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NSWC Crane Commanding Officer Named Laboratory Director Of The Year
Updated January 23, 2017 7:05 AM
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(CRANE) - Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division Commanding Officer Capt. JT Elder was named the Laboratory Director of the Year by the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) on Friday.

Each year since 1999, the FLC National Advisory Council has honored Laboratory Directors who have made outstanding contributions to support technology transfer (T2) activities in their organizations and the communities they serve. Capt. Elder earned this year's award because of his unwavering support of NSWC Crane's T2 efforts.

Capt. Elder is the just the third winner of the award from any Naval Surface Warfare Center, and the first since NSWC Crane's Duane Embree won it in 2013. Capt. Elder will receive his award on April 26 at the Omni San Antonio Hotel.

"I am both honored and humbled to win such a prestigious award, but this is a recognition of all the work done at Crane, not work done by me alone," Capt. Elder said. "T2 is and will continue to be an important part of what we're doing here at NSWC Crane. Not only does T2 allow our current and former employees the opportunity to use intellectual property they're familiar with to build commercial products, but it also has a significant impact on the regional economy. I look forward to continuing to work with those in our T2 office as we strive to reach our goals."

Since assuming command in June 2014, Capt. Elder has helped elevate NSWC Crane's T2 program to an unprecedented level in terms of numbers of signed T2 agreements, strategic partnerships with state organizations, universities, and industry, and the size and quality of the lab's intellectual property (IP) portfolio. NSWC Crane currently has 152 signed T2 Agreements and 514 items in its IP portfolio.

"Capt. Elder has expanded and elevated the efforts started by his predecessors to work with the Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA) and transform Crane's T2 function into one of the lab's showcase areas of achievement," said Brooke Pyne, NSWC Crane's T2 director.

Capt. Elder's commitment to technology transfer is especially significant and noteworthy given the drastic reduction in the overhead budget for the T2 and patent program. During the fiscal year 2016, the T2 lab saw a 33 percent decrease in the number of people paid to support T2.

Instead of allowing the budget constraints to stunt the growth of the program, Capt. Elder did everything in his power to encourage more people to get involved with T2 at Crane.

"Capt. Elder continued to champion the T2 program and has fostered a culture of innovation and collaboration within the lab," Pyne said. "Capt. Elder was able to meet the fiscal and organizational challenges through focused staff selections that provided a balanced team for the program. He promotes T2 whenever he speaks with an actual or potential industry partner, and he makes sure that the organizations understand the benefits of cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs), as well as patents and patent licensing agreements (PLAs)."

Under Capt. Elder's leadership, NSWC Crane's IP portfolio has increased by over 40 percent, and Crane's CRADAs and PLAs have hit record numbers. In addition, the processing time for T2 agreements, which used to take multiple months, has been cut to just weeks.

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with focus areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's warfighter.

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