REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command was recently recognized by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama for its role in moving the state forward as a leader in research and development.

USASMDC/ARSTRAT was recognized Sept. 27 during the third annual Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference in Hoover, Ala.

"The U.S. Army was recognized by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama at the conference as one of the top 10 patent producers in the state of Alabama for the time period, contributing to the state's innovation economy," said Susan D. McRae, SMDC Office of Research and Technology Applications. "SMDC/ARSTRAT patent producers noted were: Jeff Craver, Pete Kirkland, Dimitrios Lianos, Dr. Bob McMillan, Kevin Nash, and Dr. Mark Rader.

"I am very proud of all of our past inventors over the past 40 years, not just this particular group," she added. "Because not only have most of them created their inventions and associated patent documentation on their own personal time, but they have also selflessly assigned all the invention rights to our command and the government as a whole. Technology development is really the lifeblood of our command; it's what makes a difference and gives our Soldiers the edge, and we should never forget that."

Angela Wier, an EDPA vice president, said the awards were created to recognize the state's start-ups, investors, researchers, incubators and entities that patent their inventions because they collectively create thousands of high-wage jobs. During the ceremony, the EDPA presented 82 awards.

"In Alabama, we do a very good job celebrating the recruitment of industry into the state and the expansion of existing businesses," Wier said. "We recognize that we have a diverse base of technology-rich small companies that collectively create quality jobs for Alabamians. Often, they are off the radar. We want to put the contributors to Alabama's innovation economy on everyone's radar.

"The conference is about learning to celebrate the small successes that collectively drive an innovation economy," she added. "There are many players who are important to the innovation economy, and we are trying to make sure we highlight their good work and draw attention to it,"
After the ceremony McRae spoke about SMDC leadership's support as the command moves into the future.

"I'm also extremely proud of our patent attorney, Joan Gilsdorf, who works tirelessly with our inventors to advise, assist with the completion of documentation, and create meaningful additions to our intellectual property available for licensing," McRae said. "We are lucky to have such a dedicated and intelligent person in our workforce.

"Mr. (Ronald E.) Chronister, (SMDC deputy to the commanding general) has signature authority for all of SMDC/ARSTRAT's technology transfer activities, which includes oversight of the command's intellectual property portfolio," she added. "He fully recognizes the importance and contributions of these inventors to our command process, and applauds their individual success."