From Attack Aircraft to Advanced Transportation

Article excerpt

Faced with the closure of six military bases in Alameda County, Calif., Congressman Ronald V. Dellums contacted CALSTART, a statewide economic development organization, and invited them to work with the East Bay Conversion and Reinvestment Commission (EBCRC) to develop a plan to create jobs and new economic opportunities.

In the fall of 1995, the first lease was signed at the Alameda Naval Air Station (NAS Alameda) between the U.S. Navy, the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority, and CALSTART for a new job generating activity at Hangar 20. The Hangar 20 dedication and lease signing ceremony drew a high-level federal delegation and local officials, as well as base workers and the general public.

Today, the results are astonishing. Hangar 20 used to house Naval attack aircraft; it is now the home of civilians building electric cars and other advanced transportation technology products.

CALSTART's mission is create jobs and clean up the air by building a California-based advanced transportation industry. Over 200 companies are actively participating in CALSTART -- sharing information, developing joint projects, and growing.

Project Hatchery Alameda, housed in Hangar 20 at NAS, is one of CALSTART's most recent success stories. The hatchery is CALSTART's second business incubator for advanced transportation companies. At the hatchery, CALSTART provides low-cost space, support services, and shared machinery and equipment that encourage the growth of start-up companies.

Presently, 14 different organizations are operating at the hatchery and employing about 60 people. Many of the employees are former defense contractor employees and military base workers. …