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Precision Agriculture Summit 2018

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UND’s REAC adds 2 tenants

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The University of North Dakota's recently acquired research facility, REAC 1, is finally bringing in new business.

Recart PS, an oil-and-gas research company, and the Red River Valley Education Cooperative, is moving into the building, according to the facility’s director, Kevan Rusk.

He said that brings the total amount of rentable space that’s occupied to 60 percent.

REAC, which provides lab and office space for research companies, has struggled financially for lack of tenants before its purchase by the university, but Rusk is trying to change that.

“We’re building a good foundation,” he said.

The education cooperative, which coordinates resources among 20 school districts in the region, has been based at the Grand Forks School District’s education building. But it will now move to REAC.

Recart, based in the United Kingdom, will work with faculty members and students to develop technology that could be applied in North Dakota’s oil patch, according to Managing Director Kevin Wiles.

“We’re looking specifically at water treatment, water separation, recycle possibilities and that’s probably the first piece of technology we’re going to try and bring in,” he said.

There will only be two employees at the facility to start with, he said, but he hopes to have about six hired and working at REAC by Christmas.

The firm also plans to invest in new research equipment in the building, he said. “We see it as a very long term relationship.”

Michael Moore, UND’s associate vice president for intellectual property commercialization and economic development, said faculty members and students will benefit from Recart’s international ties. Besides offices in the United Kingdom, the firm also has offices in Malaysia and Singapore.

Rusk and Wiles were old acquaintances and once Rusk assumed his position at the REAC, the two discussed the deal for about six months before it came to fruition.

Both are excited about what the future holds.

“It’s almost like a two-way street of opportunity based around research, student development and commercialization,” Wiles said. “UND as an entity has massive experience and really interesting capabilities, purely from an industry perspective.”

With six companies residing in REAC, Rusk said he’s optimistic about the future of the building.

“Being here on campus, we can help any company that’s coming in to really forge relationships with the correct people at UND and that’s what you can’t get if you just rent a space on the street,” he said.

Story written by Anna Burleson with Forum News Service and published at http://www.prairiebizmag.com/event/article/id/19811/

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