, Planning and the Environment, Inc., in Ventura, Calif., and chair of VCEDA’s policy committee, virtually presented the Public-Private Partnership award to Fathomwerx, a public-private consortium and a physical collaborative space where government employees, business owners, entrepreneurs and academic stakeholders innovate, experiment and transfer/transition capabilities.

“The accolade recognizes outstanding and innovative projects that have significantly enhanced the economic vitality of communities and businesses through collaboration between the public and private sectors,” Smith said. 

Bryan Went, co-founder of Matter Labs in Camarillo, Calif., accepted the award virtually on behalf of Fathomwerx at the lab’s Port of Hueneme location. Matter Labs, a consulting firm specializing in new technologies, is one of the partners in Fathomwerx in addition to the Port of Hueneme, the nonprofit Ventura County Economic Development Collaborative (VCEDC) and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD).

“We are honored to receive this award and are excited to share it with our partners,” Went said.

Fathomwerx was founded and developed in 2019 through a Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) between NSWC PHD, the Port of Hueneme, the VCEDC and Matter Labs. That same year, Fathomwerx entered into a public–private partnership (PPP), formalizing the relationship between among the government and private entities.

The VCEDA recognized Fathomwerx for several contributions to the local economy’s vitality under the PPP agreement. As one, Fathomwerx provided the space and equipment for testing and prototyping technology that was eventually commercialized after being developed through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between PHD and a private company. 

In addition, technology proposed during Fathomwerx-hosted Innovation Discovery Events resulted in several product licensing agreements that could potentially develop into commercial products.

Innovation Discovery Events present opportunities to engage with local entrepreneurs to expand applications for U.S. Navy-developed intellectual property and explore ways in which it can be commercialized. 

Fathomwerx also benefited the Ventura County community by creating 21 Small Business Innovative Research programs, seven CRADAs and three PIAs.

Ventura Tech Bridge Director and NSWC PHD Office of Research and Technology Applications Manager Alan Jaeger said the partnership is about accelerating Navy warfighter capabilities. 

“It’s all about strengthening the industrial base for the mutual benefit of the Navy and region,” he said. “When it comes to industry, the partnership focuses on providing insight and a means for a collaborative benefit.”

In 2020, Fathomworx lab became the NavalX Ventura Tech Bridge, one of numerous relationship-based networks, Jaeger said, that have developed within regions of the U.S. where connections already exist among the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps facilities, private industry and academia.

The role will further enable Fathomwerx to beneficially impact the local region and expand areas—while also simultaneously support the Navy’s future fleet.

“Tech Bridges support collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation with cutting-edge, leading-technology companies and innovation partners to accelerate solutions for the warfighter,” Jaeger said.