VICKSBURG, Miss. – Since the Waterways Experiment Station got its start nearly 100 years ago, it has been a major player in its home city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. On July 15, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Commander Col. Teresa Schlosser joined a virtual crowd at the monthly Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce luncheon to share stories about the incredible research happening in Vicksburg.
“I adore ERDC,” Schlosser told the crowd of about 30 who had dialed in for the digital get-together. “I think we do amazing things to make our nation and world a safer and better place. We have imaginations that are just amazing.”
Schlosser began with a reminder of some significant engineering endeavors that made an impact on American history. From modeling wheels for the first lunar rover to cruise the surface of the moon in 1971 to studying harbors that allowed Allied troops to storm Normandy beaches on D-Day during World War II, the engineers and scientists at ERDC have supported some of the nation’s most defining moments.
Schlosser then provided an update on ERDC’s response to COVID-19, such as building prototype makeshift hospital rooms and using supercomputers to model the spread of the coronavirus and potential vaccine options. But despite pandemic response being a new research issue to tackle, ERDC employees are still getting work done in many other areas.
“Even though we’re teleworking, we haven’t missed too much of a beat, and we’re keeping our work going,” Schlosser said. “Outside of the COVID arena, we’re still accomplishing the mission.”
She also described the concept of ERDCWERX, which was created under a Partnership Intermediary Agreement between the Department of Defense and ERDC to discover commercial opportunities that leverage the research, facilities and unique testing capability at ERDC.
“Our scientists create amazing things, but the government isn’t into manufacturing, so that’s where most research projects stop,” Schlosser explained. “Our government patents can be licensed to commercialize them and bridge that ‘valley of death.’”
“We are lucky to be the home of such an amazing asset as ERDC, and we are thankful for their commitment to our region,” said Pablo Diaz, president and CEO of the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce. “Their investment in assets and personnel continuously enriches the quality of life of all who live in Vicksburg and Warren County.”
“Our small business opportunities are here, and our tech transfer opportunities are here,” Schlosser said. “We want to continue to be a partner with Vicksburg and Warren County. You do so much to support us, and we want to return that favor.”