Port Hueneme, CA – The Port of Hueneme darts to the future with its cutting-edge Innovation and Technology Expo, a program that challenges industry, technology developers and college and high school students to meet industry needs with the best in technology. It all unfolds as part of the Port’s Maritime Advanced Systems & Technology Laboratory (MAST) program, an initiative designed to encourage entrepreneurs and innovators to embrace the Port as an incubator to pilot new products and foster leading-edge technology for the port and maritime environment. Today’s event drew a crowd of over 175 participants at the third annual event.
The program opened with dual tracks, one focusing in on the port security needs and the possible technological advancements to fill those gaps. Commissioner Jason Hodge, a local firefighter, charged the group up with his remarks, “The dialogue between law enforcement teams and the developers of technology promises to build a bridge necessary to protect life and critical infrastructure. We have created the venue for the dialogue here today that promises to spawn cutting-edge capabilities that align with the needs of our public safety officials. It will make all the difference.”
The second track focused on our youth and local students, helping them identify career opportunities in the maritime field specific to engineering, innovation and technology. In attendance were Oxnard High School students and STEM students from Oxnard Community College. Commissioner Mary Anne Rooney greeted the students this morning instilling them with hope for their futures, ”By attending this morning you’ll be able to observe technologies and demonstrations presented by real-life industry professionals. It is our hope that you will discover personal career direction within the Maritime industry. Discoveries that can help direct your educational paths that can lead to fulfilling career opportunities.”
The two tracks merged in the late morning with the technology expo and maritime career exhibits. Unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles, the latest in lighting technologies, surveillance and communication equipment were among some of the impressive cutting edge technologies on display and demonstration. The afternoon became a working session of critical stakeholders in public safety, industry and technology. During two breakout sessions, problem statements for industry operations and for public safety were developed to challenge the technology experts to develop the solutions.
To emphasize the goal, Port CEO and Director Kristin Decas commented, “The intent is to marry up the needs of industry and public safety officials with developers that innovate their tools and realize actionable results. We are proud to be a world-class Port seeking world-class solutions to sustain the viability of the Port and the entire community we serve.”
Officer Peter Frieberg with the Port Hueneme Police Department noted, “The panel discussions were productive and fruitful. It was a positive to have all of these knowledgeable stakeholders voicing their technology successes as well as gaps. One could feel the energy in the room with all these entrepreneurs and technologists addressing how to resolve our real-world issues.”
Exhibitors with projects at the expo included. Aerial Alchemy, AUVSI, Cal State University Channel Islands, Datastew, EDC-VC, Eyes On, Flame Sniffer, GBL, GT2-CTM, NAVFAC, the Ventura County Sheriff Department’s Bomb Squad, Perceptronics, Starlite, Stellar Biotech, the Long Beach Police Department, the Ventura County Office of Education, the Ventura County Fire Department, Virtual Port, the Oxnard Police Dive Team, Wounded Eagle, U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection, the United States Coast Guard, Ports America Inc, Del Monte Fresh, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Glovios USA, Cal Maritime Academy and Trac Tide Marine.
The MAST Lab/incubator concept was established under the leadership of the Port with the support and partnership of the Center for Threat Management and the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County (EDC-VC) as a cooperative research and development program. The Laboratory leverages the unique geographical, operational, and environmental assets inherent at the Port of Hueneme and provides collaborative stakeholders with a sustained platform for research, experimentation and testing.
Christina Birdsey the Port’s Director of the MAST program said, “We’re really excited to make our unique environment available through the MAST Lab and providing entrepreneurs and companies with a test and research platform that might not otherwise be available to them. We encourage all entrepreneurs whether in logistics, environmental protection or safety and security to take advantage of our MAST lab, we believe these partnerships will ultimately improve the maritime and port domain.”