2014 Laboratory Director of the Year Mid-Atlantic

2014 Laboratory Director of the Year Mid-Atlantic

In June 2013, the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) unveiled a groundbreaking technology designed to transform the way the nation, and eventually the world, destroys stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. The Field Deployable Hydrolysis System (FDHS) is the first self-sufficient, high-throughput neutralization system that can be transported to an onsite location and be operational within 10 days of arrival. More than 50 ECBC scientists, engineers, and technicians worked at unprecedented speed to design, develop, and transition the FDHS to the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) in just six months. As JPEO-CBD deploys the FDHS in response to world events, ECBC scientists, engineers, and technicians are already exploring a wealth of potential spinoff technologies suitable for transfer to industry.

ECBC’s full court press on the FDHS epitomizes the leadership of Joseph Wienand, Director of ECBC since 2010. Through his leadership, Mr. Wienand has created an environment in which scientists and engineers seek partners with industry, academia, and government when their ideas are still in their infancy. Off post, his exuberance, accessibility and collaborative viewpoint have opened the door to a groundswell of interest in ECBC and an increasingly diverse range of partners.

Mr. Wienand quickly established technology transfer as one of his highest priorities, including it as one of three major goals in ECBC’s strategic plan. Employee training on tools and processes followed, along with extensive outreach to ECBC managers by his technology transfer staff to ensure that ECBC’s scientists, engineers, and technicians fully realized the benefits of pushing their intellectual property.

His determination to “push knowledge outside the fence” has greatly increased ECBC’s visibility and influence with industry, state and local government, academia, and others in the region. He collaborated with Harford County Office of Economic Development to establish a Technology Transfer Office in the Harford Business Innovation Center to work in concert with Army technology transfer personnel throughout Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Mr. Wienand’s outreach to academia also opens doors to potential collaborations. For example, ECBC signed an Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the University of MarylandBaltimore in July 2013, establishing an internship program in which students earn credit for conducting advanced research and development at ECBC. The center also entered into an EPA with Harford Community College to expand the partners’ collaborations on an array of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education initiatives. Both agreements give ECBC greater access to entrepreneurial students and professors who might one day become technology transfer partners.

Award Year: 
Region: 
Mid-Atlantic