Federal and state elected officials learn the importance of manufacturing while visiting the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute.
Posted Sep 04, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
Sound policy is the backbone of economic stability. Manufacturing policy, especially, has been the topic of speeches by everyone from President Barack Obama down to local chambers of commerce directors. In fact, at the July 25 Metro Policy Program at Brookings, Gene Sperling, director, National Economic Council, noted manufacturing’s significant role in the economic recovery, and added that, “It makes good sense for America to be more competitive in manufacturing and advanced manufacturing, and the right public policy mix of tax reform, infrastructure modernization and innovation can help us achieve this goal.”
As part of a Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute tour on Aug. 22, Jeremy Collins, chief of staff for Georgia Sen. David Shafer, and Yosra Khalifa, chief of staff for Georgia Sen. Ronni Chance, heard about the advantages of the "student-owned" Invention Studio.
To ensure that state and U.S. manufacturing policy is on the right track, five elected office representatives visited the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute in late August to catch up on the latest in manufacturing innovation. Visitors included Chris Carr, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (Aug. 13); U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and his Field Representative Bill Kokaly (Aug. 21); and Jeremy Collins, chief of staff for Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer, and Yosra Khalifa, chief of staff for Georgia Senate Majority Leader Ronnie Chance (Aug. 22).
“Visits like these with elected officials and their teams are critical to GTMI’s mission,” said Dr. Ben Wang, executive director of GTMI. “We are trying to build bridges between research, industry, and our policy makers to improve manufacturing competitiveness in the U.S. These visits allow us to provide information on the types of research that are taking place here at GTMI and why this research is important to meet certain challenges faced by U.S. manufacturers and to improve local and U.S. economies.”
Dr. Wang guided the guests through several GTMI research facilities. Depending on time, visitors saw the GTMI hi-bay area, digital printing lab, and the Georgia Tech Invention Studio. Graduate students Christopher Oberste hosted guests in the digital printing lab where they discussed current prosthetic research taking place in the lab. As part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs VA Innovation Initiative, GTMI researchers are using 3D printing and printed electronics to improve the comfort of prosthetics used by military amputees. Socket comfort will be improved by 3D printing softer, more pliable materials within the socket that come in contact with the skin, while printed electronics will be used to monitor internal socket temperatures and to identify pressure points.
In the hi-bay area, Dr. Rhett Mayor, associate professor with the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, provided details on micro-manufacturing and new heat transfer technologies. These technologies and manufacturing processes are currently being studied by aerospace manufacturers looking to improve efficiencies in engines and overall system efficiencies through weight reduction and better energy transfer.
Amit Jariwala, director of Design and Innovation at the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, showed GTMI’s guests the Invention Studio. A student-run design-build-play space, the Invention Studio is staffed by undergraduate lab instructors and student volunteers. It provides a unique hands on experience in a “student owned” space, promoting creativity, responsibility and community among Georgia Tech students.
Others presenters included Director of Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s Karen Fite. She provided an overview of the GaMEP program and its benefits to Georgia manufacturers.
“This was very informative,” said Rep. Collins after his tour. “This will help me to incorporate these ideas into policy.”
Tours of the GTMI labs are available to industry and elected officials. Please contact Tina Guldberg, direction, strategic partnerships, for more details: email@example.com or (404) 385-4950.