Technology services and innovation company announces move to BRIC.

WACO, TX - Birkeland Current, a five-year-old technology services and innovation company has signed a lease that will place its management and technical operations in an approximately 1500-square-foot office and research space in the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative.

Birkeland Current founder and owner, John Fitch, says the move to the BRIC is the next stage in his and the company's relationship with Baylor, which includes an ongoing, privately funded partnership to study carbon fiber composite materials.

"I've been active with Baylor for a long time," Fitch said. "We've had six or seven interns so far, and we've hired two electrical engineering students out of Baylor. So we're pretty closely tied. [The BRIC] is a great model and we're taking advantage of that. It's a mutual relationship that's very much what was envisioned for the BRIC.

Dr. Truell Hyde, Baylor Vice Provost for Research echoed that assessment.

"Birkeland Current is a great fit for the BRIC and John is a remarkable person," Hyde said. "We already have a successful track record of working together, and what Birkeland brings their clients overlays well with the BRIC mission and structure. Most importantly, the company brings a wealth of high-caliber know-how to the BRIC campus. We're excited to have them aboard."

The Rice-trained astrophysicist and engineer founded the company in 2009 after a 20-year career in the space science and aerospace industries that included top-level technical leadership positions on two major NASA-funded astronomy projects: the now-legendary Hubble Space Telescope and the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). It was experience gained on those and many other difficult projects that taught Fitch how to resolve near-impossible challenges and quickly carry an idea through the early stages of development.

"We deal with a lot of clients who are able to build successful businesses, but they don't know how to move new ideas forward effectively," he said. "The whole idea was to help folks get from the basic concept stage to what I call a 'de-risked' product - not necessarily a finished product, but to a point where they can make decisions based on good data, good projections, and then move forward from there."

Recently, Birkeland Current partnered with Pruf LED, an LED lighting services and manufacturing company, to develop lighting and energy controls that greatly reduce energy costs for large office and industrial facilities. When both companies realized their technology was complementary, a jointly held company - Pruf Energy Controls - was formed to further develop the technology and to market the new class of automated energy monitoring and control systems that track power usage with unprecedented precision and detail.

That kind of market momentum helps give Birkeland Current the heft of a much larger company, and Fitch sees the new BRIC location as enhancing that position.

"Although we may be a small, innovative company, we've been around a lot of technology and a lot of technology development. Moving to the BRIC gives us 'reach-back' into Baylor for additional expertise in a technology if we need it. There's great depth there," Fitch said. "It's a great opportunity."

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.