Gov. names IYK innovation hub

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Gov. names IYK innovation hub As part of his initiative to kick-start business development in California and make the state more competitive on a national and global scale, Gov. Jerry Brown named Inyokern Airport and regional partners as the latest Innovation Hub (iHub) for innovations in defense, energy and aerospace (iDEA).

“We are so thrilled with this designation, and can’t wait to see what kinds of opportunities it affords us,” said Eileen Shibley of the China Lake Alliance, one of the drivers behind garnering the designation.

“The players in this area are already leading the state — in same cases the nation and the world — in innovation. But with an official center for incubating this puts us in partnership with some of the brightest minds and allows us to leverage the kind of technology transfer that tends to propel development forward.”

While the iDEA Hub is headquartered at Inyokern, the regional partners include Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, NASA Dryden, China Lake Alliance, China Lake High Tech Consortium, Cerro Coso Community College, Tech Venture Network, the city of Ridgecrest, Kern County, Ventura County Economic Development Association and various high-tech companies.

The initiative was codified with the recent passage of Assembly Bill 250, which establishes iHUB effort as an official program out of the Governor’s Office for Economic and Business Development (Go Biz), and creates a place for the state to allocate revenue to support programs that could bring jobs and industry to California.

“Gov. Brown is on record saying he wants to support new business ventures in the state. To do that, I think he realizes there will have to be some incentives for investment and hiring. Even though most of those specific advantages have not yet been outlined, in a way having us designated as an incubation center gives us an opportunity to communicate to the governor’s office what we need to grow jobs in California,” said Shibley.

The Democratic governor’s initiative seems to be in line with the efforts of Republican state Sen. Jean Fuller, who has been focusing for the last year on finding ways to empower the private sector.

“I visited Kish Rajan in the Go Biz officer earlier this year and encouraged him to look at our high desert area between Inyokern and Mojave,” said Fuller.

“Eileen had been working on this same issue, and I am very excited to see that our historic area has been selected for innovation.

“Look at the contributions California has already made in these areas. And when you see in one region all of the knowledgeable, experienced people who have created a culture of innovation, you want to foster that because I think there’s no limit to what they might achieve.”

Fuller said that although specific benefits from the state have not been clearly defined, “There is an inherent value in empowering industry because new development brings new money and new power to an area.”

She said that the Cal UAS Portal at Inyokern is an example of the kind of innovation that needs to be nurtured. “And it’s one of the components that makes our area attractive for this sort of designation.”

Fuller agreed that iDEA Hub players would also have a role in defining how the state can improve the economic climate to attract and retain industry.

“This gives us a place at the table as we try to develop jobs and attract industry. If we want to be on the leading edge of development in defense, energy and aerospace, we need to be a part of the discussion at the state level that defines the ways we can make those industries grow,” said Fuller.

“The governor is willing to open this door, and in talking in depth with Kish on this particular issue, I think the governor has picked someone with a lot of intellectual capital and a desire to help our state. Hopefully that will have a ripple effect on our legislators.

“I think the most valuable aspect of this designation might be the fact that we are raising the level of awareness on our state’s desperate need to support industry in the development of jobs,” said Fuller.

“In terms of showcasing what can be done in the right climate, I think our partners in this region are the perfect ambassadors,” said Shibley.

Story First Published: 2013-10-16