GE Aviation and the University of Dayton are holding a grand opening ceremony Friday for a $53 million research facility called the Electrical Power Integrated Systems Center, or Episcenter. The high-tech 138,000 square foot facility at UD's campus represents a new chapter for product development at GE and an economic boost for the Dayton region.
In the past, an airplane manufacturer, like Boeing, would create a design for a product, then other companies would bid to then develop the product. Now, the company can get in early on the development and testing of airplane electrical systems and collaborate with airplane manufacturers. The expansive facility can hold an entire airplane wing, and will house computer simulations and product testing in its laboratories.
Vic Bonneau with GE Aviation says 70 people, mostly engineers, are already employed at the Episcenter. He says this part of a long term investment in the Dayton area.
"We’re not here for the next two years. We’re trying to build this for the next 50 years for the people who will come after us and after them for and use the space and hopefully do good work and invent new things that will solve problems," says Bonneau.
Depending on future projects, Bonneau says 200 more jobs may be possible in the next five years. This is already huge industry in Southwest, Ohio. GE has a jet engine facility in Evendale and a systems plant in Vandalia. It employs about 9,000 people in the region.