2019-01-10 / Around Town

INSPIRE Environmental Moving to Innovate Newport

INSPIRE Environmental, a Blue Tech firm of marine scientists and engineers, announced on Jan. 7 that it will be moving into Innovate Newport this spring.

The firm, which specializes in environmental assessments and seafloor mapping, will be Innovate Newport’s largest tenant, occupying roughly 4,350 square feet of office space at the former Sheffield School.

“To say that we’re excited to welcome INSPIRE Environmental to the Innovate Newport community would be an understatement,” said Tuni Schartner, director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Innovate Newport. “Not only are they a homegrown high-tech success story, but they’re also precisely the kind of high-growth industry that we need to focus on, with their work in offshore wind and renewable energy systems.”

INSPIRE Environmental has more than 15 young scientists based on Aquidneck Island.

“We were looking for a space that was a blend of community engagement, fiber-optic internet and creative interactions,” said Drew Carey, CEO. “We have followed Innovate Newport from the first announcement of the project and hoped that we could participate. We are excited to grow into this space and collaborate with other marine tech firms. Being a part of the broader Newport and Rhode Island community is very important to us and this incubator space is a great start for the future of high-quality jobs.”

Innovate Newport’s access to high speed broadband through the OSHEAN fiber optic network was a critical factor in his team’s decision to relocate, Carey said.

“INSPIRE Environmental was founded in 2015 to create a sustainable consulting firm to train a new generation of marine scientists in rapid environmental assessment and visualizing the health of the seafloor,” he said. “We grew rapidly with the development of offshore wind in Rhode Island and now have 20 employees working on projects worldwide. Our projects are very data intensive with very large image files supporting seafloor mapping.”

Once complete, Innovate Newport will feature approximately 33,000 square feet of coworking, event and dedicated office space. The project is a joint effort between the City of Newport; the Newport County Development Council, the nonprofit arm of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island to transform a historic school building in the heart of Newport into a hub for the region’s growing innovation economy.

Other announced tenants include clean tech recruiting firm Towerhill Associates and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.

“The cutting-edge work INSPIRE Environmental is doing in the Blue Tech sector is a perfect example of the type of industry we want to encourage growing in the Greater Newport region.” said Newport County Chamber of Commerce executive director Erin Donovan Boyle. “With the global reach of INSPIRE Environmental, they will help put Innovate Newport on the map as an integral place within the Blue Tech economy. They are a tremendous addition to the community.”

Added City Manager Joseph J. Nicholson Jr., “We set out to build a hub for high tech industry with a goal of attracting high quality, forward thinking companies that are invested in the success of Aquidneck Island, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. The team leading Innovate Newport has executed extremely well in getting this project off the ground, and the addition of INSPIRE Environmental is a testament to those efforts.”

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