Successes, Challenges Of Boosting Manufacturing In Capital Region

Apr 25, 2014

This week, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and GlobalFoundries hosted the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 Regional Meeting.

Credit RPI

Scientists, engineers and researchers joined manufacturers at RPI Thursday to assess the future of manufacturing in the Capital Region by contrasting it with the strengths and challenges of manufacturing around the nation.  Officials agreed:  things are looking good.

RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson: "Little bit of history: In 2011 PCAST, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, wrote a report to the president on the need to rejuvenate manufacturing in this country through what is called advanced manufacturing, using new techniques and processes and technologies for existing businesses, as well as doing those things to create a fertile ecosystem for the commercialization of new products and new enterprises. Out of that came the formation of what's called the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership which is now on it's second iteration."

Amp 2.0 is one of several regional meetings taking place across the country to gather input from regional stakeholders, generate ideas, and identify examples of innovative strategies for recommendations to President Barack Obama in strengthening U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.

Michael Molnar is chief manufacturing officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology.   "Just last week the president and the vice president made the announcement about an apprenticeship program. And this is something that the amp leaders were personally engaged with, and, amp principles are taking the lead with pilots around the nation about apprenticeships for skilled trades."

Ajit Manochat of GlobalFoundries cited successful public-private partnerships with IBM, Hudson Valley Community College and Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.  "Driving the national agenda of creating skilled workforce and creating jobs in the State of New York. GlobalFoundries since its inception has created well over 20,000 jobs within GlobalFoundries and around GlobalFoundries in less than four years."

Also on hand: RPI graduate Gavin McIntyre, the Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of Ecovative Design.  "Over the last 7 years we've grown from two guys in the basement of the Rensselaer business incubator to over 70 engineers, scientists, production staff and business personnel that have grown a business that was on the lab bench just seven years ago, with technologies that have been sold and licensed globally. And the reason that we have been successful as we have has been based on partnerships with the university, leveraging some of the research centers that are here at Rensselaer, including the Center for Automation technology, as well as partnerships with the public sector which have given us the initial seed capital to get off the ground and into manufacturing."

WAMC profiled Ecovative Design in 2009.

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