GE Aviation EPISCenter

Some Universities Establish Partnerships. We Build Them.

Brick and Mortarboard

To build an “intellectual heart and soul,” you need a lot of bricks — 160,000.

In 2013, GE opened the GE Aviation Electrical Power Integrated Systems Center (EPISCenter), “the intellectual heart and soul” of GE Aviation’s electrical power business, said Lorraine A. Bolsinger, former president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems.

Those bricks — twice the size of residential bricks — tell a small part of the story that’s greater than the four stories or 139,000 square feet of office and lab space they enclose.

It starts with a partnership.

In 2010, the University and GE Aviation announced plans to build a new research center on University land, a former brownfield where NCR once built cash registers.

The partnership is bolstered by the University’s ties in the research community and by the strength of the region’s innovation infrastructure.

Vic Bonneau, president of Electrical Power Systems for GE Aviation, said that among the values of partnering with the University is location, which is central to GE Aviation Systems’ three existing Miami Valley business locations as well as its Air Force customer, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and the GE Aviation engine complex.

Another value to our partnership.

The University of Dayton Research Institute’s reputation in aviation research and the nearly $100 million a year it attracts for funded research adds value to our partnership.

People and their talent are added benefits.

“We are always on the lookout for new talent,” Bonneau said. “In this case, the talent that we are talking about generally comes from advanced degree engineers, people with master’s degrees and Ph.D.'s. UDRI and UD are excellent sources of this kind of talent.”

Partnerships benefit our community.

Mickey McCabe, former VP for Research, recognized that the benefits of this partnership would extend to the people of the Miami Valley.

“Collaborative efforts between GE and UD through the EPISCenter to develop new integrated electric power systems for aircraft will result in new jobs not only at the EPISCenter and at UD but also at the manufacturing facility in Vandalia (Ohio) where the R&D investment is returned as new products for GE to sell,” he said. This “hub of activity” will attract other companies to the region.

Research at the lab includes computer modeling, simulation, and analysis of advanced, dynamic electric power systems design and controls.

Inside the EPISCenter, University of Dayton graduate students work on design modeling and testing of aviation electrical systems alongside GE Aviation engineering teams.

“We plan to provide, through UDRI, over $1 million a year in R&D funding to pay for those students,” Bonneau said. “They’ll be part of our design teams for their master’s work.”

University professors, researchers and students will be tapped for their expertise on specific projects, and they will also participate in design reviews for GE Aviation customers. “Our goal is to develop relationships with young researchers who would then want to work for us,” Bonneau said.

Today, the economic impact of the $51 million building, owned by the University and leased to GE Aviation, is a reality. It was realized before it opened when the project employed 17 subcontractors, plus designers and GE vendors. At the height of construction, the daily payroll of $35,000 helped support the families of 120 workers.

Adapted from "Brick and Mortarboard" (2013). News Releases. Paper 405, eCommons, University of Dayton.


Connect with Me

As dean of the School of Engineering, I am privileged to watch our students growing into engineers dedicated to a better world for us all. At the University of Dayton, we're committed to supporting student success by providing opportunities that connect learning, research and scholarship with leadership and service — the Catholic, Marianist tradition.

With our shared knowledge, we can continue to transform engineering education to prepare our students for even greater success.

Eddy Rojas
Dean of the School of Engineering

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