R & D Firm Coming To Culpeper
Culpeper County is home to advanced manufacturing industries, information–technology and telecommunications companies, and has a strong agriculture heritage. Another sector that will benefit from Culpeper’s unique qualities of location, workforce and infrastructure is research and development (R&D). R&D firms research, develop and deploy scientific and technological advancements that help solve the many challenges often faced in both the private and government sector. Culpeper has never had a research and development (R&D) firm, but that is no longer the case.
Recently, Culpeper welcomed R&D company Applied Research in Acoustics (ARiA) to its growing economy. As Culpeper County Administrator Frank Bossio stated ”Culpeper has a great agricultural background, we have high tech manufacturing and we’ve got managed services. The one piece missing to make it the whole of a great kernel of economic development was research and development. This is big. This is [how] Microsoft [started] in a garage.”
Actually, the garage isn’t quite where ARiA will be residing. They have moved to downtown Culpeper in the creamery building, a century–old building called that because it once served dairy products to Culpeper residents. While they have completed a build–out and furnished the space, they are still in the process of hiring employees for the new facility. Their hope is to be officially up and running sometime in mid–September.
ARiA is a privately held company founded by Chief Scientist Jason Summers in 2010 and headquartered in Washington, DC. While the company is small, having been founded as an R&D consultancy, the Culpeper office is slated to be an extension office to support the needs of their customers and will employ up to 10 individuals — the first three as software developers. ARiA uses ”real research to meet real-world challenges in real–world systems,” owner Dr. Summers explained. ”Our team brings together physicists, computer scientists, mathematicians, neuroscientists, and educational psychologists and partners with government laboratories, universities and other small businesses to create new technologies that help people like Navy sonar operators do their jobs by giving them improved tools and enhanced training.”
Currently, ARiA is working with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) on research and development that will improve the quality of training of sonar operators and give them enhanced tools for finding submarines. Among recent projects is development of Synthetic ASW Generation Engine (SAGE™) a machine–learning and expert–system technology for automated scenario design in simulation–based sonar training.
ARiA also takes great interest in engaging young minds in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). With support from ONR, they have partnered with a Wisconsin based company, Filament Games, to design and develop a STEM learning video game for underwater sound called WaveQuest™. The game is geared towards middle and high school students seeking a career in STEM as well as Navy enlistees who need to learn the basics of sonar.
When asked “Why Culpeper?” Dr. Summers stated ”ARiA is committed to supporting an excellent quality of life, both in and out of the workplace, which Culpeper County provides. And, more than that, Culpeper offered both a coherent downtown to support a vibrant work environment and the necessary infrastructure to support our research.” Citing the existing fiber optics and character of the downtown area, Summers said they visited many other locations before selecting Culpeper. ”I’m convinced that this new facility in downtown Culpeper together with the surrounding communities will help us to continue delivering innovative results for our customers while providing a high–quality workplace and living environment for our employees.”
It’s nice to hear! Welcome ARiA!
Downtown Culpeper’s Rebirth
Ren•ais•sance (n) A rebirth or revival Re•vi•tal•ize (v) To impart new life or vigor
Downtown Culpeper is often described as a vibrant and dynamic town center where history coincides with positive energy. However, 25 years ago that wasn’t the case. While the town possessed many valuable assets in those days, of both the heritage and human quality, downtown Culpeper was in need of some tools, some volunteerism, and an economic restructuring. Because of that need, an organization vital to Culpeper’s economic development was created: Culpeper Renaissance, Inc.
Designated in 1988, Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. (CRI) is a member of the Virginia Main Street Program. The Main Street Program is a grassroots, volunteer–driven nonprofit business. Organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the program centers on restoring the economic strength of downtown commercial districts. This strategy is achieved by following a four point approach: design, promotions, economic restructuring, and organization.
Since its inception, CRI has been the organizer and conduit for sustaining Culpeper’s downtown revitalization. New businesses have opened and vacant buildings are being capitalized on. Tourism has flourished, hundreds of jobs have been created, and more than $45 million in private money has been invested in the downtown since CRI’s founding. To aid in this accomplishment, CRI maintains a Board of Directors and created four committees that reflect the four point approach of design, promotions, economic restructuring, and organization. CRI mobilizes the committees and provides both development and fiduciary support.
Each committee is comprised of volunteers from the Culpeper community, including downtown merchants, stay–at–home moms, retirees, bankers, lawyers, and doctors, to name just a few. Committees meet about once a month for an hour or so. During that time, each committee focuses on developing its role. For example, the Design Committee spearheads physical environment improvements. For Culpeper, this committee is responsible for the hanging flower baskets seen around town and was instrumental in the beautification of the alleyway next to Knakals and the East Cameron Street parking lot.
