FGCU Enters New Realm With Space Technology


Illustration courtesy of Vincenzo Malagoli, Unsplash

Jusolyn Flower, Staff Writer

A space technology company, in collaboration with FGCU, is offering a lab with enriching resources for student involvement opportunities. Space Tech, based out of FGCU’s Emergent Technologies Institute in Fort Myers, develops innovative solutions and products for the Department of Defense. 

“Space is the next ocean. Space is the next frontier. And unlike the ocean, which has limits, space is boundless,” Space Tech CEO and founder Wil Glaser said. 

Glaser is an emergent technologies-based entrepreneur from Naples, Florida and the founder of over ten start-up companies. Space Tech is his latest endeavor, focused on providing research, prototypes and the manufacturing of space-related assets for both the U.S. Government and commercial sects.  

“To bring the space industry into the area, you kind of have to do a slow burn and stoke those fires, understanding that we are probably going to be in it for the long haul,” Glaser said. “We diversified our risk, saying that all of these targets, for now, are feasible for us to inch forward toward our main goal which is to have developed satellites for the Department of Defense.” 

However, Glaser does not want his work to stop there. He is passionate about opening the space industry up to the community for participation. 

Glaser has created LabX, a learning environment where students can easily have access to STEM resources and become experienced with vital technology.  

“Students can walk through the doors to either find a project, apply their creativity and knowledge, or join with us on our mission. Our resources can go either way, whether that be on the academic side or the commercial side,” Glaser said. 

Whether students want to create and invest in their own ideas or contribute to something else, Glaser is passionate about providing an interactive experience for the individual. LabX has resources and opportunities for students involved in business, marketing, engineering, bioengineering and even psychology. 

“It’s what drives me. Getting students in. Get them working on stuff. I have been taking interns since 2017,” Glaser said. “When they meet me, I am not trying to get something out of them. This is 100% for them.” 

Although Glaser is not looking for a specific type of person, his ideal student possesses three qualities: open-mindedness, commitment and tenacity. 

“There is not a handbook here to follow. We admire creative, motivated students who take initiative and think on their feet,” Glaser said.

Grace Paradis, a senior majoring in health science at FGCU, is one of the students currently involved with Neuro-Tech, a project under LabX. She first heard about the opportunities offered through LabX from a professor who introduced her to Glaser. 

“Neuro-Tech is a great platform and opportunity to be creative and work with others,” Paradis said. “It is nice to be a part of this group of individuals who are all extremely welcoming and intelligent.” 

Paradis is interested in pursuing neuroscience and said that her experience with Neuro-Tech has helped her structure research projects that could eventually lead to publication.  

“I would definitely recommend Neuro-Tech, as well as Space Tech, to other FGCU students or alumni. It is a great opportunity if you want to start launching a new project or even a product. There is always work and seats available,” Paradis said. 

Paradis is seeking to obtain her physician assistant master’s degree after graduation. She is unsure if her plans will take her out of Southwest Florida but said that, if she were still in the area, she would love to stay working with Neuro-Tech. 

In Marko Petrovic’s case, that is exactly what happened. 

Petrovic met Glaser at an FGCU internship fair over three years ago and was introduced to the Emergent Technologies Institute as a student. 

“I immediately was drawn to LabX and the various projects dealing with novel and cutting-edge technologies,” Petrovic said. “What started as an internship at LabX grew into a full-time opportunity.” 

Petrovic currently serves as the chief technology officer at Space Tech and has been with the company for two years. As CTO, Petrovic said he has worked on technology ranging from artificial intelligence and computer vision to hardware and edge-computing applications. 

“The culture of combining an entrepreneurial mindset, emergent technologies, and meaningful work has a positive impact on society and the community around us,” Petrovic said. “The relationships I have formed with people from different backgrounds, and the knowledge I have gained from their experiences, have been invaluable to me.” 

Petrovic encourages students who are passionate about space and technology to reach out and learn more about Space Tech. 

“Take risks and make mistakes. They are valuable opportunities to learn and grow. Do not shy away from networking with people in an industry you are passionate about, and always be open to feedback and advice,” Petrovic said. 

Glaser wants to emphasize that students can earn internship credit through their experience with Space Tech or LabX. Space Tech is seeking software engineers and anyone who is hands-on with hardware, familiar with design software or works with drones. 

“We are all at the same table, I just happened to sit down first. But once you are sitting down next to me, we are all equal. Everyone has a different set of skills they can bring to that table,” Glaser said. 

Most of all, whether students choose to continue their time with LabX or take their gained knowledge elsewhere, Glaser said he is proud to be a part of that lineage in a student’s journey. Glaser encourages all students who are interested in getting involved, to visit https://lab-x.tech/ to connect with him directly. 

“It doesn’t matter what walk of life or what you would like to get involved in, I think we’ve got a spot for anyone,” Glaser said.