Retired Air Force Colonel, Sean Frisbee, was on a mission to help the U.S. Air Force and the economic state of West Virginia. Last year, he founded Vertx Partners, a collaborative effort alongside Parallax Advanced Research, to support the development of science and technology innovation in Appalachia. 

Originally hailing from upstate New York, the former President and CEO of the WVU Alumni Association and Systems Program Director for the Pentagon’s F-22 Raptor program brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Vertx’s mission to transform the Mountain State into a 21st-century powerhouse for national security, defense, and research innovation.

Without access to any state or local military base, the idea of Vertx, remarks Frisbee, is a daunting one. As a graduate of WVU in Aerospace Engineering, however, he has seen firsthand the number of talented businesses and leaders in West Virginia. He is confident they will bolster the efforts of the U.S. Air Force for years to come. 

“Vertx Partners is a company that connects entrepreneurs, technologies, small businesses, and other entities in trying to solve national security problems; all while working to improve West Virginia’s workforce,” said Frisbee. 

The company specializes in artificial intelligence and big data, advanced manufacturing, robotics, propulsion, and security. It will continue developing an innovative network of partners from the federal and state government, technological industry, and academia to address complex issues within the Department of Defense. 

“Aerospace is already impacting much of [West Virginia],” said Frisbee. “[And] it will continue to have a positive impact on the entire state.”

Vertx’s efforts promise to bring more economic opportunities to small businesses and research institutions throughout the state, especially in the wake of $9.6 million in federal funding being awarded to Parallax Partners for the further expansion of West Virginia and the Appalachian region.

If you’d like to keep up with Sean and Vertx Partners, you can visit

Listen to the full podcast here:


  • RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: The Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
  • PIECE OF ADVICE: “Find a mentor,” advised Frisbee.