Minority business enterprise manufacturers to meet in Atlanta August 15-16 for second annual National MBE Manufacturers Summit

Networking MBDA Summit 2016

Attendees of the inaugural National MBE Manufacturers Summit in Atlanta in 2016 discuss issues affecting minority business enterprises. (FILE PHOTO)

More than 250 minority business enterprise (MBE) manufacturers from across the country will be in Atlanta August 15 and 16 for the second annual National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2017.


The Summit, which is hosted by the Atlanta Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Advanced Manufacturing Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Global Learning Center, brings together world-class leaders in manufacturing and is the premier event that brings industry peers together, facilitates networking and procurement opportunities, and highlights innovation.


BMW Group, Enhanced Capital, FORCAM, Grady Health System, Ingersoll Rand, Novant Health, Siemens, and WestRock are Summit sponsors.


Among the highlights for attendees of the 2017 Summit:

  • One-on-one fast pitch meetings with corporations and original equipment manufacturers.
  • Experiencing the most cutting-edge technologies through on-site “innovation pods.”
  • High-level exposure for companies participating in the second annual “Poster Walk Competition.”


Featured speakers include:


“We are building on the success of last year’s inaugural program, and a critical focus of this effort is innovation because it remains a key issue, according to our MBE manufacturers,” said Donna Ennis, Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center director. “Our Summit is designed to facilitate critical one-on-one meetings between our attendees and corporations, as well as provide the opportunity for our MBE attendees to network with one another.”


The Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Georgia Tech’s chief economic development and business outreach arm. A sister program to the Atlanta MBDA Business Center, the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center was created via a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce MBDA awarded to Georgia Tech in 2016.


One of four such centers across the country, Tech will receive $1.25 million over a five-year period to operate the Center, which is charged with providing targeted assistance to MBE manufacturers. The funding is designed to help identify, screen, promote, and refer MBEs to specialized advanced manufacturing programs, and provide technical and business development services and assist with access to capital, opportunities and markets.


According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners, the number of minority-owned manufacturers increased 30 percent between 2007 and 2012 to nearly 107,000. These firms generated $80 billion in annual revenue in 2012. More than 25,000 minority manufacturers employ almost 332,000 workers.

The Summit is an outgrowth of the Atlanta MBDA Business Center’s Connecting Advanced Manufacturing Program (CAMP), which is now the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center, Ennis said. “The vision behind CAMP and what led to us creating the Summit is to connect MBE manufacturers in the ecosystem to business opportunities, research, innovation, funding, and critical information they need to grow and thrive as businesses,” she said.


To register for the Summit and for more information, please visit mbemanufacturersummit.com.


About the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center:

Focused on building a national ecosystem of minority business enterprise (MBE) manufacturers, partners, and stakeholders, the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center creates expansion opportunities for MBE manufacturers by facilitating their growth through innovation and technology, training and education, as well as advocating inclusiveness with corporate suppliers.


About the Atlanta MBDA Business Center:

As part of a national network of 42 centers, the Atlanta MBDA Business Center helps minority business enterprises access capital, increase profitability, create jobs, and become sustainable. It is part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. For more information, please visit mbdabusinesscenter-atlanta.org.

Minority business enterprise manufacturers to meet in Atlanta March 24 for inaugural National MBE Manufacturers Summit

Alejandra Y. Castillo, national director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Commerce Department, is one of the featured keynote speakers at the National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2016.

America’s manufacturing sector is undergoing rapid change and innovation, incorporating hi-tech advancements across all sectors of the industry.


What do these changes mean for minority-owned manufacturers? How are they meeting the demands and partnering with other manufacturers and customers to incorporate innovation into their operations?


Those factors and others comprise the central focus of the inaugural National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2016 scheduled for March 24 in Atlanta. The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and its MBDA Business Center Network are hosting the Summit, which is sponsored in part by BMW, the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Grady Health System, Ingersoll Rand, and Novant Health. It will take place at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Global Learning Center.


