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On April 12, 2022, the Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN) hosted a virtual Opportunity Day in collaboration with Parallax Advanced Research, The Ohio State University, and the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The OFRN Opportunity Day was geared toward government, academic, and industry innovators and researchers in Ohio as well as anyone interested in collaborating on innovative ideas to solve government challenges.

The OFRN Opportunity Day featured networking, an OFRN Program Overview, presentations from government thought leaders, including Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton (NAMRU-D) Human Performance by Dr. Richard Arnold, Director; NASA Thermal Management for Electrified Aircraft by Turbomachinery Technical Lead Ezra McNichols; and StarLabs by Dr. John Horack, Senior Associate Dean of Engineering at The Ohio State University.   

The goal of the event is to enable industry and academia to win new R&D business for Ohio, to help a minimum of 1 to 2 teams pursue the opportunities presented at the event, and to position OFRN as a key R&D collaborator for the State of Ohio.

Download the consolidated event PowerPoints from all speakers, here.

The following is the breakdown of the event agenda.

Mark Bartman, Major General (Ret.) advisor to Parallax Advanced Research, was the event emcee. He is a senior advisor to Parallax Advanced Research supporting the Ohio Federal Research Network. He was the previous Adjutant General for the Ohio National Guard from 2015-to 2019 and a member of former Ohio Governor Kasich’s Cabinet.

Dr. Richard Arnold, Director of The Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton (NAMRU-D) was the first presenter.

Dr. Arnold leads a team of 75 scientists and technical staff in conducting research and development to address challenges the aerospace environment presents to human health, safety, readiness, and performance. Before arriving at NAMRL as a staff scientist, Dr. Arnold served on active duty as a US Naval aerospace experimental psychologist (AEP) and subsequently owned and operated a small human performance consulting firm. He received his doctorate from the University of Texas, specializing in psychometrics and behavioral genetics. His research has focused principally on individual differences and personnel selection. 

Ezra McNichols, Turbomachinery Technical Lead from NASA presented on Thermal Management for Electrified Aircraft

Ezra McNichols is the Turbomachinery Technical Lead at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he has worked since 2018. He is currently the Gas Turbine Thermal Management Technical Lead for the Power and Propulsion subproject under the Advanced Air Transport Technology (AATT) project. His research interests are aerodynamics and heat transfer in turbomachinery, thermal management technologies for electronics, fundamental heat, and mass transfer, and machine learning applications for design and analysis.  He holds a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky. 

The final presentation was by John Horack, Senior Associate Dean of Engineering from The Ohio State University.

Professor John M. Horack is the Senior Associate Dean in the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University and the inaugural Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy. He is also currently a tenured professor in both the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, the Interim Chair of the Center for Aviation Studies, an advisor to the Buckeye Space Launch Initiative team, a two-time Spaceport America Cup winner. 

We then hosted a question-and-answer session with NAMRU-D, NASA and Star Labs Watch the full session here.

We wrapped up the morning with Opportunities by OFRN Program Manager Matt Bush, Senior Advisor to OFRN Marty Kress

The Opportunities session was presented by Matt Bush, Ohio Federal Research Network Program Manager, and Marty Kress, OFRN Senior Advisor. Before joining Parallax, Matt was the Principal Director of the Special Operations and Combating Terrorism office at The Pentagon, he’s also a U.S. Army Reserve Intelligence Officer, currently supporting the Department of State with coordination of DoD operations and activities. Marty Kress serves as a senior consultant to Ohio State University Faculty and Staff, the Tanzanian Ministry of Water and Education, WorldServe International, the Alliance for a Climate Resilient Earth, Parallax Advanced Research, and the Ohio Federal Research Network.

Matt and Marty researched various opportunities across federal agencies, including:

Following this event, Matt and Marty offered proposal process navigation and team matchmaking for teams who are serious about pursuing the funding opportunities discussed at the event. We accrued eight customer leads for these services.


The event was a success. The participants’ satisfaction rating was 100%. We want to thank each member of the audience who joined us. You were all amazing and very supportive of the event speakers and asked interesting questions that drove engaging conversations.

Next steps

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