RJ Lee Group is due to have a huge 2006, filled with milestones and major achievements, an executive for the high-tech defense contractor announced Thursday.
Glenn Harmon, vice president for RJ Lee Group, presented an update on the company’s plans to Greene County commissioners as well as members of the media. “We are extremely optimistic about what’s going on here. We are working to establish a permanent presence in Greene County,” Harmon said. RJ Lee Group has its headquarters in Monroeville, but it also has a temporary office on Oakview Drive, Franklin Township. The 15 people who work in that office are supposed to move to a new facility at EverGreene Technology Park by early next year. RJ Lee Group plans to hire about 10 more workers by the time that move is complete.
The EverGreene facility will be a data repository center, where scientists will collect and analyze data on aircraft engines for the U.S. Air Force. For at least the past two years, workers in the Waynesburg office have been busy getting the computer programming ready to “go live” with a real-time data transmission from Air Force bases. RJ Lee expects to cross that milestone in mid-2006.
Once complete, the data center will be able to track the health of engines in a variety of aircraft throughout the fleet. The technology will be able to recommend when a worn part needs to be replaced and how well different engine types perform in different situations. Harmon said the project will save the government money in the long term, because the program will be able to recommend making small repairs before it destroys the entire engine. “We’re looking into commercial applications as well, because we think this information would be useful in the civilian realm as well as the military,” Harmon said.
RJ Lee Group received a $4.25 million contract in December 2003 from the U.S. Air Force, through the efforts of U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, to develop the data center. The company has had a presence in Greene County for at least the past seven years through its Scanning Electron Microscopy Project at West Greene High School. RJ Lee Group will delve into academia again with a separate project with Waynesburg College and its new science center. Representatives from RJ Lee Group will help expand the college’s forensic science curriculum at the new science center next to Stewart Hall. “Dr. Richard Lee (RJ Lee Group’s founder) is very conscious of the need for solid science and math education,” Harmon said. “Plus, it’s a practical practice for the company because of our recruitment efforts.”