WORTHINGTON, Ky. (KT) – A northeastern Kentucky manufacturing company announced Tuesday it has entered into a $2.15 million contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office.
The new contract – the culmination of a nearly decade-long development process between DropBox and the DHS – calls for DropBox to produce and deliver multiple specially engineered and designed shipping container modifications, known as the On-Dock Rail Straddle Carrier Portal.
DropBox plans to add up to 30 full-time jobs to fulfill the requirements of this project.
The specialized container-based scanning units will be positioned at U.S. ports and will be deployed specifically to scan incoming overseas shipping containers for nuclear material that can be found in “dirty bombs” and/or other potential weapons of mass destruction.
The ODRSCPs will be manufactured at DropBox’s Worthington production facility.
“Not only will this project create quality jobs in northeast Kentucky, it will play a key role in keeping Americans safe at our international ports of entry,” said Gov. Matt Bevin.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul came away impressed with a visit to the business several months ago.
“As a strong supporter of Right to Work, it’s always exciting to see companies economically benefit and create more jobs here in the Commonwealth due to business-friendly policies and getting government out of the way,” Paul said.
The ODRSCP development project has been a nearly decade-long development. DropBox’s path to securing the DHS contract began in 2010 when it was selected to build an ODRSCP prototype for the Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, South Carolina.
The Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site is a 310-square-mile secure site located on the border between South Carolina and Georgia. Here, the SRNL has the capability to provide multiple venues in support of projects related to the defense of the U.S. homeland. In partnership with the SRNL and the DHS, DropBox helped engineer, design and construct the original ODRSCP model.
After completing initial testing at SRNL in 2011, the ODRSCP was disassembled and delivered to Norfolk, Virginia, where it was reassembled and required to pass secondary testing, in full function, at the city’s shipping port.
In 2016, the prototype was shipped back to DropBox’s manufacturing plant in Worthington for minor modifications, refurbishment and still more testing.
After the refurbishments were made, the prototype was delivered to the Port of Tacoma in Washington state, where the unit is currently in full operation, scanning containers coming into the U.S. from overseas.
In the coming months, DropBox will begin production of more of these ODRSCPs, now fully designed and vetted, for deployment to more of the country’s busiest container ports.
“Senator Paul and Governor Bevin are to be commended for their vision for Kentucky,” said Slagel, president and CEO of Portable Solutions Group, parent company of DropBox. “On behalf of our nearly 130 dedicated employees, we are honored to do our part to help validate the governor’s bold vision to make the commonwealth the engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence in the world.”
Slagel said his employees were persistence and patient in engineering and designing the unique security portal, a product he said “will play a major role in ensuring the safety of the United States and its residents in the immediate years ahead.”