“We are focused on ensuring that attendees maximize their day by meeting one-on-one with corporations and original equipment manufacturers seeking to do business with MBE manufacturers,” said Donna Ennis, MBDA Business Center-Atlanta’s director. “We’re bringing all of these parties together in this first-of-its-kind national forum to get those conversations started in a real, substantive way.”


The MBE manufacturing community is often overlooked by the broader manufacturing community and, in general, does not access the myriad national and local resources and expertise available to them, Ennis said. The Summit’s breakout sessions are designed to address that.


Among the key discussion topics and event highlights:

  • Business-to-business matchmaking and one-on-one fast pitching to multinational and major corporations.
  • A “Poster Walk” showcase of companies that will feature projects in the areas of innovation, productivity, and sustainability.
  • Manufacturing trends in health care and cybersecurity.
  • Access to technology transfer opportunities and information.
  • Opportunities in the global marketplace.
  • Procurement and supplier diversity trends.


“This is an excellent opportunity for our MBE Manufacturers to collectively dialogue and share information that will support their success now and in the future,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA’s national director and one of the Summit’s featured speakers. “We hope everyone will join us in Atlanta.”


Other featured speakers at the Summit include:

  • G.P. “Bud” Peterson, Georgia Tech president.
  • Derreck Kayongo, co-founder of the Global Soap Project and CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights.


To register for the Summit and for more information, please visit www.mbemanufacturersummit.org.


About the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta:

As part of a national network of 44 centers, the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta helps MBEs access capital, increase profitability, create jobs, and become sustainable. It is part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. For more information, please visit mbdabusinesscenter-atlanta.org.

Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership meet Washington officials, discuss Northwest Georgia advanced manufacturing sector

U.S. Rep. Rep. TomGraves meets with Northwest Georgia leaders in Washington, D.C., October 21, 2015

U.S. Rep. Rep. TomGraves meets with Northwest Georgia leaders in Washington, D.C., October 21, 2015

A group of representatives from the Northwest Georgia Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) “Floor360 Consortium” recently attended the 2015 IMCP Summit in Washington, D.C. The Consortium members met with elected officials and partner agencies of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to discuss the growth of the advanced manufacturing sector in Northwest Georgia.


As part of the Oct. 20 visit to Washington D.C., the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) organized a meeting with other IMCP manufacturing communities in their service area, the Tennessee DRIVE community, and the Greater Pittsburgh Metals Manufacturing community.

Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), which advises businesses on how to succeed and thrive, has been working with industry and community leaders through a federal EDA grant awarded in 2014 to support the IMPC initiative. The “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” awards were designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and create jobs.

Preparing for Growth: Georgia Tech Helps Custom Orthotics Manufacturer Increase Production by 200 Percent

LAGRANGE – OrthoCare Labs was preparing to move into a new manufacturing facility when it contacted Derek Woodham, a Georgia Tech regional manager who serves west Georgia companies. The collaboration that resulted helped the company expand its sales by more than $1 million per year, add seven jobs, save nearly a quarter million dollars – and make a big investment in the LaGrange, Ga. community.

OrthoCare production

Dr. Ric Hollstrom (left), owner of OrthoCare Labs, discusses the company’s products with Derek Woodham, Georgia Tech regional manager. Woodham helped the company redesign its manufacturing process to increase production.

The seven-year-old company, which makes custom orthotics – shoe inserts – for athletes, diabetics and others, is now poised for additional growth.

“We would not have been able to grow at the rate we have grown if we were still making our product the way we did before Derek helped us,” said Dr. Ric Hollstrom, the company’s owner. “Derek helped us change the complete flow of our process to make it smoother.”

Orthotics are by their nature custom products. Physicians make molds or take three-dimensional measurements of patients’ feet, then send the casts or data to OrthoCare. The company’s first production step is to carve a wooden replica of each patient’s feet using a precision router. From a variety of orthotic-grade polymer sheets, the devices are then vacuum-formed around the replica feet, finished and packaged for shipping.

Prior to the move, Dr. Hollstrom’s five staff members produced the orthotics in a departmental-type flow, in which one person was responsible for each aspect of the production, and would pass the products on to the next department in batches. This batch process created the potential for quality issues, and sometimes order confusion, because hundreds of individual products had to be kept separate.

