UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State and RJ Lee Group signed a memorandum of understanding Aug. 17 at the Penn State Hotel and Conference Center to expand and strengthen their long-term collaboration in areas that have historically included materials and transportation.
RJ Lee Group, a leading industrial forensics analytical laboratory headquartered in Pittsburgh, will open a laboratory at 310 Innovation Boulevard in Innovation Park. Still under development, the 310 building is slated for completion in November 2017, and RJ Lee Group expects to open its 2,700-square-foot facility in December 2017.
“Recently, we made the decision to open a new facility in Innovation Park at Penn State as we look to team with local industry, as well as with Penn State,” said Richard Lee, founder and president of RJ Lee Group.
RJ Lee Group plans to initially hire 10 full-time scientists and technicians to work out of the Innovation Park facility once construction is completed.
“We are very excited to sign this memorandum of understanding with Penn State and firmly believe it will lead to numerous opportunities for increased collaboration in materials, transportation, information sciences, life sciences, agriculture, energy and advanced additive manufacturing,” Lee said.
“We’re thrilled to welcome another industry leader to Innovation Park to fulfill its mission of industry collaboration for the purpose of moving great ideas to the marketplace,” said Neil Sharkey, Penn State’s vice president for research.
RJ Lee Group also recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Morgan Advanced Materials. “We see numerous opportunities for analytical services and forensic analysis for Morgan’s Carbon Science Center of Excellence as well as their production facilities,” said Lee.
Morgan Advanced Materials, a global leader in advanced carbon and ceramic materials, will establish its Carbon Science Centre of Excellence (CoE) at 310 Innovation Boulevard.
“Morgan Advanced Materials welcomes the new laboratory being established by RJ Lee at Innovation Park," said Phillip Armstrong, CoE lead. "As we develop new materials and technologies, partnering with experts in testing diagnostics and methodologies is fundamental, and working with RJ Lee is an important part of our plans.”
Lee indicated that in addition to Morgan Advanced Materials, the close proximity to Penn State’s CIMP-3D and the additive manufacturing community in Innovation Park provide the opportunity to develop collaborations and apply RJ Lee Group's extensive capabilities in powdered metal characterization in this rapidly growing field.
“The additions of RJ Lee Group and Morgan Advanced Materials to our local industry ecosystem, and their collaboration with Penn State’s advanced materials community, reinforces that this area is quickly becoming a vibrant hub for advanced materials and additive manufacturing innovation,” said Jeff Fortin, associate vice president for research and director of the Office of Industrial Partnerships at Penn State.
“RJ Lee Group sees State College as the ideal location for its new facility due to its proximity to Penn State’s state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, faculty and staff as subject matter experts and students,” said David Crawford, vice president, RJ Lee Group. “We hope to bring research opportunities to Penn State via new and ongoing projects with our base of over 1,600 clients worldwide. In addition, we see Penn State as an ideal partner for commercialization of intellectual property developed at the University.”
RJ Lee Group also plans to develop its own new technologies, which could potentially lead to new facilities and additional job creation in the region.
“We have a long history of developing and commercializing technology, including the first automated scanning electron microscope, a process for tire recycling into a range of useful products, and the standardized test kit for gunpowder residue detection. Looking ahead, we are developing technologies such as ISETS, a bomb threat detection technology, and SEAMS, a big data integration technology developed under DoD funding,” said Crawford. “We anticipate creating 25-30 additional jobs here over the next three years as we commercialize these and related products and software.”
“There is excitement about the near-term and future economic impact potential of RJ Lee Group’s decision to locate in the county,” said Vern Squier, president and CEO of the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County.
Squier said the CBICC will help to connect RJ Lee Group with local businesses, and is prepared to assist the company with its future growth needs.
“Working with RJ Lee Group on matters related to engagement with the local community has been a distinct component of this recruitment project, as the company sees its investment extending beyond the lease agreement and initial jobs that will be created,” Squier said.