Suffolk’s Lighthouse makes a good impression

Published 5:26 pm Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation in North Suffolk hosted a tour for visitors from the Suffolk Department of Economic Development, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance on July 18.

The visit was part of a familiarization tour for new VEDP business investment team staff as standard protocol for new employees.

The center is also known as “the Lighthouse” for its 40-foot recreation of a 19th century lighthouse that’s located inside the facility’s expansive atrium.

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The Lighthouse was designed as a 50,000-square-foot laboratory utilized for Lockheed Martin’s investment in research and development programs and infrastructure. The space provides a cutting-edge environment to test ideas, analyze concepts and collaborate on innovations for government clients.

“Lockheed Martin built the Center for Innovation in the Hampton Roads region because this is where our customers are concentrated, from every branch of the military to NASA and many others,” Director Greg Nosal wrote in an email. “The region provides an exceptional place to work and access to a qualified talent pool, and we are glad to support the efforts of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.”

The visitors were guided through a one-hour tour of the Lighthouse that included briefings on some of its past experiments and events, Project Manager Bill Frunzi wrote in an email.

The Lighthouse’s team of system architects, engineers, experiment designers and other experts help to foster collaborations between parties in government, business, national laboratories and academia. Participants were briefed on the Lighthouse’s multi-use venues, donned virtual reality and augmented reality goggles for some interactive demonstrations and witnessed the application of visualization tools on site, including 3D mapping.

Laura Hayes, the vice president of business development for HREDA, was part of the July 18 tour group and was thoroughly impressed by the presentation.

“While many know Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company, it is difficult to fully understand the impact the company has on the nation’s security,” Hayes wrote in an email.  “Who knew so much of our military defense technologies and equipment is designed and perfected in our backyard?  The Center for Innovation is another example of how our region is home to some of the brightest and most passionate engineers, information technology specialists and military leaders creating tomorrow’s technology.”