Please join me in congratulating Richard Vigeant for agreeing to serve as the next Director of the Research & Engineering Education Facility (REEF), which is a College-led educational site that has served Eglin Air Force Base for more than 50 years.
Richard joined the College in 2017 as the founding Director of Florida Applied Research in Engineering (FLARE) program. Previously serving as Engineering Deputy at The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, he led R&D efforts across all technology readiness levels, serving numerous DOD, Intelligence Community, NASA, and commercial sponsors on projects in areas related to national security and defense.
Richard’s efforts to establish the FLARE model around the attributes that University Affiliated Research Centers embody have yielded more than $30M in research awards, including an Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate cooperative agreement with a $19M ceiling for a Regional Advancement and Capability Enhancement (RACE) program. FLARE’s outstanding work on this project led to it receiving an Air Force Research Laboratory Corporate Award for their exemplary technical expertise, customer service, and rapid and novel development of a first of a kind highly secure research and collaboration facility.
In this capacity, Richard will help faculty at REEF and main campus grow their research programs and expand educational offerings, as well as support economic development and outreach efforts in coordination with regional stakeholders. He will also continue to direct FLARE, which has a significant onsite operation at REEF.
I am confident that, under Richard’s leadership, REEF’s educational and research contributions will continue to grow. We are grateful to him for his service.
Best regards, Forrest
Forrest J. Masters, Ph.D., P.E. (FL)
Interim Dean, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
University of Florida