WRC is an independent nonprofit dedicated to economic development and improving communities through innovation, collaboration, entrepreneurship and digital equity.
Since its founding in 2010, WRC has grown from a wireless technology research and engineering center to a multidisciplinary group dedicated to transforming communities through a combination of social and technical (sociotechnical) solutions that drive economic development, innovate technology and create digital equity.
WRC is a trusted resource for journalists on topics related to wireless technology for public benefit, wireless innovation and testing, applied wireless technology for government and public safety, IoT and emerging technology entrepreneurship, broadband workforce development and digital equity.
At a Glance
Independent (501c3) nonprofit dedicated to economic development and improving communities through wireless technology innovation, public-private-institutional collaboration, entrepreneurship and digital equity.
Founded in 2010 as the "Wireless Research Center of North Carolina."
DBA "WRC" to better reflect its mission and core initiatives.
Headquartered in the NC Research Triangle, in Wake Forest, NC, with offices in Winter Park, CO.
Specialized facility – Home to one of the world's few anechoic chambers customized for wireless technology testing.
IP Neutral – Unique approach to intellectual property does not require a share of jointly developed inventions.
WRC bridges technology and society to improve lives and is a catalyst for collaborative innovation in local communities and around the world. WRC brings together society and technology through public, private and institutional partnerships, state-of-the-art facilities, digital expertise, research and development labs, education programs, events and a startup accelerator.
The WRC's core initiatives – RIoT, Connected Communities and WRC Technologies – are designed to improve wireless technologies, accelerate technology startups, support entrepreneurs, and spur economic development through education programs and digital job skills training.
RIoT - building communities of entrepreneurs for Internet of Things and leading-edge technology innovation across the nation. More than 12,000 members and 90 company sponsors. Learn more at riot.org
Connected Communities – bridging the digital divide with high-speed, open-access broadband networks and digital skills job training to close the digital divide and create digital equity. Learn more at connectedcommunities.tech
WRC Technologies – bridging the gap between research and commercialization with applied research, engineering services and ISO accredited, certified testing services for wireless technologies. Engineers support design, simulation, prototyping and fabrication. Learn more at wrc-nc.org
Founded on Visionary Innovation
The vision that birthed the WRC in 2010 began with founder Gerard “Gerry” Hayes who led global advanced technology and new concept initiatives in research and development for Sony Ericsson for more than 15 years. Innovation was rooted in the R&D culture at Sony Ericsson, thinking three to five years ahead about complex problems and inventions needed to develop solutions. Collaborating worldwide with academic researchers, industry standards groups and certification organizations, Hayes and his team worked to develop concept prototypes focused on commercialization. The focus was on solutions for the marketplace, not research alone.
Hayes and the R&D team were working on the connectivity challenges of smartphones years before the iPhone, streaming music years before iTunes, and Internet-of-Things possibilities when the world was using dial-up modems. Being a visionary futurist was the most important aspect of the job which shaped a unique view of the world. Driven by an inherent and zealous curiosity, Hayes and his team were focused on applied research and commercial development to address challenges on the horizon.
His vision for the WRC was a place where new technologies could be developed and tested using the best equipment in the world and a team of exceptional engineers and mentors to help companies and entrepreneurs invent new products and services, create new jobs and form new companies. The WRC was born with a culture for collaboration and visionary innovation that Hayes and team enjoyed at Sony Ericsson with two important exceptions – a nonprofit and founding principle of not requiring a share of intellectual property. All jointly developed inventions for new and better products and services are owned by customers and partners.
Gerard James Hayes, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer – More than two decades of experience in government and commercial electromagnetic research and design. Previously, he was director of engineering at GreenWave Scientific where he led the development of antenna and RF circuit designs for U.S. Department of Defense applications. He served in global leadership positions with Ericsson and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications in the technology and research organization, and at Lockheed Martin for research and development for space-based, phased array applications. He holds more than 75 U.S. patents.
Tom Snyder, Vice President and RIoT Executive Director – More than 25 years in product and technology development in consumer and industrial electronics, healthcare and Internet of Things. Experience in multi-national corporations including HTC, Ericsson and Sony Ericsson, and small business consulting, teaching, startup acceleration and entrepreneurship. Tom has been awarded more than 30 patents. He leads RIoT Labs at HQ Raleigh and co-instructs Product Innovation Lab, a Forbes award winning multi-disciplinary course in innovation and entrepreneurship at NC State University. Previously he served an executive leadership role at the ASSIST Center, a National Science Foundation sponsored effort to create wearable electronics for healthcare monitoring.
Matt Bauer, Vice President – A telecom professional for over 30 years, Matt leads the Connected Communities initiative and serves as the WRC’s representative to serve a two-year term on the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s Communications Equity and Diversity Council (CEDC) formed to advance equity in the provision of and access to digital communication services and products. He has helped start, build and grow organizations, co-founding three companies and two nonprofits including BetterWorld Technology, one of the first telecommunications carriers focused on social and environmental impact. He helped create and lead a group that was awarded a U.S. Department of Commerce stimulus grant that deployed a fiber network in the U.S. Virgin Islands while creating a broadband workforce development initiative that trained thousands of residents and helped provide career paths to the broadband economy.
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