By RYAN VOLLAND
The United States Bomb Technician Association established a multi-use site in Indian Head in November that plans to grow education and technology in accordance with the town and the Naval Support Facility.
A former CVS Pharmacy on Route 210 in Indian Head will be redeveloped into a bomb disposal technology training campus. USBTA was formed in October 2016 by Sean Dennis, president and CEO, and Sgt. Jon Vaala, chairman of the board.
Dennis said the organization, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was founded with the premise of filling gaps in the community for military and public safety. He said the biggest gaps they have found are technology driven, so the organization tries to take trained bomb technicians and apply their skills to available technology.
“We build these exercises and scenarios around it so it can be properly evaluated, but also give the industry folks an opportunity to make things better,” Dennis said.
Dennis said USBTA does a lot of work at the congressional level in Washington, D.C., however, recently they have been attempting to educate state and local officials about the bomb technician community. Dennis said there are 467 active bomb squads certified by the FBI in the United States in public safety, not including military.
“Being that voice for the bomb tech community has been a big asset for what we are trying to do,” Dennis said.
Dennis said USBTA also helps bomb technicians and their families who get hurt severely, lose a limb or their life and partner with other nonprofit organizations to provide support. He said USBTA moved to the town of Indian Head because of the Naval Support Facility’s joint explosive ordinance disposal program, plus research and development work.
“We have already signed agreements to focus on those and that is why we are there,” Dennis said. “Indian Head has been exceptional and phenomenal in supporting our endeavors.”
Dennis said the location will be outfitted with applied research, associates and manufacturing beginning to work on previously agreed upon projects with the Navy. Dennis said other industry partners have reached out directly about being part of the campus or working toward a way to find locations to establish their footprint on Indian Head Highway.
“We work with a lot of different entities across the country and this has been a phenomenal experience,” Dennis said. “Other than working with the military, I don’t think we would be there without that support.”
Indian Head Mayor Brandon Paulin said the town is capitalizing on opportunities with STEM education and is happy to share USBTA’s prospects. Paulin said USBTA will help bring more economic development, jobs and opportunities to the area.
“It’s been over a year since the initial conversation but it’s definitely come to a good conclusion,” Paulin said. “We are excited to have USBTA and more partners come down the line and invest in Indian Head.”
Paulin said USBTA will be creating jobs and partnering with the naval installation, contributing to the town’s goals of making it a place to live, learn, work and play. He said the organization will be moving into one of the largest vacant commercial properties in the town.
“We have continued to show progress, people, organizations, businesses and nonprofits are buying into our revitalization efforts,” Paulin said.
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