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NEWS | April 20, 2022

NSWC Crane to expand presence at WestGate Academy

By Steve Martin, Purdue Research Foundation

ODON, Ind. – Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane (NSWC Crane), a Navy federal laboratory in southern Indiana, has signed an agreement with Purdue Research Foundation to occupy 14,000 square feet of space at WestGate Academy.

The 15-year lease takes effect in June. The space is envisioned to be used for workforce development and other “front door” capabilities, such as the Small Business Office and Technology Transfer Office.

NSWC Crane’s mission includes providing acquisition engineering, in-service engineering and technical support for sensors, electronics, electronic warfare and special warfare weapons.           

The 64,000-square-foot WestGate Academy is the region hub of innovation and entrepreneurship connecting an ecosystem that spans from West Lafayette to Jasper and Indianapolis to Evansville and beyond. WestGate Academy resides in the WestGate@Crane Technology Park, which is home to 60 tenant companies and their 875 employees.

Kyle Werner, NSWC Crane deputy technical director, expressed enthusiasm for this first-of-its-kind agreement.

“It is exciting to imagine the possibilities of what this opportunity will bring over the next decade,” Werner said. “This innovative partnership will enhance NSWC Crane’s workforce development, excellence and readiness for our current and future workforce.”

Capt. Duncan McKay, NSWC Crane commanding officer, said the timing could not be better.

“NSWC Crane and its mission is more valued and relevant now than any time in our history,” McKay said. “When threats to our nation and global interests increase, so do demands for our products, expertise and services. Partnerships like this make our mission possible.”

Jason Salstrom, director of Purdue@WestGate, said it has been a longtime ambition to bring more Navy personnel into the WestGate Academy.

“Proximity and access are critical to creating opportunity and the social capital necessary for an innovation-driven economy. This agreement addresses these key points,” Salstrom said. “We are excited to continue to support a vibrant and growing innovation workforce here at the WestGate Academy.”

John Mensch, president of WestGate@Crane Authority, said NSWC Crane is a terrific partner for WestGate.

“From additive manufacturing to model-based system engineering to cybersecurity, Crane has the mission and capacity to be part of driving the Indiana economy forward,” Mensch said. “WestGate organizations like ours, Techbridge and the Indiana Innovation Institute work in complementary fashion to grow the economic impact of the Navy’s presence in Indiana.”

Other prominent tenants at WestGate Academy include the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Indiana Innovation Institute, Indiana University, Navy Tech Bridge, NSWC Crane STEM and large defense contractors.

About Purdue@WestGate

Purdue@WestGate is an economic development accelerator formed by the partnership between WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane), Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation. The Indiana-based collaboration combines strengths to advance educational, research and development and technology commercialization across Indiana and elsewhere. Purdue@WestGate offers tools for startups, entrepreneurial experts, programs, educational opportunities and workforce development to help southern Indiana businesses grow and thrive. For more information about the resources available to businesses, visit Purdue@WestGate.

About Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in expeditionary warfare, strategic missions and electronic warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multidomain, multispectral, full-life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s warfighter.