Management of two regional defense firms will merge, a move company and economic development officials said will enhance the capabilities of both companies and eventually might lead to more work.
Avetec, located at the NextEdge Technology Park in Springfield, has signed a joint management agreement with the Advanced Technical Intelligence Center located in Beavercreek, said Hugh Bolton, president and CEO of ATIC. Under the agreement, Bolton will also serve as the executive director of Avetec.
“This reflects a regional commitment to support businesses and especially businesses related to national defense and intelligence,” Bolton said.
Both companies had worked together in the past, said John Landess, board chairman for Avetec. But as federal finances became tight in recent years, some of the work that had previously been available dried up. The new agreement will ideally allow both companies to use their connections and experience to secure more work and in the long term, hopefully, hire more employees.
“The whole idea is to get that building full of activity,” Landess said of Avetec’s facility at NextEdge.
Under the agreement, both companies will remain in their current locations and will report to separate boards of trustees. However, former employees of Avetec will now become employees of ATIC. Under the agreement, ATIC will have 12 full-time employees. Avetec’s board will continue to manage their current facility.
Landess said Avetec had several part-time employees. The two full-time positions that will now fall under ATIC will include a research scientist position and a legal counsel that had conducted business development work, among other duties for Avetec.
Both companies have different roles, and the management deal means they will be able to combine resources to serve the defense industry in both communities, said Maurice McDonald, executive vice president for aerospace and defense at the Dayton Development Coalition.
“It’s a great merger and the missions are very complementary,” McDonald said.
Avetec, a non-profit research facility, focuses on high-tech data collection, along with modeling and simulation in the aviation industry. ATIC specializes in analyzing data and frequently works with higher education, business and government to provide training in that area, Bolton said.
By merging management of the two companies, Bolton said the goal will be to combine resources, cover gaps in expertise, and find opportunities to secure work in areas where their abilities overlap.
“At this time it allows us to more tightly explore joint opportunities and benefit from operational economics,” Bolton said.
The region is seeking to become one of six test sites the Federal Aviation Administration will eventually select to test unmanned aerial vehicles. The agreement will help both companies have a better opportunity to secure work in that industry if the opportunity becomes available. The Ohio/Indiana Unmanned Aerial Systems Center and Test Complex is also housed in leased office space at Nextedge in a building owned by Avetec. The site serves as a joint effort for Ohio and Indiana’s attempt to become a test site for the unmanned aerial systems.
“We’ve been looking for a partner, and this is the right opportunity,” Landess said.
The companies have different clients, but both work in the defense and aerospace industry, McDonald said. While Avetec has expertise in rapidly collecting data, ATIC specializes in analyzing information and training other industries to do the same.
“I think it provides a significant increase in connections and organizations they can partner with and potentially do work for in the future,” McDonald said.