And, have you ever wondered who organizes the many community events Culpeper hosts? The Promotions Committee takes the lead on marketing local assets to residents, visitors, investors and others by creating and promoting activities, special events, and retail. For Culpeper, the committee also serves as a frontrunner for event sub–committees, such as those needed for the 3rd Thursday Concert Series, the Taste of Culpeper, and the Downtown Farmers Market.
The Economic Restructuring Committee is principal in developing businesses by leveraging entrepreneurs and other assets. Their role centers on finding new opportunities to grow and strengthen the existing economic base. For Culpeper, the committee is involved in ribbon–cuttings and real estate, property, and owner listings. In addition, the Economic Restructuring Committee was instrumental in initiating the ”Be a Culpeper Local” program which informs Culpeper residents, through a variety of marketing materials, where their tax dollars go. The message – purchase goods and services in the county so that tax dollars remain local – has been delivered the last three years and is in an expansion stage.
Last but not least, the Organization Committee is CRI”s core. Tasked with leading the management of the human and financial resources, they are in charge of building collaboration among many different groups and heading up volunteer recruitment, fundraising, outreach, and training.
CRI’s commitment and concentration has made a remarkable difference to the downtown Culpeper we all enjoy today. Their hard work and effort have not gone unnoticed by all who live here, who visit here, and who are looking to invest here. CRI’s efforts have been rewarded by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of National Trust for Historic Preservation. Named a 2012 Great American Main Street for meeting the revitalization performance standards set, CRI continues to take the lead in enhancing the economic foundation for downtown Culpeper. For more information on CRI and to learn about becoming a volunteer, go to www.culpeperdowntown.com.
Events–Mark Your Calendar!
Happenings: Culpeper Air Fest
An airport is much more than a place to catch a plane; it is an investment in a city, a region, or a county. Culpeper Regional Airport serves an outstanding example. Since its early days of conception, CRA has been a cornerstone for economic development in Culpeper County. One distinct way in which Culpeper Regional Airport contributes to the economic health of the county is by hosting an Air Fest. Now in its 14th year, the event is held annually on the second Saturday of October, which this year falls on October 12th. Gates open at 8:00 am and the event runs until 4:00 pm. Although it is a free family event, it provides the county with a great deal of financially viable promotion.
Culpeper County Administrator Frank Bossio remarked that the Air Fest brings both the excitement and culture of aviation into view for those who don’t get a daily look into the operations. “It is a tool to educate the public about who uses the airport and why,” Mr. Bossio explained. ”For example visiting the Air Fest and seeing firsthand the turboprop charter air service operation that Meridian Air offers is a positive message of a capable transportation system.”
Since its inception, the Air Fest has grown to more than 70 participating aircraft and 30 vendors, and anywhere from 10,000 to 14,000 visitors. Each year the event showcases a number of unique planes and other activities. Pilots and organizations associated with the planes come from all over the country. They arrive in Culpeper during the week prior to the event. This year’s festival will certainly attract a very large crowd as it is the East Coast hub of the 75th anniversary of the historic North American T–6 Texan airplane. The sky will be filled with these planes as they arrive from all over the east coast. The T–6 Texan was a trainer plane during World War II and its success led to the design and build of the B–25 bomber and P–51 Mustang, the most successful fighter of WWII. The North American Training Organization selected Culpeper in large part because of the Air Fest and its versatility. The T–6 will be flying in competitive formation, flour bombing and will offer special rides.
Another highlight this year will be the return of Retired Marine Colonel Art Nalls and the only ”privately owned” Harrier in the world. The Bealeton Flying Circus will also perform wing–walking and ribbon cutting demonstrations; County Board Member Steve Nixon will demonstrate how a helicopter moves in every direction; and there will be many other civilian aerobatic aircraft performing maneuvers guaranteed to thrill.
”Although the Air Fest is a community event, it attracts visitors from all over, including overseas,” according to Ms. Tanya Woodward, C.M., On–site Manager of the airport. They begin arriving on the Wednesday prior to the Saturday show. ”They will stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants and shop here,” Mr. Bossio added. “Being successful with Economic Development is all about selling Culpeper, and nothing sells Culpeper like being here.”
For more in-depth information on the 14th Annual Culpeper Air Fest visit their website atwww.culpeperairport.com or if you would like to help sponsor the event seewww.culpeperairfest.com for more info.
