PEOPLE TO WATCH
Trendsetters: May 2009
SRI- St. Petersburg Director
[Photo: Bob Croslin]
Two years into a five-year plan to make marine research operation SRI-St. Petersburg self-supporting, director Larry Langebrake lists the milestones: $9 million in research funding coming in with a goal of $11 million more by year-end, along with plans to hire another 10 to 12 people this year, adding to the current 68. That’s well along in creating the 100 jobs it promised in return for $20 million from former Gov. Jeb Bush’s innovation incentive fund. In August in Tampa Bay, it held a “full-blown explosive exercise, no pun intended” to test prototype equipment in a simulated detonation of an improvised explosive device. More announcements are coming, Langebrake says.
SRI, a Silicon Valley non-profit, teamed with the University of South Florida in 2006 to create
SRI-St. Petersburg from the university’s Center for Ocean Technology and chose Langebrake to lead it. An Ohio native and electrical engineer, he originally came to USF to create devices such as sensors and underwater robots for marine science professors. SRI should move into its new building at the Port of St. Petersburg late this year. Says Langebrake, 50,
“It’s a lot of hard work, make no mistake about that.”