The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

June 15, 2013

Madison County a high-tech hub

ANDERSON, Ind. — Did you know there’s futuristic, Star Trek-style tech gear being built right here in Madison County?

Producing everything from lasers to software, fuel efficient cars to advanced germ fighters, the county is home to innovative problem-solvers and tech gurus, many drawn from the long local history with manufacturing, engineering and technology.

“This area is still a repository for some very gifted people in electrical and mechanical engineering,” many of whom have trickled into the companies at the Flagship Enterprise Center and business park, said CEO Chuck Staley. “Several of them are on our board and serve as mentors and guides to many young companies.”

The five-building, nearly 300,000-square-foot Flagship exists, “to be a premier technology based business center, creating, growing and attracting jobs, and contributing to the long-term economic development,” he said, for the city, county and all of Indiana. And, in many cases, that means big flashy, high-tech gadgets that might fit aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Whether through its micro-loan program or business incubation, Flagship has played at least a small part in the development of everything from software to military defense technology, such as Coeus Technology’s Monofoil, a high-tech anti-microbial that prevents the reproduction of icky things like staph, E. coli, MRSA, H1N1, fungi and black mold.

“While we do not require our companies to be technology driven, many are,” Staley said. “Our sweet spot is, and always has been, power electronics, energy storage, advanced manufacturing, software development/consulting and electrical engineering.” For example:

Boosting fuel economy

In the green-tech vein is EchoDrive, developed by Echo Automotive, whose automotive battery and electric vehicle technology development occupies Bright Automotive’s old space at Flagship.

The aftermarket, bolt-on EchoDrive converts fleet vehicles, notably the Ford 250 van, into plug-in electric hybrids, enabling them to travel up to 100 miles per six- to eight-hour charge. The “revolutionary cost-reduction platform,” Staley said, was hailed by the National Truck Equipment Association as “Most Innovative Product” earlier this year.

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