“One of the issues was consistency of our product,” said Dr. Hollstrom. “Maintaining consistency when each product was custom-made was difficult.  It was also difficult to judge if the required consistency was there every time.”

Woodham, who is part of Georgia Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), visited the company’s old facility to learn the production process and talk with the staff. He listened to Dr. Hollstrom’s concerns and heard his interest in adopting lean processes, which systematically reduce wasted time and resources. And Woodham understood the company’s potential for growth.

OrthoCare computer specifications

Dr. Ric Hollstrom (foreground), owner of OrthoCare Labs, and Derek Woodham, Georgia Tech regional manager, examine computer-based specifications for the company’s custom orthotic products. Woodham helped the company redesign its manufacturing process to increase production.

What he recommended was a complete change in the organization of the manufacturing process.  Instead of producing the orthotics departmentally and in batches, Woodham recommended creating flow cells in which a small team works together to complete products in one continuous operation.

Because a pair of orthotics could be made by the same group of workers in a continuous process, quality issues could be identified and addressed immediately. Having fewer products in process reduced the potential for mix-ups. In the new system, most orders were completed and shipped in a single day, besting the old process, which could take a week or more.

“The flow cell creates a better communications path from the beginning to the end,” explained Woodham.  “It’s easier to keep up with custom orders because you don’t have a large number of products waiting to be completed.”

For a fast-growing company, switching to manufacturing cells also had an important benefit: production could be ramped up simply by adding cells following the plan Woodham designed.

“The company felt an urgency to get this right before they moved into their new facility,” he explained. “Our work was a matter of understanding their processing steps and developing what would be the best layout for the equipment and the best way for the staff to work together.”

Dr. Hollstrom said the flow cells allowed the company to expand production from approximately 80 sets of orthotics per day to 250 – a more than 200 percent increase.  The improved product quality reduced the number of products returned by the doctors ordering them, and faster turnaround time increased customer satisfaction.

The improvements also caught the attention of a company that sells footwear for people who have diabetes. That customer has already sent some business to the company, and is discussing the possibility of expanding its orders. If that happens, OrthoCare’s sales could again grow dramatically, putting as many as 25 more people to work.

Dr. Hollstrom believes that growth can be accommodated without changing the processes Woodham established. He’ll just add more workers and cells.

Not surprisingly, he is pleased with the work done by Georgia Tech and Derek Woodham.

“We added more than a million dollars worth of business to the company as a result of Derek’s work,” Dr. Hollstrom said. “Derek always told me what I needed to know, even though I didn’t always want to hear it.  For instance, I thought batching was better than the cell process, but he timed it and convinced me otherwise.  What we are doing right now works very well.”

About GaMEP: The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and is a member of the national MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The GaMEP, with offices in nine regions across the state, has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960.  With a broad range of industrial expertise, the GaMEP helps manufacturing companies across Georgia grow and stay competitive.  It offers a solution-based approach through technical assistance, coaching, education, and connections to Georgia Tech, industry and state resources designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost.

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia  30308  USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986)(ude.hcetagnull@nootj).

Writer: John Toon

Hoshizaki Boosts Productivity and Cuts Costs with Continuous Improvement System

PEACHTREE CITY – The Peachtree City, Ga. facility of Hoshizaki America — a manufacturer of commercial ice makers, dispensers, refrigerators and related products — recently cut its costs by more than $7 million and increased productivity by 75 percent through implementation of a continuous improvement system.

Studying processes at Hoshizaki

Derek Woodham (right), Georgia Tech’s west Georgia regional manager, confers with Hoshizaki’s Jim Quo (left) and Kevin Sanders at the company’s facility in Peachtree City.

The impressive results, produced with assistance from Georgia Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), came about after the company had labored for a number of years to sustain a continuous improvement system. These earlier improvement efforts had focused on large projects using a team-based approach, which highlighted both the existence of activities that didn’t add value and the invisible walls between departments. For competitive reasons, the company felt the need for improvement was critical.

In 2007, Derek Woodham and Larry Alford, Georgia Tech lean specialists, conducted a lean assessment of the company’s operations.

