Franklin Hoke, Jr. is the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate’s Chief of the Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA).
He has guided his Directorate, which has a long and rich legacy in communications, intelligence, command and control, cyber assurance and many other groundbreaking technologies, on new and innovative initiatives in technology transfer.
Due to aggressive and innovative transfer and transition efforts established by Hoke, a robust information assurance and cyber operations community of developers has grown more than 400 local jobs supporting cyber research and cyber tool development and deployment around the Directorate, servicing the commercial and military markets. In addition, Hoke encouraged local/regional academic institutions to create a pool of cyber professionals in the area. As a result, Syracuse and Clarkson universities, Utica College, and two local community colleges were early adopters in establishing information assurance and cyber defense programs as part of their graduate and undergraduate curricula.
Hoke was also responsible for piloting, in conjunction with Arizona State University, a new, innovative startup accelerator, called NY Furnace, to form new companies. An intensive nine-month accelerator experience, NY Furnace provides seed funding, office space, and access to top industry mentors to commercialize discoveries made at the Directorate. This process helps entrepreneurs to create new startup companies, while offering technologies to existing companies in the NY region to help them grow and develop. The program attracted the support of a wide range of local, regional, and statewide economic development organizations, colleges, universities, startup incubators, accelerators, angel investors, and venture capitalists. Over $400,000 of funding has been generated.
Hoke was also responsible for piloting, in conjunction with Arizona State University, a new, innovative startup accelerator, called NY Furnace, to form new companies.
To raise the visibility of the patent process at the Directorate, Hoke developed a Patent Wall to recognize the historical legacy of the laboratory in innovative scientific achievements. The Wall consists of over 300 patents and 34 licenses, giving recognition to the inventors and the technology transfer capabilities of the laboratory. Additionally, Hoke created a new environment that champions the protection of intellectual property by encouraging Directorate staff to use all available technology transfer assistance.
Hoke was also instrumental in establishing the Directorate’s comprehensive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program that includes robotics, cyber, and engineering summer camps with 11 local middle schools for over 140 students. In addition, it distributed 300 robotics kits and trained 300 students per year. Recently, Hoke’s program hosted its fifth Air Force Research Laboratory Challenge Competition, and to date 50 local high school teams competed for 22 paid summer internships.