The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) announces the appointment of Hugh Burrell, of Dahlgren, Va., to director of the CSM Velocity Center in Indian Head. In his new role, Burrell will guide the Velocity Center and help define the vision for the area’s next catalyst for scientific and innovative workforce development in collaboration with the U.S. Navy and the community.
The CSM Velocity Center, when completed next year, will provide a professional development and learning space for students, Navy scientists, engineers and area employees to offer opportunities for entrepreneurship and experimentation, and build goodwill among the community outside the gate of Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (IHEODTD.)
Burrell said he plans to work closely with area workforce centers, the military and students to ensure that the Velocity Centers brings together innovators from all over the world.
“What I really plan to do is be the chief convener,” shared Burrell. “I want to bring people together to talk about problem-solving, bring ideas to fruition and provide a focal point for CSM students to be exposed to the idea that innovation comes from within themselves.”
Burrell brings with him more than 30 years of government, military, and science and engineering industry experience. He has worked in the aerospace, biotech, pharmaceutical and genetic research fields. He was a co-patent holder in the clean conversion coating technology for aluminum and most recently oversaw several military science and engineering research programs and an innovation incubator for the U.S. Department of Defense contractor Envisioneering Inc. He has also co-taught business management classes at CSM.
“We are thrilled to have the broad experience and talent that Hugh brings to CSM at the helm of the Velocity Center,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Eileen Abel. “We have a unique opportunity for Hugh and others to define the vision of the Velocity Center as a center for creativity and a catalyst for innovation in Southern Maryland.”
When complete, CSM’s Velocity Center will provide resources for a variety of activities related to entrepreneurship, innovation, and workforce development and retention. The facility will grow to be 15,000-plus square feet, with space suitable for conference and open space offices, room for co-working, cyber and robotics competition labs, and other amenities. CSM’s Velocity Center will be a place where education and innovation meet in collaboration with the community and NSWC IHEODTD.
Describing the Velocity Center as a “giant professional playground for innovation,” CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy last year shared her vision of drones flying overhead inside the large structure. “The goal of the Velocity Center is to provide students a world-class facility surrounded by some of the brightest research scientists in the country,” she said. “Our students will benefit so much from the region’s naval experts who will join in this effort to teach and build a strong local workforce.”
Burrell recently shared that he hopes to expose students to the fact that they can take an idea all the way to a concrete result.
“I look forward to hosting events like ‘hack-a-thons’ or perhaps war games that join cyber students together and give them fake codes to break,” he said. “I not only believe we are all inventors – I have seen it proven true over and over again.”
Learn more about the Velocity Center by visiting online at https://www.csmd.edu/about/locations/velocity-center/.