Cheyenne, OK – Yesterday, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Fires Innovation Science and Technology Accelerator (FISTA) Innovation Park.
FISTA’s mission is to bring together the brightest minds in engineering, technology and defense expertise to support the needs of America’s military. Located in the renovated Central Mall, the FISTA Innovation Park provides an acceleration hub for top defense contractors, academic institutions and innovators to collaborate and partner with other like-minded thinkers and American warfighters in a high-security facility.
“Lawton and the entire state of Oklahoma has long and proudly supported the mission of Fort Sill and America’s national defense strategies. The launch of the FISTA Innovation Park is a collaborative effort that continues the strong partnership between Oklahoma and Fort Sill, and one that further attracts abundant research and development opportunities in science and technology in great state,” said Congressman Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. “As an acceleration hub for our nation’s top defense contractors, the FISTA Innovation Park will bring together academic and industry experts at a high-security facility to build out innovative solutions important to our national security. Entities across the military research and development industry are quick to garner resources, but one industry that stands ready take-off from FISTA Innovation Park is the unmanned aircraft systems and Advanced Air Mobility industry. Oklahoma- thanks to the FISTA Innovation Park- will continue to make be a leader and make great strides as we build out and advance dynamic, next-generation UAS and AAM technologies. I applaud the leadership and work of the leaders of the City of Lawton, Congressman Tom Cole, Governor Stitt, and others, and I’m excited to witness the technological innovation that grows out of our state’s new venture.”
The work done within the FISTA is focused on modernizing and integrating technology to support the U.S. Army’s Long Range Precision Fires and Air and Missile Defense cross-functional teams, which are both headquartered just minutes away at Fort Sill. As Fort Sill is home to two of the U.S. Army’s six top modernization priorities, the FISTA is poised to play a leading role in the future of America’s military and national defense as well as attract high-paying tech jobs to the Lawton area and contribute to the growth of Oklahoma’s aerospace and defense industry, which is the second-largest sector of the state’s economy.
Lucas was joined by Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), U.S. Senators James Lankford and Markwayne Mullin, Governor Kevin Stitt, and local officials.
“The completion of the FISTA Innovation Park will not only provide for innovation, training and job growth outside the gates of the Fort Sill installations, it will significantly enhance the warfighter mission inside the boundaries so our nation can confront the foreign challenges of the future,” said Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK-04). “I am grateful to the community partners who have dedicated their time and resources to completing this project so quickly. The opportunities for economic growth and beyond will certainly benefit the Lawton-Fort Sill community for decades to come.”
“We applaud the community of Lawton and FISTA for supporting Fort Sill in furthering cutting-edge innovation and military capability. The FISTA creates a unique hub which puts Lawton at the forefront of technology, engineering, and defense modernization,” said U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin. The FISTA will be an economic driver for our community, providing high-paying jobs, added revenue, and attracting likeminded businesses across the country. Southwest Oklahoma has so much to offer our state, and our country, and I know this investment will help put us on the map.”
“The FISTA Innovation Park will truly have a generational impact on Lawton and our state’s robust aerospace and defense industry,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “I couldn’t be more excited for this development, and I am confident the FISTA will put Oklahoma in a position to be the premier landing spot for defense companies looking to expand their presence in our state.”
“Today is a milestone day in Lawton’s history and one that would not be possible without the support of our citizens,” said Lawton Mayor Stan Booker. “I greatly appreciate our City Council, the FISTA board members, our state and federal lawmakers and all our partners for their efforts to turn our vision into a reality. The FISTA is a testament to what is possible when we work together to grow our economy and bring high-paying jobs to our community.”
“The FISTA will have a generational impact on our community,” said FISTA Development Trust Authority Chair Clarence Fortney, who also serves as Great Plains Technology Center Superintendent. “Not only have we turned around a mall that was in decline, but we are using that space to create opportunities for our students to develop skills that will lead them to high-paying jobs right here in Lawton. I have four granddaughters, and I am passionate about growing our economy so we can keep our best and brightest students here in town.”
According to the FISTA Trust Development Authority, benefits to the community as a result of this project are expected to include:
- 150 – 225 direct $100,000+ per year jobs created in first 24 months
- 275 ancillary (service/retail/other) jobs
- Redevelopment of a 200-350,000 square feet of vacant commercial retail for active economic use in a distressed Opportunity Zone
- Increased investment in community STEM education and workforce development
- Support for other adjacent community redevelopment efforts of downtown commercial district
- A projected $50 million annual regional economic impact