Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

MicaPlex Debut Kicks Off with Announcement of New Tenant, Scholarship and Business Incubator

More than 300 community, political and business leaders from Central Florida joined Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as it officially opened the cornerstone building of its Research Park – The John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex (MicaPlex) – on Thursday night adjacent to the university’s Daytona Beach Campus.

In addition to debuting the 10,000 square feet of flex-lease space and offices within the 50,000 square-foot facility during the “Illuminating the Future” event, Embry-Riddle also announced the establishment of an engineering scholarship for students named in honor of the MicaPlex’s namesake former U.S. Representative John Mica, the name of the first in-place flex-lease tenant company that is currently hiring highly skilled professional jobs to be housed there and the names of the first three of four accepted startup companies as part of the  MicaPlex Technology Business Incubator.

Guests at the opening included a who’s who of Volusia County elected officials, representatives of Central Florida businesses and members of the university’s Board of Trustees. Embry-Riddle Board of Trustees Chairman Mori Hosseini introduced the evening’s guest of honor, Rep. Mica and other speakers, including Embry-Riddle President Dr. P. Barry Butler, Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello, Volusia County Chair Ed Kelley, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry and Embry-Riddle Dean of the College of Engineering Dr. Maj Mirmirani, who proposed the concept of the MicaPlex in 2012.

“Years and years ago, we dreamed about this, we talked about this,” Hosseini said. “We never stopped dreaming, and now it is a reality. The MicaPlex embodies this university’s innovative spirit and commitment to be that link between academic expertise, research and facilities to the companies that will bring highly skilled, high-paying professional jobs here to Volusia County.”

Undergraduate Engineering Scholarship Announced

The new John Mica Honorary Endowed Scholarship for Engineering Excellence will be a merit-based scholarship to support and inspire outstanding engineering undergraduate students who will define and shape the future of engineering.

“We can’t think of a better way to launch what is sure to be a new era in research and innovation at Embry-Riddle.  Investing in students with big ideas who have a desire to make a difference in the world is an important first step in transforming our university, our state and our industry,” said Embry-Riddle President Dr. P. Barry Butler. “When they succeed, we all benefit from the rewards.”

This scholarship has been made possible by the generous philanthropic commitment of Embry-Riddle Board of Trustees members Mori Hosseini (Chairman), Joe Martin and David Robertson as well as P&S Paving, Perry McCall and others.

“This scholarship named for Rep. Mica exemplifies the unwavering support he has shown at all levels for the future success of our students and this university,” Hosseini said.  

special website page has been set up for those wanting to contribute and receive a tax-deductible gift receipt – or mail a check to Mica Scholarship, c/o Ms. Lee Williams, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

First Flex-Lease Tenant to Be Housed at MicaPlex

In an agreement signed this week with the university to house their Research & Development (R&D) Center at the MicaPlex, Aerial Applications, a provider of rapid drone-based maps, has committed to posting jobs immediately to hire marketing and computer science engineering professionals within the next 12 months.

Headquartered in Newtown, Pa., and with an existing engineering office in Daytona Beach, Aerial Applications’ teams of expert pilots, engineers, policy analysts and business consultants work closely with clients to leverage the latest in unmanned aerial technology by providing turn-key solutions and added value to businesses. As drone experts, Aerial Applications analyzes business processes, identifies areas of impact and provides solutions using geospatial data for Comcast, PricewaterhouseCoopers and MD5 – the Department of Defense National Security Technology Accelerator.

“We are delighted to be among the first class of companies chosen for the MicaPlex. It is an exciting opportunity to leverage the talent and expertise of Embry-Riddle, while also creating high-value jobs in the local area,” said Aerial Applications CEO and founder Joe Sullivan. “The experience that our team has gained as students of Embry-Riddle is invaluable.”

First Three Startup Companies To Receive Business Support and Services Identified

The names of the three Volusia County-based start-ups as the new clients of the MicaPlex Technology Business Incubator were also revealed this week.

The purpose of a business incubator is to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services. Beyond space, access to capital, mentoring, informational programming, common services and networking connections are part of the formula. The incubator will support startups and early stage companies that are at the research- and development-intensive phase of their growth. There is one remaining open office spot for applicants. The accepted three companies to join the incubator are:

  • Censys Technologies Corporation is developing an unmanned aerial system with Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight capabilities. Its remote sensing will streamline the flow of data from acquisition to action. The system is being designed to support other UAS service companies, agriculture, and the petroleum industry. They have trademarked the name “DRAGONSi™” and will be focused on developing the vehicle and system. The company founders, former Embry-Riddle student Payal Chaudhari and current Embry-Riddle seniors majoring in Aerospace Engineering Trevor Perrott and John Lobdell have strong technical backgrounds in Unmanned Aerial Systems.
  • Weintraus, LLC strives to build a reusable payload deployment system capable of providing precision orbital placement services for small spacecraft. Their vehicle will vary its altitudes and orbits to deploy its customers’ spacecraft at the optimal and desired orbital locations. After successfully demonstrating that capability, Weintraus will scale into its second-generation vehicle, the focus of which will be to capture orbiting spacecraft, perform robotic repairs, and transfer fuel. Founder and CEO Scott Weintraub is a 2016 graduate of the Daytona Beach Campus who earned his degree in Commercial Space Operations (now called Spaceflight Operations).
  • Myers Devices, LLC is founded by Kristi Myers, a practicing nurse-anesthetist with a patent-pending for a medical device to help prevent healthcare-associated infections. Her device, the Yankaddy, is a disposable holster to hold the Yankauer Suction, the most widely used suction device, yet an identified source of contamination. The Yankaddy will allow medical providers a one-handed method of use and a storage location that is clean, safe and convenient. In the U.S., nearly 2 million people are victims of hospital-associated infections. That number results in 99,000 deaths and adds $30 to $45 billion dollars to our nation's healthcare costs. The Myers Devices’ target market is every healthcare setting that uses the Yankauer Suction instrument.

Next on the horizon for the Research Park will be a second building that will house a wind tunnel and test facility, the most advanced instrument in its class in the Southeast. It has been specifically designed to attract major companies, both national and international.

“Embry-Riddle’s unique focus on applied research in partnership with the aerospace and related industries, other universities and government agencies, allows us to develop solutions to real-world problems,” Butler said.

About The John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex (MicaPlex)

Known as the MicaPlex, this cornerstone building of the Research Park at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will house collaborative workspaces, a wide range of laboratories and business support services collocated to ensure that technology-focused startups will have every advantage for success. The first building phase also includes a large wind tunnel and test facility with cutting-edge instrumentation. Named for U.S. Representative John Mica (R-Florida) in honor of his key role in supporting the university’s educational and research endeavors, it is strategically located in Central Florida’s “Convergence Zone” of innovation and discovery. This collaborative atmosphere is designed for incubating new technologies across 10,000 square feet of flex lease space to meet tenants’ needs, and is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2017. For more information, go to erau.edu/micaplex. For information about partnership opportunities, call (386) 226-4928 or email micaplex@erau.edu.

This story first appeared on erau.edu, here.