Defense firm Infinity Labs expands downtown Dayton home

Labs, secure spaces and more will be built at Fourth Street Arcade office suite

Downtown Dayton defense contractor Infinity Labs is growing at its 15 W. Fourth St. home, adjacent to the revitalized Arcade.

The company offered guests a peek at the new offices early this year. Visitors had a chance to see the company’s space for employees, including a maker’s space for hands-on work.

But the work of making a home on the second-floor suite of offices wasn’t (and isn’t) done. Cross Street Partners, the Dayton Arcade developer, is working with Infinity to further extend that space.

Company principals estimated the investment will reach “a few million dollars,” although Cross Street, not Infinity, is covering capital improvements.

“That entails adding an extra 8,700 square feet to our existing 5,000 square feet of space,” said Ken Edge, Infinity’s chief executive and co-founder. “We’re really looking to build kind of lab spaces, secure spaces and just project-specific labs to better serve our customers, to expand that innovation capability.”

“We’re kind of bursting at the seams,” said Joe Kirby, chief operating officer (also an Infinity co-founder). Kirby noted that the company also has a presence in the busy Arcade Hub.

Infinity, like a lot of employers, offers a hybrid work environment. On a typical day, there could be 10 to 25 employees in the downtown office.

The expansion will make room for what the company calls “custom space” — labs and similar spaces suited for work that really can’t be performed at home or in remote locations.

Employees come in at least a couple of days a week on average, and there are events designed to draw everyone together at the same time — Friday on-call events or other celebrations.

“We’d like to see those unintentional collisions, if you will, for innovation,” Edge said.

The company was born during the COVID-19 pandemic, so none of this is new territory. About 75% of its employees are in Ohio. Others work from across the continent in several states. Infinity recently announced the opening of an office in Colorado Springs.

Infinity focuses on refining technology and solving problems for the Air Force, NASA, DARPA and other customers. It tends not to make a big deal publicly about contract awards, but the company has more than one Phase 1 and Phase 2 SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) award to its credit, as well as some crucial Phase III awards.

Such awards are where the rubber meets the road when it comes to developing technology for the military and others.

“We have a pretty diverse set of customers,” the CEO said. “It’s not just focused here at Wright-Patt (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). Obviously, Wright-Patt is very important to us.”

Readers may recall that Infinity in late 2020 announced Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards of $149,000 each, amounting to about $500,000 in funding, to support Agility Prime, the Air Force’s multi-million program to develop a commercial market for advanced air mobility aircraft — sometimes unblushingly called “flying cars.”

While Infinity is still doing some work with Agility Prime, its roster of contracts and customers has expanded since 2020. Air Force Research Laboratory, headquartered at Wright-Patterson, is a mainstay customer for the business.

“For a small company, we have a very diverse set of prime awards,” Edge said. “They’re not just sub-contract awards. They’re prime awards with different agencies.”

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