Spotlight on Industry: Advanced Technology

The technology industry is broad-based and includes sectors such as aerospace, energy, information security, nanotechnology, robotics, software, telecommunications and electrical engineering. Advanced technology - or high tech businesses - hold tremendous growth potential as they take discoveries and commercialize them - turning R&D into marketable products and services.

We've already looked at biotechnology in Frederick, so here we will focus on the non-bio components of the advanced technology industry. Six percent of private sector occupations in the Frederick area include direct employment in computer and mathematical science, engineering and related technicians. Factor in the jobs in computer science, engineering and robotics at Fort Detrick and NCI-Frederick's nanotechnology labs and one can begin to see the significant employment impact of the advanced technology sector in our community.

This 6% does not take into account the manufacturing jobs associated with much of the advanced technology research and development that is a major component of this industry sector. Fairchild Controls is one example of an aerospace technology company that employs not only the technical research and development positions, but also the support positions in production, sales and management that comprises their workforce of 166 people.

Bechtel is one of the largest employers within this industry sector, with expertise in a wide array of sectors within the technology industry. With 2,200 Frederick-based employees, Bechtel is also one of the largest private-sector employers in Frederick County. Bechtel employees are engaged in civil and nuclear engineering, communications, energy and more.

Frederick Innovative Technology Center (FITCI) - a technology incubator in Frederick - fosters innovation not only in bioscience, but in advanced technologies as well. Two recent FITCI graduates are great examples of the innovative advanced technologies under development in Frederick. Widearea Systems is a convergence technology company that develops and markets secure unified communications software and hardware solutions for corporate enterprise and government agencies. WGS Systems provides products and services to the US intelligence, military and homeland security organizations, specializing in engineering and scientific support, systems engineering and development. They are a premier developer of integrated surveillance and reconnaissance systems. And another FITCI client - Kinetic Revolutions - is applying a range of technologies to the development of orthotic and prosthetic devices.

In this 21st century knowledge-based economy, the advanced technology industry sector plays an increasingly important role in our economy and Frederick is well positioned for continued growth in this sector through innovation and entrepreneurship.