It was a pleasure and an honor to be invited to the Patriot Day held at Volk Field and Fort McCoy recently. This is a yearly event sponsored by the National Guard Bureau A3 and accredited by the Joint National Training Capability (JNTC) to provide an opportunity for local, state and federal and private civilian organizations to train for national emergency events. The event helps coordinate National Guard resources with law enforcement, government and private industry to deal with simulated emergency scenarios.
I was honored to be invited as an observer from one of our client companies, WiscLift, who provides instant and long term communication capabilities should cell phone towers and internet access to a vital area be disrupted. WiscLift can rapidly launch a robust tethered drone that is capable of flying non-stop for more than a month providing communications where they are needed. WiscLift was invited to participate and display their capabilities through their work with the Department of Defense and the interest the Air Force has provided through their AFWERX SBIR program.
There were other companies at the event including extremely large and capable partners like FirstNet; as well as small SBIR type companies such as pvilion and 908devices from New York and Massachusetts respectively. These small companies provided easily deployed solar powered tents and hand-held portable mass spectrometers.
It was quite impressive to see our client, WiscLift, included in this cohort of companies selected to participate in the training exercise. I noted that they were often singled out as an example for how private industry can step forward in the case of a acute national crises. I also noted that Forest County, where WiscLift is based, was well represented at the event. I was able to visit with several of the group involved in economic development in Forest County and look forward to working with them in the future.
With this experience in mind, I would like to encourage our small companies and entrepreneurs throughout the state to explore the myriad of opportunities the Federal SBIR and STTR programs provide. We at the CTC have created a concerted effort to promote the DoD opportunities and specifically the Air Force AFWERX program as a route to become a sole source provider to the DoD.
WiscLift has started this journey and has made a strong enough impression to be invited to participate in the Patriot Exercises. We will be pleased to assist other companies throughout the state, from Milwaukee to Crandon; from Madison to Superior take advantage of these resources.