CCAT Brings Ultra-High Speed, State-of-the-Art Technology Access to New Florida Nonprofit Center

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CCAT leads team in developing custom technology environment for more than a dozen nonprofit organizations at the new multi-million dollar Jessie Ball duPont Center in Northeast Florida.

The real story is in the ability of nonprofits of various sizes to come together and participate in something that they may not be able to access on their own.

When employees working at nonprofit organizations housed in the newly opened Jessie Ball duPont Center in Jacksonville, Florida log onto the Internet, they access a technology highway with ultra-high speeds, top-level security and advanced features that make the Center arguably one of the most technologically advanced facilities in Northeast Florida.

The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT) was part of the team that collaborated to create the Center’s cutting-edge customer technology environment. CCAT built and will continue to manage the building’s IT infrastructure, enabling the Center to support its tenants.

According to CCAT Senior Advisor for Information Technology Greg Bugbee, who led the team constructing the high-tech system, the real story is more than just information technology hardware.

“The real story is in the ability of nonprofits of various sizes to come together and participate in something that they may not be able to access on their own," said Bugbee. "From a single person, or two-person nonprofit to a 100-person organization, they can all access an extremely high quality, enterprise grade system."

Located in the former Haydon Burns Library in downtown Jacksonville, the Jessie Ball duPont Center, which officially opened June 26, is home to more than a dozen local nonprofit organizations. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund purchased the abandoned city library in July 2013 and spent more than 18 months renovating the 100,000 square-foot structure to house nonprofits and provide gathering spaces for the community.

"Our goal was to create the kind of technology environment that everyone dreams of but that can be frustratingly hard to find," stated Mark Walker, knowledge management and technology officer for the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, which owns the Center. "We found some great people both nationally and locally who helped us realize that dream."

“The Center has blazingly fast Internet connectivity with ample capacity, a secure and reliable network with redundancies at every potential failure point, and collaboration and production solutions that allow tenants to function beyond their office walls,” commented Walker.

Security and redundancy
The technology team created a system that gives each tenant its own security zone with firewalls that are managed by CCAT. Redundancies abound – the wireless controllers, firewalls and switching systems are redundant, as is the last mile loop. And there is uninterruptible power with generator backups in case of a major grid failure.

In addition to the secure zones for each tenant, the building itself has a secure zone – an intranet that enables tenants to access an array of building management functions, from reserving rooms in the building to communicating with other tenants yet blocks access from common building zone areas back to the tenants.

Collaboration built-in
The Center is designed around the concept of private workspace and shared gathering space. Creating this collaborative atmosphere and providing a compatible technology environment was critical to achieving the vision for the Center. And that vision inspired members of the team.

“CCAT is proud to be part of the Jessie Ball duPont Center’s remarkable facility that offers nonprofits one of the most technologically advanced office environments in which to work and collaborate,” said Elliot Ginsberg, president and CEO of CCAT. “We believe that collaboration with other nonprofits, industry, academia and government partners is fundamental to success. With the state-of-the-art Internet network we’ve helped create, we’re confident that nonprofit organizations at the Center will have the systems needed to thrive in today’s innovative, high-tech world.”

Big investment, big savings
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund invested more than $1.9 million in the building's technology, in part because the owners recognized how good technology can save money.

According to the Nonprofit Technology Network, nonprofits spend an average of $2,900 per non-salary employee per year on information technology. By moving to a well-managed, coordinated, high-quality technology environment, organizations can eliminate surprises and reduce costs by sharing solutions.

"Most nonprofits cannot afford the up-front costs that enable them to take advantage of the benefits of technology," said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. "The undergirding premise of the Jessie Ball duPont Center is that by doing things collaboratively, these organizations can afford to invest in themselves and operate more effectively, which ultimately benefits the people and community that they serve."

Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT), a nonprofit economic development organization headquartered in East Hartford, Conn., is a leader and go-to resource for strengthening competitiveness and high-tech business development in the state, region and nation. CCAT focuses on three core areas: technology, efficiencies and workforce development, with expertise in manufacturing technology, IT, education and workforce strategies, and energy solutions. Through the synergy of its experienced teams, advanced technologies and extensive partnerships, CCAT provides manufacturers, educators, government, nonprofits and entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to tackle economic challenges, compete and succeed.

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