What does Florida Polytechnic University have in common with adversary air training assets for the United States military? Turns out, more and more every day thanks to a partnership that is providing internships for Florida Poly students at Draken International.
“Who is the best innovative thinker other than a brand new college student who has no paradigms on how they think on problem solving,” said John Baum, vice president for security and strategic projects at Draken.
Baum added that Florida Poly provides what he calls the “missing link” in the connection between industry, academia and government.
Based in Lakeland, Florida, Draken owns the largest commercial fleet of tactical ex-military fighter jets in the world and plays the role of enemy aircraft in training exercises such as Red Flag for multiple branches of the military around the globe.
The internships at Draken’s facility at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport will focus on supply chain management, logistics and warehousing, plus more advanced software and app development. Both sides of the partnership expect these internship opportunities to continue indefinitely and likely be supplemented with capstone design projects for Florida Poly students.
“Having the partnership with Florida Poly definitely is beyond what we thought we would be doing,” he said. “Lakeland and Central Florida have been an integral part of our success, and now having Florida Poly as a partner, we’re really going to be able to continue to be innovators and change the way we utilize our assets and the way we improve our efficiencies.”
In 2017, Inc. magazine ranked Draken International no. 90 among the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Earlier this year, the company continued its meteoric rise when it was awarded a $280 million contract to provide adversary air services at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada, through 2023.
Draken employs around 160 – including many veterans – and Baum expects that number to almost double in the near future as the company continues to add to its fleet.
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