By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana
Photographs from Naval Support Activity Crane’s early years contain some familiar images that we can still see today at the installation—from the original command office at Building One to vast acres dotted with munitions storage—there is much that could transport us back in time. But time, and Crane, have marched on at a blistering pace.
Over the years, Crane has continued to evolve to fulfill rapidly-changing mission requirements and is home to the only federal research laboratory in Indiana. It has also become a vital part of the our regional economy and plays an important role as valued community partner. Crane’s evolution from its original designation as an ammunitions depot to now a prime location for new missions and programs is evident from several recent headlines.
Last month, Crane announced projections to hire 850 new employees above attrition during the next three years, ranging from highly-skilled to blue-collar positions. This builds on the over 400 new jobs already announced in the last quarter of 2018, with new employees coming to both of Crane’s largest tenants, Crane Army Ammunition Activity and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.
Crane was also chosen as the location for a new Underwater Launch Test Facility to support the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s strategic mission and a recently completed a new flexible manufacturing facility for Crane Army, which is a multi-million dollar investment to upgrade existing workplaces and increase efficiency in advanced manufacturing.
Last week, the Office of Navy Research, Development, and Acquisition named Crane as one of only five national “Naval X Tech Bridges.” As the Midwest bridge, it will work to better connect the Department of Defense with the private sector. Crane will collaborate with innovators, academics, small businesses to bring solutions more quickly to national security problems. The Tech Bridge, which will operate from Bloomington and WestGate@Crane Technology Park, also gives organizations a chance to seek financial backing through grants and other forms of funding.
From monumental developments in technology and new facilities to an adaptive workforce that is among the best and brightest in the industry, Crane’s capability to grow and change keeps it as relevant today as it was at its commissioning in 1941. It is certain that Crane’s ongoing evolution will continue to make an impact on our region and bring new opportunities for growth.