BEL AIR, Md. -- Aberdeen Proving Ground’s focus is shifting toward a hub for science and technology, and the Army is searching for business partners to help achieve that goal.

The APG Showcase kicked off June 22 as Army leaders, defense contractors, educators and Harford County government officials convened at Harford Technical High School’s Amoss Center.

Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and senior APG commander, concluded the event’s first day as he shared his vision for the installation.

“I see the scope of what’s out there,” Justice said. “Get a vision in your mind of what’s going to happen in two years, five years, seven years, 10 years to this community. Imagine the change that will occur.”

APG’s demographics have changed from a mix of research, development and testing personnel and young Soldiers learning trades at the Army Ordnance School to highly skilled and educated civilians working in communications, electronics, chemical-biological defense and vehicle testing and evaluation, Justice said.

Justice compared APG’s future to the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, where universities, private companies and government scientists collaborate to create a high-tech zone.

John O’Brien, RDECOM’s associate director for the Small Business Programs, said the event allows defense contractors of all sizes to share their capabilities.

Fifty-five defense contractors, the Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland engineering schools, Harford County government and four APG organizations set up exhibits.

“The main focus is for industry to hear from our technical organizations about forecasted opportunities to work and partner with us,” O’Brien said. “Bringing government and businesses in a forum like this [allows everyone] to network, share information and collaborate.”

“Many subcontracting opportunities have been expanded through networking with larger businesses. Those partnerships are generated by the introduction that this forum brings. This is the major event that APG hosts [for contracting],” he said.

The event continues June 23 with presentations on contracting opportunities from Communications"Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; Edgewood Chemical Biological Center; Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense; Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity; Army Test and Evaluation Command; Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense; Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications Tactical; and Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors.