Reese Technology Center (RTC) is a campus centered in technology, research, engineering, education, and light manufacturing.
Reese Technology Center brings aerospace company to Lubbock
By R.S. Douglas | Lubbock Avalanche Journal
No longer just an old Air Force base, the Reese Technology Center has evolved into one of the region’s foremost research hubs and will soon add an aerospace company to the mix.
Wyle, a privately owned, multi-disciplined engineering and technical services company, is expected to open a testing facility at the Reese Center early next year. “Wyle coming to Reese really compliments and makes a statement about all the work that the people, from the day it was (decommissioned) to today, have achieved,” said Bill Miller, Executive Director of the Reese Center.
The newest addition to the Reese campus will perform airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor analysis as well as other testing required for aerospace technology, said James Bolin, Wyle’s advanced projects test and engineering sector manager. “We primarily provide engineering and test services to (Department of Defense) and commercial customers,” he said. “My unit mainly focuses on mission systems test for commercial and DOD customers.” While ground testing is what Wyle will likely use the Reese Center location for, flight simulation and even drone testing are possible.
“Not in the immediate future. It’s a possibility for future development, but there are no plans for flight operations or flight tests at this time,” Bolin said. “At this point, what we do is provide support to test services.”
Still, an aerospace company that sells advanced technology to the federal government setting up shop in the middle of the Texas Panhandle may seem odd, but Lubbock is actually an ideal location.
“Lubbock is in a large, flat area which makes it ideal for sensor testing because we don’t have any line-of-sight restrictions when we’re conducting tests,” Bolin said. “There are large, vacant runways that give us great test opportunities.”
Several factors played into the company choosing Lubbock as its newest location, including the flat terrain of West Texas, but the Reese Center’s experience with similar companies helped to seal the deal.
“Bill Miller’s enthusiasm in partnering with other technically sound companies and working with academia — it seemed like a perfect fit for us,” Bolin said. Seeing the Reese Center’s unique features as an added benefit is evidence that Wyle is “forward thinking,” said Brian Kimberly, the technology center’s director of business development. “They think well outside the box, and that’s what you have to do here at Reese to see past the former Air Force base,” he said. “We have to think outside the box and be creative.” After being selected for closure by the government in 1995 and closed in 1997, the Air Force base was transformed into a major research campus occupied by Texas Tech, South Plains College and companies studying issues important to the region. From wind energy to boll weevil eradication, the Reese Center aims to develop a collaborative community focused on research that compliments the area, Miller said.
While Wyle will only have a handful of employees working at the site, Bolin said the company plans to hire a full-time site manager from the Lubbock area as well as a few part-time workers.