IU Southeast/Novaparke Partnership Launches with Redwire Announcement

13th July 2023

New Albany, IN (July 13, 2023) – The IU Southeast partnership with the Novaparke Innovation and Technology Campus took a giant step forward on Tuesday, July 11. The formal ribbon-cutting event announcing that Noveparke is officially open for business took place with the surprise announcement that Redwire Corporation would be the first tenant company.

The partnership between the Floyd County Commissioners and IU Southeast was first penned in September 2019. The agreement calls for IU Southeast students and faculty from the School of Business and School of Natural Sciences to provide consultation, and instruction on the development of business plans, pitch competitions, and laboratory operations for entrepreneurs and fledgling technology companies.

IU Southeast Chancellor Debbie Ford speaks with Bill White of the Indiana Members Credit Union and IU Southeast Board of Advisors at the Novaparke Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on July 11, 2023.

Since the origination of the MOU, work on the former Beams and O’Brien family farms has included renovations of the Whistlestop farmhouse, construction of the Conference Center, and completion of a new entrance and railroad flyover bridge to access the property from Indiana Highway 64. Renovations to the two barns, converting them into conference space, laboratories, and office areas will begin this September. The 60-acre property will house up to 16 commercial lots.

Additionally, Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority has been securing funding for the project, including a $4.2 million READI Grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Chancellor Debbie Ford, appearing in her first off-campus event since arriving at IU Southeast, heralded the partnership. “IU Southeast is dedicated to student success and our 2030 strategic plan is laser-focused on educating the next generation of talent,” said Ford. “By partnering with Novaparke, we will provide our students with invaluable opportunities to cultivate their entrepreneurial mindset and acquire practical experience for this evolving knowledge economy.”

Ford recognized Interim EVCAA Uric Dufrene, Dean David Eplion, and Sharon Allen from the School of Business, former dean of the School of Natural Science, Elaine Haub, Interim Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Alumni and External Affairs, Joe Glover, and former interim chancellor, Kelly Ryan for their leadership in establishing the partnership.

Ford noted that she previously had served as the founding president of the Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood before joining IU Southeast. “Innovation is the engine that propels progress and drives societal development,” said Ford. “Through our collaboration with Novaparke, we will create a vibrant ecosystem that nurtures creativity, encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, and supports cutting-edge research.”

Ford said specific services provided by IU Southeast would include pre-accelerator consultation services to both the public and students, as well as through activities including business plan development, market validation, prototype development, and an introduction to business-related services including accounting, legal and human resources.  “IU Southeast will provide entrepreneurial workshops and consultation services to tenants in Novaparke’s STEAM Incubator facility,” she said. “By integrating academic knowledge with real-world opportunities, our students will gain a deeper understanding of the practical application of their studies, making them better prepared and ready to lead.”

“The IU Southeast School of Business is extremely excited to partner with Novaparke,” said David Eplion, dean of the School of Business. “The most vibrant communities across our country have a strong entrepreneurial core.  One key to developing that core is to have business, government, and higher education collaborate.  Novaparke is a glowing example of this type of partnership,” he said.

“This facility will allow the faculty and students of IU Southeast to work with budding entrepreneurs and small business owners from all over our entire service region.  We look forward to helping these businesses grow and to developing enduring relationships with them as we work together to ensure our community thrives,” said Eplion.

Redwire, a leader in infrastructure for the next-generation space economy, announced they will invest $8.9 million in a state-of-the-art, 35,000 sq. ft. facility which will house Redwire as well as Floyd County Innovation Lab space and an additional $6.7 million in new equipment. Construction will start in fall 2023 with the new space opening in early 2025.

Rich Bowling, Jeff McCaffrey, Melanie Stumler Northup, Brad Striegel, John Schellenberger, Bob Woosley, John Vellinger, Jason Sharp, Don Lopp, Chancellor Debbie Ford, Dana Huber, and David Watkins participate in the official ribbon cutting for Novaparke on July 11, 2023.

Redwire Corporation is a leader in space infrastructure with valuable intellectual property for solar power generation and in-space 3D printing and manufacturing. Senior Vice President, John Vellinger said Redwire plans to offer “opportunities for microgravity research, in-space manufacturing, and development of new technologies.” He made note of recent developments in the production of human tissue, such as meniscus tissue, using specialized 3D printing in a micro-gravity environment aboard the International Space Center. “That’s an Indiana entrepreneur’s innovation at the International Space Station. This is just one example of some of the groundbreaking work that Redwire has accomplished,” said Vellinger.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Ford emphasized the importance of collaborations between the government, higher education, public, and private partners. “I am very impressed with the high levels of collaboration, and the vision for Novaparke,” she said. “IU Southeast is thrilled to be a part of advancing big ideas, leveraging expertise, and creating this innovation ecosystem where we will live, work, learn, and play. Together, we can forge a future defined by progress, creativity, and prosperity.”

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