“When the results came back from the lean audit, we began questioning our business,” said Jeff Tatum, Hoshizaki’s director of manufacturing improvements. “Our CEO decided to implement the lean approach, and each person in a leadership role was required to complete lean reading material. This helped our leadership team fully understand the difference between value-added and non-value-added work.”

In-house lean simulation training class for executives and other key personnel added to this foundation. By the end of the courses, Hoshizaki staff had mapped current and future value streams, identified appropriate techniques for improvement, developed a lean strategy and planned the application of specific lean techniques.

Woodham then proposed a series of kaizen events. Kaizen, or rapid improvement, focuses on a particular process or activity that identifies and quickly removes waste. Tatum and other members of the leadership team decided to focus their efforts on four product lines in the plant.

“The results of the kaizen events were so remarkable that a Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO) was established to implement lean across the organization,” Tatum said.  “It really became the lean training center and the change agent for the organization.”

Hoshizaki also began implementing 5S in each manufacturing area. 5S (sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing, and sustaining) is a method for organizing the workplace. The “sort” phase led to the establishment of a red tag system for sorting unused items from each work area. Visual control aids were made available to each area during the “set” phase, and time was allocated for cleaning and inspection during the “shine” phase.

In 2009, Hoshizaki began to see double-digit productivity improvements that company officials expect to see continue.

“Georgia Tech training allowed each of the KPO members to understand the use and implementation method of the lean tools,” said Jim Procuro, senior vice president of manufacturing at Hoshizaki. “By using employee ideas to identify and eliminate waste, we have been able to establish a successful continuous improvement system.”

Tatum noted that more than 2,700 employee ideas were submitted last year and 43 percent of the suggestions were implemented. He expects that number to increase as Hoshizaki employees become more engaged and kaizen becomes a way of life.

Hoshizaki America was also the first company to join the Georgia Tech Lean Consortium, a forum for organizations to advance their knowledge and effective use of lean principles. According to Tatum, the monthly events have allowed companies to share and learn from each other and helped tremendously with Hoshizaki’s benchmarking.

“The learning tours have been fantastic and the Georgia Tech training — whether it’s a value stream mapping event or a lean boot camp — has been very useful in helping our employees understand the tools and applications,” Tatum explained. “But there’s a lot of activity with Consortium members that takes place outside of Georgia Tech. It’s turned into a natural support function for continuing to learn.”

Both Tatum and Procuro attribute Hoshizaki’s success to support from the CEO and his executive team for the lean initiative and for the flexibility to adjust goals and measures as the project developed. Tatum noted that while other companies were worried about jobs and survival last year, Hoshizaki was able to give bonuses to its employees.

“Something like that encourages the employees to push that much harder, because they know the honesty and integrity are there on the part of the leadership team,” he said. “Now lean is internalized and is just part of our own way of doing things in every project we do now. We are thankful that Georgia Tech continues to be there to support our journey.”

About GaMEP: The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and is a member of the national MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The GaMEP, with offices in nine regions across the state, has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960.  With a broad range of industrial expertise, the GaMEP helps manufacturing companies across Georgia grow and stay competitive.  It offers a solution-based approach through technical assistance, coaching, education, and connections to Georgia Tech, industry and state resources designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost.

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia  30308  USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986)(ude.hcetagnull@nootj).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

Next Generation Manufacturing Event Spotlights Georgia Manufacturing Renaissance

Targeted innovation and growth can lead to a manufacturing renaissance in the state of Georgia – that was the message delivered to a sold-out industry-focused conference at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently.

Industry speakers at the Next Generation Manufacturing event, held Oct. 18 at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) Conference Center, told attendees that manufacturing is thriving in Georgia and that the right strategies will continue to lead to growth in jobs, revenues and the state’s economic base. Among the companies leading the discussion were KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Lockheed Martin Corp., Shaw Industries Group Inc. and TOTO USA Inc.