Business Spotlight: EURO–COMPOSITES: Growing And Expanding
EURO–COMPOSITES …… UP UP AND AWAY
On December 8, 2010, Governor Bob McDonnell announced a major expansion project at EURO–COMPOSITES Corporation, located in the Elkwood section of Culpeper County. Governor McDonnell noted that the company will invest at least $11 million and hire 70 new employees. To secure this expansion for Virginia, Governor McDonnell approved a $150,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund (GOF). Culpeper County matched the GOF with incentives to the company from a portion of future taxes paid on the new investment. The State of Virginia and Culpeper County secured EURO-COMPOSITES presence at the Elkwood facility over stiff competition from South Carolina. Under the provisions of the GOF, EURO–COMPOSITES has three years from the date of the announcement to achieve the capital investment and new job creation.
Today, a little more than two and a half years after Governor McDonnell’s announcement, EURO–COMPOSITES is well on its way to complete the expansion project on time. A 45,000 square foot addition to their existing building has been constructed and has been put into use. A number of 5 axis CNC milling machines have been purchased and put into production and most of the new positions have been filled.
EURO–COMPOSITES has three world–wide locations. The corporate headquarters and main European production facility is located in Echternach, Luxemburg. The primary Research and Development Center is housed in a separate facility also located in Luxemburg. Production facilities are located in Bitburg, Germany and in Culpeper County, Virginia – EURO–COMPOSITES’ only US location!
EURO–COMPOSITES is a global player in the field of advanced composite products that includes ready–to–assemble parts, formed and/or milled composite parts, panels, laminates, and honeycomb core materials. The company has four distinct markets:
- AVIATION includes the fabrication of interiors, galleys, wing parts and engine cowlings for the commercial aviation industry;
- SPACE which includes panels for eROSIITA Satellites and TRD platforms for the International Space Station;
- DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY which consists of parts and processed honeycombs for defense projects such as the Eurofighter 2000, the Tiger attack helicopter and the F35 US Joint Strike fighter pictured above; and
- RAIL which produces interior furnishings and structural parts for passenger rail companies.
The expansion at the Culpeper plant was the direct result of an award of a subcontract by a defense contractor to EURO–COMPOSITES to construct components to be used in the Defense Technology industry. EURO–COMPOSITES also manufactures parts connected with mechanical engineering, surface transportation, the ship building industry, medical technology and general sales of standard honeycombs and panels.
EURO–COMPOSITES has customers world–wide including Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, North America, Asia and Australia. The company’s customers include Airbus, Bell Helicopters, Boeing, Dassault, Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas, Northrop, Pratt & Whitney, Saab Aircraft and Sikorsky Aircraft.
EURO-COMPOSITES understands the need for a skilled, trained attentive and loyal workforce. ”A key deciding factor in our continued existence in Virginia was the commitment to our employees and the critical role they play, not only in our success, but in future growth plans,” said Sylke Heil, Executive Vice President Administration & Treasurer. Matthew Flyer, Executive Vice President Sales & Engineering, added, ”With the support from the state and Culpeper County we feel we can continue to grow and attract the dedicated and skilled employees necessary for success.”
With its roots firmly planted in Culpeper, for EURO–COMPOSITES the sky’s the limit.
Featured Property—Learn More
Bragg’s Professional Center
located within Bragg’s Corner Station
|Location:||16240 Bennett Road, Culpeper, VA|
|Available:||Class A Condominium Space for Sale|
|Size:||1,500 to 8,600 SF suite space|
|Property Use Type:||Professional Office|
|No. of Levels:||1|
|Construction:||Masonry Construction, and permanent composite exterior materials|
|Site:||2.5 acre tract, fully developed|
|Includes:||Parking, Maintenance of Landscape, Storm Water Management|
|Purchase Price:||Starting at $175.00 SF|
- Fully conditioned with fire suppression in place
- Priced with interiors finished to owner specifications or sold as–is with owner build–out
- High traffic and visibility on commuter route corner
- Upscale finishes throughout the building
- Park like landscaping installed
Bragg’s Professional Center is a class A condominium office building located within Bragg’s Corner Station. Current space available can range from 1,500 square feet to 8,590 and can be finished to owner’s specifications or as-is. Beautifully appointed, the building is surrounded by park like landscaping and includes plenty of parking. Highly visible and accessible from busy US15/29, the site offers 25,000 to 29,000 traffic counts per AADT.
Contact: Tom Boyd, Re/Max Crossroads Commercial, in cooperation with CBRE/Charlottesville 540.812.9033 or firstname.lastname@example.org