A Canadian company, JCA Electronics, has become the newest partner at Nebraska Innovation Campus, Dan Duncan, NIC’s executive director, announced May 21.
JCA develops advanced technology solutions for mobile machines and is emerging as a leader in technology solutions that enable advanced precision agriculture and autonomous applications. The company applies a combination of advanced technologies, engineering expertise and manufacturing capabilities to enable unique mobile off-highway machine systems.
JCA found its way to Lincoln through a collaborative effort between the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development (LPED), University of Nebraska–Lincoln Industry Relations and Nebraska Innovation Campus staffs.
“Business recruitment trips are a vital part of LPED’s outreach to companies, and a trip to Canada in 2019 helped us make that connection to JCA,” said Luke Peltz, LPED director of business development. “The ability to cultivate relationships with public partners and connect them with companies that want to invest their time and resources is truly the blueprint for success.”
JCA is the first Canadian company to join NIC, and its location at NIC is the company’s first physical presence in the United States. JCA Electronics moved into the space in January.
“We are honored that JCA chose NIC as the location to grow their business in the U.S.,” Duncan said.
LPED’s relationship with the University of Nebraska aims to make Lincoln attractive to companies that seek to remain on the cutting edge as they develop. By providing infrastructure to succeed and highly skilled and educated potential employees, the NIC-LPED partnership offers thrilling potential for companies like JCA.
“Once we learned about JCA from LPED, things moved very quickly due to the alignment of their R&D interests with University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty expertise, and how well Lincoln and NIC met their site and workforce requirements,” said Ryan Anderson, director of University of Nebraska–Lincoln Industry Relations.
JCA opened a U.S. location to be close to key customers in the U.S. Midwest. The company also wants to build a strong research tie with a university that has a focus in autonomous agricultural machines.
“We chose the NIC location after considering many different locations as we felt it was the best combination of several key aspects we were looking for,” said Darcy Cook, JCA vice president of engineering and general manager.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has a strong research focus in its [biological systems engineering program](biological systems engineering) on autonomous agriculture machine applications.
“In meeting with Dr. Santosh Pitla and his graduate students, we could see there was a good alignment with their research and the type of systems we are developing at JCA,” Cook said. “This means there are capabilities that are being developed at the university that could be beneficial to us at JCA, through research collaborations, use of JCA technology and opportunities to hire graduating students as JCA employees.”
Cook said NIC also has excellent office space that is flexible to adapt as JCA grows, and access to facilities that are beneficial for engineering development and research. Locating at NIC provides JCA with connections to the Nebraska research, university and business communities.
“The team at NIC has made us feel welcomed from the beginning, and we see ongoing potential for continued collaboration and growth with them,” Cook said.
Josh Murman, a Nebraska native and Husker graduate, has been hired as JCA’s first U.S.-based employee. Chandler Folkerts, a 2019 Husker biological systems engineering department graduate, joined Murman in the Lincoln office in early May.