A new innovation hub designation for Ventura and Kern counties from Gov. Brown brings with it a lot of rhetoric and not much cash. But working hand-in-hand with a statewide manufacturing initiative and the emerging unmanned aerial vehicle industry, it could give production, design, energy and technology firms along the Highway 101 corridor a lift.
Technically the so-called i-Hub is based in Ridgecrest in eastern Kern County. And yes its proximity to China Lake and a NASA facility in Palmdale will be helpful. Proximity to Kern County’s oil fields could also help spur innovation in extracting oil and gas where the Monterey shale has proved to be a tough layer of rock to crack.
But the real juice behind the innovation hub lies west, where corporations such as Teledyne Technologies in Thousand Oaks and the Simi Valley operations of drone maker Aerovironment have been engaged increasingly with community leaders about how to use UAVs in agriculture and civilian operations.
If the i-Hub designation underscores anything, it is that next generation of aerospace innovation is getting ready for takeoff.