“This conference brought together a strong mix of state manufacturing companies, industry-leading speakers, and local and national trade resources,” said Chris Downing, director of the Industry Services Division of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, which helped organize the event. “The paramount focus was on educating state manufacturers about the many resources available to them – and also the real-world benefits of taking advantage of these resources.”

The event’s speakers shared their Georgia growth stories with more than 250 attendees. Speakers included Lockheed Martin Corp’s Michael Joyce, senior vice president of operations and programs; TOTO USA’s Bill Strang, senior vice president of operations; Vance Bell, CEO of Shaw Industries, and Randy Jackson, vice president of human resources and administration for KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia.

“Kia is very well positioned as we move into the next generation of manufacturing because of the lessons of continuous improvement and the one-system, one-team approach we teach through the Kia Way,” Jackson said. “As we move forward, we’re always looking to make tomorrow even better than today.”

Georgia Tech provided attendees with tours of three premier research centers: the Manufacturing Research Center (MaRC), the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST) and the Food Processing Technology Division Center. Attendees were able to view first-hand many of the advanced manufacturing technologies and methodologies that Georgia Tech makes available to the state’s companies.

“Georgia has had a strong manufacturing presence for many decades,” said Downing, a mechanical engineer who leads an assistance program for companies throughout the state. “The conference helped attendees better understand how cutting-edge technologies and techniques are working for some of our most successful corporations, and how that knowledge can be applied to manufacturing enterprises across Georgia.”

Writer: Rick Robinson

Gov. Deal’s Competitiveness Initiative Should Build on Past Efforts

Once again, the Atlanta region and the State of Georgia are seeking ways to improve the state’s competitive edge. For more than a decade, economic development leaders have been trying to figure out what industries Georgia should target to strengthen the state’s economy. The latest version of this endeavor is Gov. Nathan Deal’s Competitiveness Initiative. . .On Monday, July 18, Deal’s Georgia Competitiveness Initiative Summit was to focus on the metro Atlanta economy. In addition to Cummiskey and Clark, Tad Leithead, chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission, was listed as “special guests.” The featured speakers: Bud Peterson, president of Georgia Tech; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Donna Hyland, CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Larry Callahan, CEO of Patillo Construction Co and chairman of the Regional Business Coalition; Bob Drewel, executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council and founder of the Prosperity Partnership.


Athens Brewery Taps into Georgia Tech Assistance to Expand Business

Rob Ginn, a strategic business manager with Georgia Tech

When Brian “Spike” Buckowski and John Cochran graduated from college, they had more experience in drinking beer than in running a brewery. Still, their disparate paths of corporate video communications and risk management insurance led them to work at the same place: Atlanta Brewing Company. Although they were working in different parts of the company, they had a dream of one day building their own brewery.

In 1998, after eight months of hammering out a business plan, Cochran and Buckowski began seeking funding for their dream brewery – Terrapin Beer Co. Although the craft beer movement really kicked off on the west coast in the early ‘90s, microbreweries in Georgia and the southeast were pretty much non-existent at that time.

After finally deciding to use an Atlanta contract brewer to get their product out into the market, Cochran and Buckowski debuted their Rye Pale Ale at the Athens Beer Festival. Six months later, that same beer won best pale ale in the country in 2002 at the Great American Beer Festival. In 2004, Terrapin’s second beer, the Golden Ale, won a silver medal in the World Beer Cup, which led to the company’s unofficial motto of “Two Years, Two Beers, Two Medals.”

With all of the beer company’s success, the two business partners had built the brand to a point where they could attract investors. In 2006, they were finally able to open their brewery in Athens. As the business grew, Buckowski and Cochran favored investing in the brand’s rapid growth but experienced philosophical differences with their investment group. It was around this time that Rob Ginn, a strategic business manager with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), made a cold call on the company and dropped off a business card.

Ginn, who describes his job as “CEO mentoring,” assisted Buckowski and Cochran with filling the company’s empty board seat and locating appropriate legal counsel. He also helped them with reviewing and finally closing on an investment contract that allowed the two founders to buy out the original investment group while retaining the equity they had developed in the company. EI2 offers strategic business analysis services for small manufacturers and entrepreneurs, including assistance reviewing business plans and financing options for expansion and growth, planning for succession and family-owned business, structured monthly coaching and process benchmarking and resource connections.

