RWD Technologies Inc., a Columbia-based technology training and consulting company, said yesterday that it has signed a letter of intent to become the first tenant of the $50 million high-technology research park at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
The company is expected to house its newly created RWD Applied Technology Laboratory in a two-story, 40,000-square-foot facility at the park. Construction will begin in early 2000 and should be completed in the second quarter of 2001.
Until then, RWD's new lab, which is expected to have 200 employees, will be housed in UMBC's Technology Center for high-technology start-ups.
Dr. David Yager, the founder and former director of UMBC's Imaging Research Center, will serve as director of the RWD lab and has been named a vice president of the company.
The RWD lab will be the first piece of the UMBC Research Park, which will feature five buildings with a total of about 350,000 square feet on 41 acres on the university campus, said Ellen Wiggins, executive director for the UMBC Research Park Corp.
The park is designed to accommodate research companies in need of space, and to build partnerships between businesses and the university, Wiggins said.
"It is also a very good resource for the state of Maryland and Baltimore County as a location for technology companies," she said.
Robert W. Deutsch, founder and chief executive officer of RWD and a member of UMBC's board of visitors, said the company had been considering starting the lab for about two years before the university location came to his attention.
The lab's key area of research will be "e-learning," or training people remotely through the Internet, he said.
"The demand from our customers is to help them develop their Internet presence," Deutsch said. "We're very heavy into information technology, and the Internet is an offshoot of information technology."
Deutsch said he expects the lab to generate "significant income" for RWD starting next year.
In the short term, the lab will focus on quick solutions for RWD's client base, while in the long term the lab will study emerging technologies and how they might be helpful to RWD's clients, Yager said.
The Research Park Corp. is close to an agreement with Grosvenor International Ltd. -- which has developed buildings in the United Kingdom including a research park affiliated with the University of Edinburgh -- to develop the research park, Wiggins said.
She added that, along with the RWD lab, Grosvenor will also start construction on a multitenant building for which park officials are seeking tenants.