SDL licenses with spinoff company

By Kim Burgess
The Herald Journal
January 12, 2009

Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory is bringing its technology to the marketplace for the first time through a licensing agreement with a new company.

SDL signed the contract with Thermal Management Technologies on Dec. 19. TMT is technically a “spin-out” business of the Utah State University Research Foundation; SDL is the largest USURF unit.

Through the contract, USURF has equity and royalty agreements with the new company, meaning it will benefit from TMT’s financial successes.

“This is huge,” said USURF Executive Vice President for Business Operations Forrest Fackrell, who is responsible for TMT’s business structure. “We are very excited. ... It really has been an undertaking of about three years.”

TMT’s goal is to find commercial applications for two SDL innovations — channeled cooling panels and flexible thermal links. Both are used to dissipate heat from aerospace machinery.

According to Fackrell, the technologies have broad commercial applications in the aircraft, automobile and electronics industries. For instance, they could be used to cool computers, which currently depend on internal fans.

Already, TMT has set up offices at 1575 N. 600 East in North Logan. Six people will be employed there in the coming weeks.

The founders of TMT include four professionals with diverse backgrounds: Fackrell, Clair Batty, Scott Jensen and David Bell.

Batty and Jensen are both engineers who helped develop many of TMT’s products. Before retiring in 2003, Batty served as head of USU’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

Bell, a USU alum, has worked with many start-up companies and holds multiple patents.

During TMT’s start-up phase, USU students also played a large role in the company; three Aggies currently work there part time.

“The technology now holds potential to create jobs locally and strengthen U.S. competitiveness,” said Doug Lemon, director of SDL. “This is the first of what I expect will be many SDL-developed technologies being transitioned into commercial applications, through spin-out companies such as TMT or through licenses to existing firms.”

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© 2009 The Herald Journal