New science and technology foundation positioned to support catalytic growth opportunities at WestGate@Crane Technology Park

Established in late 2021 by a consortium of key regional organizations, the Uplands Science and Technology Foundation (USTF) is a nonprofit research foundation dedicated to enhancing the vitality of WestGate@Crane Technology Park (WestGate). The USTF will lead the physical development of WestGate as an innovation district and grow the park’s capabilities in emerging technology areas such as microelectronics, artificial intelligence, and hypersonics.

Joe Carley, who currently serves as Indiana University’s Director for Economic Development and the Director for Strategic Partnerships at the IU Center for Rural Engagement (CRE), will serve as the USTF’s Interim CEO. Carley will lead USTF on a loan basis from IU.

“I’m honored to serve the Uplands region in this role and to build on the work of the many partners who have helped make WestGate Technology Park a unique asset for our state,” said Carley. “Throughout the process of creating USTF, we’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best minds in the country on building innovation communities, and I believe that we have a roadmap for WestGate that has the potential to be transformative for the region and the state.”

IU Vice President for Government Relations and Economic Engagement Bill Stephan added, “IU has a deep interest in ensuring that the regions around our campuses grow and prosper.” “We are pleased to be able to provide support for this important initiative and look forward to seeing USTF become a vital partner for Crane and the Indiana economic development community.”

WestGate is located outside the gates of Naval Support Activity Crane, the 3rd largest Naval installation in the world. The park is currently home to more than 50 organizations and more than 850 employees.

The formation of the USTF follows the completion of a master plan for WestGate by TEConomy Partners and Perkins + Will. These two firms have previously collaborated on master plans for other technology parks in close proximity to defense installations, including a master plan for Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, AL.

Since the completion of the master plan, the steering committee of regional and state leaders has worked closely with The University Financing Foundation (TUFF) on implementing the plan’s vision. TUFF, a national expert on developing research parks and innovation districts, is advising USTF on governance, programming, and real estate matters.

Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) led the process of charting a new roadmap for WestGate over the past two years. Tina Peterson, ROI’s President and CEO, will serve as the Chair of the USTF Board of Directors. Peterson said, “never has the potential of WestGate been more relevant and significant than at this moment. With defense sector growth in the Uplands 68 times greater than that seen across the nation, the Indiana Uplands has an important role to play in ensuring we have both the ecosystem and the assets necessary for technological innovation to thrive for the benefit of our state and our nation. WestGate is positioned to become one of our country’s most influential research destinations, and the USTF will be instrumental in catalyzing innovative activities at WestGate.”

The USTF will complement the WestGate Authority and Purdue@WestGate by providing leadership for the park’s physical development, marketing and attraction functions, and innovation and engagement activities. Greg Deason, Senior Vice President of Alliances and Placemaking at Purdue Research Foundation, and John Mensch, President of the WestGate Authority, will serve on the USTF Board along with other economic development, university, and defense leaders.

About the Indiana Uplands

In a region replete with talent and resources, Uplanders—from students to visionaries, artisans to entrepreneurs—are competitive and thriving here and worldwide. Uplands families, a dedicated workforce, and a tide of trailblazers call our 11 counties home. Home of industry and determination, innovation and creativity, good friends, and reliable neighbors. Our home is Uplands Made. Our counties are Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington. Learn more at

About Regional Opportunity Initiatives

In 2015, Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded three grants to three organizations totaling $42 million to fund regional development initiatives identified in the 2014 Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana. Regional Opportunity Initiatives, formed in 2016 alongside the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement and the Indiana Innovation Institute. ROI’s mission is to grow potential and possibility in the Uplands through a focus on advanced industry sectors, regionalism, transformative school and workforce redesign, and placemaking strategies. Learn more at