SkyWater, which specializes in the development and manufacturing of integrated circuits, will take over the operation of the Center of NeoVation from the University of Central Florida. UCF is surrendering its obligations and investment under the existing lease agreement. BRIDG will remain as a non-profit partner to attract industry collaboration, while also fulfilling, and building upon, existing Department of Defense contracts.
The SkyWater contract strengthens current partnerships in NeoCity, including imec, TEL, Siemens and SUSS. Commissioners expect Skywater, based in Bloomington, Minn., to build on those relationships and to expand upon them – including fulfillment of ongoing contracts with the Department of Defense.
SkyWater will also move into the OC office building and bring with them high tech jobs including technicians, equipment engineers, and process engineers. Former BRIDG employees will have the opportunity to be interviewed for available positions with SkyWater, officials said.
We are thrilled with SkyWater’s understanding of NeoCity’s goals to transform our economy with high-paying technology jobs. They have the specific expertise to advance the County’s objectives. We believe they have the capabilities to maximize our investment and continue the ground-breaking work BRIDG laid the foundation for over the last several years. My thanks go out to the team that was able to bring this deal to a successful conclusion so quickly. We look forward to an exciting future with SkyWater as our vision for NeoCity continues forward.
The agreement will run through October 2044. Shared goals of the partnership include:
· Operating the Center of NeoVation to its full potential
· The resumption of BRIDG as a non-profit
· The investment of millions of dollars into NeoCity
· Applying for the proposed new Federal Advanced Packaging National Manufacturing Institute
· Creation of an estimated 220 jobs at the Center for NeoVation in the next five years
“Advanced packaging will fuel future growth of our industry and we are pleased that Congress recognizes the importance of investment in this area. We have seen a growing demand from our customers for these services and we view this partnership with Osceola County and BRIDG as a valuable opportunity to provide them with a total solution from design to manufacturing to packaging in a Trusted, secure environment,” said Thomas Sonderman, SkyWater chief executive officer. “We look forward to re-starting operations at the Center for Neovation over the next six months to drive both commercial and U.S. government programs.”
The U.S. Congress recently approved the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 (NDAA) that many hope will lead to a resurgence in chip manufacturing in the United States. The provisions include billions of dollars of financial incentives for construction or modernization of facilities “relating to the fabrication, assembly, testing, advanced packaging, or advanced research and development of semiconductors.” The Center for NeoVation is poised to capitalize on this focus.
In 2014, Osceola County, UCF, and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council entered into a partnership agreement to form BRIDG, a non-profit, public-private-partnership to operate an advanced manufacturing center to focus on microelectronics. The purpose of BRIDG was to act as a catalyst to bring high-tech, high-wage jobs to Osceola County.
Under that original agreement, Osceola County would build the infrastructure of NeoCity, which included an advanced manufacturing fabrication lab, known as the Center for NeoVation. UCF agreed to lease the Center for NeoVation for 30 years and operate it through a service agreement with BRIDG.
In 2019-20, BRIDG was successful at securing multiple Department of Defense contracts that recognized the potential of BRIDG and NeoCity as an emerging leader in securing our nation’s microelectronics supply chain. However, due to State budget cuts UCF terminated its management service agreement with BRIDG.
Following UCF’s decision to end BRIDG, Osceola County quickly began a search to find a new partner who shared the same vision for BRIDG and NeoCity as the County and the Department of Defense – one that brings high-tech, high-wage jobs to Osceola County and establishes NeoCity as a leader in advanced manufacturing of microelectronics.