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Officials hail quantum leap forward

Day-long series of events celebrate formal opening of Innovare Center at Griffiss Park

Nicole A. Hawley
Staff writer
Posted 7/9/21

The Innovare Advancement Center officially opened on Thursday with day of events from a morning ribbon cutting ceremony to an afternoon Invest NY program focused on entrepreneurs in aerospace and …

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Officials hail quantum leap forward

Day-long series of events celebrate formal opening of Innovare Center at Griffiss Park


The Innovare Advancement Center officially opened on Thursday with day of events from a morning ribbon cutting ceremony to an afternoon Invest NY program focused on entrepreneurs in aerospace and defense. The day-long celebration ended with an evening Summer Soirée featuring local cuisine and celebrity chef Matthew Read of Spatchock Funk.

The day started off the east hangar of the IAC, a new, open innovation campus which is a partnership between the Griffiss Institute, the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (Rome Lab), New York State, Oneida County, the city of Rome, The New York State Technology Enterprise Corporation, and the State University of New York.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was the official unveiling of the state-of-the-art facility at the Griffiss International Airport that will bring together scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs from academia, industry, and the Department of Defense to collaborate on cutting-edge technology.

“All across the world, innovation and collaboration are becoming synonymous with Oneida County,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “The investment the county and its partners have made in the Griffiss Business & Technology Park is paying off huge dividends for the City of Rome and the region at large, and the Innovare Advancement Center is the epitome of that success. This facility will serve as hub to produce revolutionary research from those on the forefront of cutting-edge technology,”

He said, “Together with Rome Lab, Griffiss Institute and SUNY Poly, we will entrench ourselves as a trailblazer in the emerging field of Quantum Information Science and spur economic development that will feed our robust high-tech economy.”

Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo thanked Oneida County for making the commitment to renovate Building 100 clearing the way to establish Innovare Advancement Center.

“This open campus facility will strengthen the Air Force Research Laboratory’s ability to collaborate in an unclassified environment with academia and research and development specialists from around the world,” said Izzo.It also allows the Griffiss Institute to further its important mission in commercial technology transfer with Rome Lab partners and provide the management skill set necessary for a world class facility of this magnitude. Already, Innovare has become a major player in the quantum and AI marketplaces and provides the opportunity for the community to grow our commercial technology footprint at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park for years to come.”

Heather Hage, president and CEO of Griffiss Institute, said Innovare has been the Mohawk Valley’s “best kept secret” since the Griffiss Institute quietly moved into the innovative space this winter, working in close partnership with Oneida County and Rome Lab to prepare to welcome international scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to collaborate with.

“Today, with over 300 collaborators in service with the GI, we finally get to show off all that Innovare has to offer the tech community,” said Hage. “I am so excited to be a part of this great organization and team, and the GI is committed to do all we can to grow Innovare as a global destination for scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to collaborate as we educate, innovate, integrate and elevate the next generation of technology leaders, right here in the Mohawk Valley.”

Officials say the Innovare Advancement Center is a premier talent and technology accelerator for Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Cyber, Quantum and Unmanned Aerial Systems. A 150,000 square foot open innovation hub, Innovare’s capabilities include highly specialized laboratories for experimentation in quantum and neuromorphic computing; 40,000 square feet, across two floors, of collaboration spaces; an auditorium with capacity for more than 250 people; a first in the nation, New York-funded 50-mile drone corridor for advanced unmanned aircraft operations; and coming in the spring of 2022 – an indoor sUAS research and testing facility with a 22,500 square foot indoor flight testing area — the largest in the United States.

“I’m delighted to represent AFRL in celebrating this milestone of how vision, persistent leadership and teamwork have created a new engine for growing talent, catalyzing partnerships, and delivering solutions that will benefit not just the Air Force and Space Force but the nation as a whole,” said Timothy Sakulich, executive director of Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Col. Fred E. Garcia II, director of the Information Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, said the Air Force partnership with Innovare Advancement Center is a critical component to achieve the nation’s air and space missions through 2030 and beyond.

“The global impact of this partnership will take the world class work that has been performed here in Rome for the past 70 years to a new level by working closer with our technical, entrepreneurial, and teaching partners to elevate the future of the Mohawk Valley and the Air Force,” Garcia said.