“Spike and John are great clients to work with because they are passionate about their company, and they’ve worked hard to get it where it is. My role in helping these guys was to support the management team while looking for investment alternatives, then help them act quickly when we finally had the deal,” Ginn recalled. “If we had not made the end-of-the-year deadline, then this company probably wouldn’t have been here by September.”

Terrapin Beer Co. remains an independent brewery today after receiving a loan from Miller-owned Tenth and Blake Beer Co. When Terrapin started nine years ago, it produced 165 barrels of beer in its first year; last year, it made 18,000 barrels, equal to $5 million in sales.

Terrapin produces four beers year-round and a number of seasonal selections. The nine-year-old company, which employs 30 people, currently has a $3.2 million capital expansion plan in the works. Ginn will continue to assist as needed with Terrapin’s plans for a new brew house mill and other brewing capacity additions to meet the growing demand for the company’s craft beers.

“The next step for Terrapin is an expansion – I don’t mean geographic markets – we’re going to need a bigger brew house, more tanks, more kegs, more employees. Just growing the company and making more beer for the southeast. Our goal is to be the best brewer in the southeast,” noted Cochran. “People in this country are really getting turned on to better things – better food, better coffee, better cheese – and beer is just another part of that. The sky is the limit as to what this industry is going to do.”

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.


Enterprise Innovation Institute

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA


Media Relations Contact:  John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noot.nhoj).


Writer: Nancy Fullbright


Rockefeller Introduces Advanced Manufacturing Bill

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is the latest Washington politician to push “advanced manufacturing” as a national priority. The West Virginia Democrat introduced a bill in Senate July 8 to train workers in new and emerging manufacturing fields… Several universities will be involved in the program, including MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. It also will involve industrial partners, including Caterpillar Inc., Allegheny Technologies and Dow Chemical Co.


Made in Georgia, Again

lexander Hamilton said that “Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufacturers.”

That statement is perhaps even more relevant today than it was 200 years ago. How do we get back to “made in America?” The answer is that the same spirit of innovation and collaboration that once gave us pre-eminence in manufacturing can help us regain our competitiveness, thereby creating jobs, increasing exports and serving as a catalyst for a healthy economy.

In today’s global environment, “made in America” is not enough. We need “invented in America” or, better yet, “invented and manufactured in Georgia.”

Each year, the National Science Board produces a report on Science and Engineering Indicators. The latest report clearly indicates that many countries are making science, engineering and technology a national priority. These fields address important issues, ensure global competitiveness and create new jobs. They also drive world-class innovation, research and development. This requires that we prepare students with the necessary background at all levels: elementary, secondary and post-secondary.

Georgia Tech partners with k-12 schools in a wide variety of programs, ranging from teacher preparation to summer camps for students.

Another key to America’s competitiveness is our ability to move new ideas and innovations quickly from the lab to the manufacturing floor. We can do that through increased cooperation between universities and the public and private sectors.

President Barack Obama recently outlined an Advanced Manufacturing Partnership to do just that. In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal, through the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative, has acted to ensure that the business community and state government develop a long-term economic strategy. Tech will host one of the regional meetings this month.

Georgia Tech is committed to partnering with business, industry and government in Georgia, as well as nationally, to strengthen our economy. We offer a comprehensive array of economic development programs with representatives in 25 locations around the state. We are a national leader among research universities in collaborative research with industry.

Georgia Tech’s support in manufacturing technology spans research, education, and outreach.

A central focus is provided through the Manufacturing Research Center (MARC), an interdisciplinary research center targeting specific industry needs. Research, outreach and transition activities are also supported by the College of Engineering, the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). In many ways, our economic independence is up to us.

Our greatest challenges can be solved through innovation and fostering an entrepreneurial environment, as well as collaboration between industry, education, and government to create a healthy economic environment and an educated workforce.


G. P. “Bud” Peterson is president of Georgia Institute of Technology. He was just named to the newly created Advanced Manufacturing Partnership steering committee.