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Ohio Electronics Company Supports New UB Engineering Building and Establishes Fellowship Program

By Cynthia Machamer

Release Date: October 8, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Bird Technologies Group has given $200,000 to the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to advance research and education in UB's RF/microwave systems program.

In honor of the corporation's gift, space in the new engineering building to be constructed on UB's North (Amherst) Campus will be called the Bird Technologies Group Microwave Laboratory. The gift also establishes the Bird Technologies Group Fellowship Program.

Bird Technologies Group is a global supplier of radio frequency (RF) products, systems, services and educational solutions through hardware, software and components. Headquartered in Solon, Ohio, the company designs and manufactures RF test instruments such as portable spectrum analyzers, RF watt meters, digital power sensors and communications infrastructure equipment. TX RX Systems, its communications systems division located in Angola, N.Y., manufactures and sells bi-directional signal boosters, tower-mounted amplifiers, antenna multi-couplers and transmitter combining systems. The company also offers engineering, calibration and educational services for land mobile radio, cellular, semiconductor, broadcast, medical, military and government applications.

"We are proud of our relationship with Bird Technologies Group, a longtime supporter of UB scholarships and our RF/microwave systems program," said UB Engineering Dean Harvey G. Stenger Jr. "We value the company's ongoing commitment to innovation and service with the RF industry. This generous gift solidifies our beneficial partnership with Bird Technologies Group to advance research and education."

UB electrical engineering faculty Yong-Kyu Yoon, assistant professor, and James J. Whalen, professor, will lead the newly established Bird Technologies Fellowship Program, which will provide scholarship support for three students in electrical engineering. The students will work with the faculty on their research in RF components and integrated RF systems; millimeter wave/Terahertz components: antenna and waveguide; wireless sensors and actuators and microfluidics.

"As one of the university's largest and most visible programs, UB Engineering is enhancing, expanding and modernizing facilities to keep pace with the challenges of engineering in the 21st century," said Michael Fetto, director of engineering at Bird Technologies Group. He earned a bachelor of science in engineering from UB in 1983. "We are pleased to be part of creating a state-of-the-art engineering building at UB and to continue our support of scholarships. This is a strategic alignment of Bird's RF-based business model and UB's RF/microwave systems program."

The new engineering building will modernize programs and facilities for the departments of Computer Science and Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. Groundbreaking for the building, designed by renowned architects Perkins + Will is slated for the summer of 2009. The planned 130,000-square-foot structure will boast a clean room, "cybertorium" with sophisticated communications devices and smart technology and flexible research labs, classrooms and meeting areas for interdisciplinary work.

The facility will allow UB to use existing buildings to expand its teaching in high-demand fields like bioengineering, and boost student enrollment. These goals are aligned with the UB 2020 strategic plan, which aims to grow UB by 40 percent and to invest in areas of strategic research strengths such as information and computing technology, integrated nanostructured systems and mitigation of extreme events and disasters.

The new building reflects a true "private-public" partnership between generous private donors and New York State. The state has provided $49.6 million to finance the basic building structure. UB Engineering is engaged in a fundraising effort to generate additional funds to enhance the function and quality of the building.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.