The company you keep in the Edge Collaboration District at K-State
June 28, 2022
As seen: K-State Alumni Association’s K-Stater magazine, Spring 2022 edition
Surround yourself with the brightest minds — then watch your successes grow.
That’s long been true for individuals. Now it’s true for the businesses establishing their presence in the Edge Collaboration District at K-State.
The Edge District is where industry, research and talent come together to produce meaningful innovations and deliver real outcomes to K-State, Kansas and beyond. A range of companies from a multinational tech corporation to a local gastropub are discovering how joining the Edge District creates unique occasions for commercial cooperation among diverse industries — a distinctive competitive edge.
A variety of industry partners
Unlike some innovation zones that limit their focus to technology, the Edge Collaboration District at K-State expands the focus. In the Edge District, you’ll find businesses representing industries as distinct as ag technology and venture capital, military affairs and community-focused organizations, communications and construction. There’s dining and catering, agriculture, security, health care and more.
Innovation is baked into the state-of-the-art facilities and the sense of community that Edge tenants share. For example, WTC Communications is a century-old telephone and communications company headquartered in nearby Wamego, Kansas, that provides cutting-edge telecommunication solutions to Edge District partners and the region.
“Collocating in the Edge District has helped WTC form partnerships we didn’t think would be possible,” said Jeff Sackrider, senior customer sales consultant. “The proximity to all the businesses and institutions within the Edge District has allowed us to expand and strengthen our corporate presence while upholding the highest level of local support. From bringing free Wi-Fi to Aggieville to sponsoring the Kansas State Esports Heartland Showdown, WTC is always finding ways to be involved in the university, community and the region.”
Agriculture in the Edge District
It’s no surprise that several anchoring Edge partners are leaders in agriculture and ag technology, including Topcon Agriculture, part of the international Topcon family. Topcon precision agriculture strategically chose its ag tech home in the Edge District alongside K-State, in a state where 42% of the economy is tied to agriculture.
“Topcon is heavily involved in global navigation satellite systems solutions for guidance, planting, spraying, spreading and harvesting technologies, in addition to livestock feeding. We have enjoyed being adjacent to the North Farm at K-State that utilizes these systems,” said Brian Eck ‘16, customer experience manager. “This has allowed us to build a solid relationship with the university and gives us an opportunity to test and refine our latest products in the field.”
In a world of intense global competition and accelerating technical and cultural changes, Topcon partners with neighboring tenants and K-State faculty and students who are on the forefront of ag invention. Some of the latest testing has focused on improving the accuracy of driverless tractors, a potential breakthrough technology.
“Locating in the Edge District helped WTC form partnerships we didn’t think would be possible. The proximity to all the businesses and institutions has allowed us to expand and strengthen our corporate presence.” - Jeff Sackrider, WTC Communications
One Health and the research edge
Industries focusing on “One Health” study how animal, zoonotic, environmental and human health interweave. Many One Health-related organizations have discovered the Edge District at K-State as prime real estate to both leverage K-State’s research edge and collaborate with related enterprises.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) will be a national asset to help protect the nation’s agriculture, farmers and citizens from the threat of high-consequence animal diseases. NBAF’s scientists aim to create collaborative opportunities among those with similar interests.
“We have established a strong working relationship with Kansas State University and look forward to creating additional collaborations in Manhattan, the Flint Hills region, and across the nation” said Dr. Kenneth Burton, USDA NBAF deputy director. “The USDA office space in the Edge Collaboration District — across the street from where the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility is being built — has allowed us to onboard new USDA team members to eventually work at the facility.”
When NBAF is ready to begin scientific activities, it will need microbiologists, virologists, molecular biologists and many other subject matter experts ready to fight emerging, foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. Through programs like the NBAF Scientist Training Program and the NBAF Laboratorian Training Program, USDA is cultivating the necessary technical and subject matter expertise among college students to conduct research and diagnostics in support of homeland defense.
Growing economic prosperity for Kansas
A variety of industry, research and government leaders are already at work in the Edge District, improving agricultural practices and developing advanced technologies for the future. But the Edge District offers more than cutting-edge facilities adjacent to K-State’s incredible body of knowledge.
The district is part of K-State’s bold plan to connect the university’s land-grant mission — research and education to advance the economic prosperity of Kansans, Kansas businesses and communities.
K-State’s plan leverages the university’s strengths to attract mature companies, develop emerging companies, incubate new companies and connect K-State students to Kansas employers to keep young families in the state.
Through Edge District collaborations, K-State and the KSU Foundation continue to build upon the university’s unique strengths to meet the realities of a world in great change. See K-State’s plan for economic prosperity here, k-state.edu/research/economic-prosperity.
Learn how you can sharpen your organization’s competitive edge at K-State. Contact Sherilyn McRell, real estate operations manager for the KSU Foundation at 785-775-2009 and firstname.lastname@example.org.