Monday, December 9th, 2019
Middle Georgia State University (MGA), in partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex (WR-ALC) at Robins Air Force Base, is launching a Center for Software Innovation, designed to identify software development projects that will elevate regional companies, nonprofits, startups, and other organizations.
MGA and WR-ALC leaders, along with special guests, formally opened the Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the University’s Warner Robins Campus on Thursday, Dec. 5.
Thomas Hall on the Warner Robins Campus will serve as the Center’s base of operations. MGA President Dr. Christopher Blake and WR-ALC Commander Brigadier General John C. Kubinec signed a partnership agreement during the ceremony.
The launch represents the first phase of the project. MGA and its partners will expand the Center over time.
“Our students will gain the opportunity to help solve real-world problems and connect with public organizations and businesses in an innovative environment and increase their employability,” said Blake. “The community benefits through more high paying jobs in the area, more employers in the region, and more opportunities for economic development.”
“This is an important step moving forward on a promising software partnership between MGA, the community and Robins Air Force Base,” said Col. Brian R. Moore, the 78th Air Base Wing and installation commander. “This collaboration will help integrate academic insights into community and Robins software innovation challenge areas.”
Dr. Alex Koohang, dean of MGA’s School of Computing said he expects the Center to be part of a regional innovation ecosystem that will support the business community and the Air Force through the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex. “Our business partners, WR-ALC, and service personnel will gain access to innovative solutions to software-focused problems,” he said. “Solutions will emphasize user-centered design and a quick turnaround.”
For example, Koohang said, the center is beginning to work with a community health clinic to develop software solutions to help with scheduling. A sophisticated software solution can take multiple variables into account – the schedules of both doctors and patients, the different specialties of each physician, – and help the clinic set up appointments between patients and the appropriate doctor much more efficiently.
The WR-ALC is one of the major units of Robins Air Force Base. It performs depot-level maintenance and repairs on a wide variety of Air Force equipment and weapons systems. The Center for Software Innovation partnership is the continuation of a long-standing relationship between MGA and the units based at Robins. In May, Blake was named an honorary commander of the 78th Air Base Wing by the unit’s then-commanding officer and installation commander, Col. Lyle Drew.
MGA expects a variety of people to use the Center for Software Innovation. Besides University students and faculty and WR-ALC personnel, they include business owners, managers, and employees, and representatives of nonprofits. Through continuing education courses, special training sessions and more, participants will collaborate on software solutions and return to their employers, classes, and organizations to address specific challenges.
School of Computing faculty and students will donate their time to Center initiatives as a service to the region. Koohang said business partners and others will help provide resources to help sustain the Center’s operations.