SUNY Chancellor James Malatras said SUNY’s partnership with Griffiss Institute, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Oneida County, the City of Rome, and NYSTEC at the brand new, state-of-the-art Innovare Advancement Center, is a model for research and development, commercialization, and regional economic opportunity for SUNY students and the Mohawk Valley.

“Right here in Oneida County, our best and brightest in science, engineering, and entrepreneurship are making major contributions to research and development in artificial intelligence, quantum, and cyber — work that will both power the Mohawk Valley economy while also reshaping our world,” Malatras said. “This is all happening at a pivotal moment. When this level of synergy exists between the public and private sectors, there is simply no limit to what we can accomplish.”

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-Designate Eric Gertler said Empire State Development is proud of its significant investment in the UAS and cyber industries in the Mohawk Valley, especially at the Griffiss Institute, where government research, industry and academia are combined to find solutions to real word, national security issues.

“The Innovare Advancement Center will continue the positive transformation of the Griffiss Technology and Business Park into a center for cutting-edge advancements in technology that are drawing top talent, new business and additional investment into the Mohawk Valley,” saId Gertler. 

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, the event began with an invitation-only CEO Roundtable for startup founders, followed by the public-facing portion of the event that included start-up pitches, roundtable and panel discussions featuring Mohawk Valley entrepreneurs like Charles Green and Dan Kalil of Assured Information Security and Mary Carol “MC” Chruscicki and Pat Baskinger of AX Enterprize. The day was also full of opportunities for networking among investors, CEOs and industry professionals in aerospace and defense.

“The quantum computing innovation race is a great scientific race of the 21st century – and with the help of the Innovare Advancement Center, Rome Lab and the Mohawk Valley will ensure the U.S. is a quantum leap ahead of the competition,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-NY. “I have worked very hard to secure tens of millions of dollars to supercharge Rome Lab and help launch Innovare, which will attract the best and brightest across the globe to the Mohawk Valley for game-changing R&D in quantum computing, artificial intelligence and so much more.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, congratulated the Air Force Research Laboratory, Information Directorate and the Griffiss Institute on the opening of the Innovare Advancement Center.

“This center represents an important investment in the Mohawk Valley economy and in New York ingenuity, and I look forward to their work as they continue to make America a worldwide leader in technological innovation,” Gillibrand said.

“Rome Lab is already a world-class hub of innovation and advanced research. The formal launch of Innovare will only drive this high-tech ecosystem toward even greater heights,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, R-22, New Hartford. “I will continue to fight tirelessly in Congress to support Innovare’s work and increase investments in the Air Force Research Lab. Investing in Rome advances our national security and strengthens our region’s economic prosperity. I wish the team at Innovare nothing but success as they embark on this vitally important mission.”

Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, said the Innovare Advancement Center in Rome is a global leader in innovation, development and technology and brings together partners and experts from a variety of backgrounds to address complex challenges related to national security and economic competitiveness.

“I am looking forward to watching the center’s cutting edge and important work in the areas of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, quantum, unmanned aerial systems and other tech-related fields continue well into the future,” Griffo said.

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy, said Griffiss Business and Technology Park is a critical economic engine that continues to drive scientific advancement, innovative research and vital economic opportunities to the Mohawk Valley.

“Innovare Advancement Center’s new state-of-the-art facility will fuel Griffiss Park’s legacy and serve as an important asset for the Rome Lab, continued academia collaborations and groundbreaking research,” Buttenschon said. “I’ll continue working with stakeholders and my fellow elected officials to support these endeavors and help make the Mohawk Valley the center of the emerging technology and drone industry.”

“I’m thrilled to help welcome the Innovare Advancement Center to the Mohawk Valley,” added Assemblyman Brian D. Miller, R-101, New Hartford. “This facility will undoubtedly become the hub for scientific advancement throughout all of New York, as well as offering economic opportunity to many as research progresses.”

“The ribbon cutting of the Innovare Advancement Center ushers in a new era of technological growth at GriffissBusiness and Technology Park,” said Steven J. DiMeo, president of Mohawk Valley EDGE. “Griffiss has a rich history of technology innovation, and the Innovare Advancement Center will continue that tradition with their game-changing work.”


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