Five Years and Then Some… From the Desk of LIFT CEO and Executive Director Nigel Francis

Nigel Francis

Since LIFT was founded by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) back in 2014, and especially over the past six months, we have been increasing our focus toward mid-2019 as a transformational tipping point for the institute. We knew that it would be a time when the value of our work would be measured with our initial five-year cooperation agreement with the Department of Defense set to expire at the end of February.

As you likely saw from our recent announcement, I am proud to say that our federal partners in the Department of Defense have extended that original contract for one year as we work towards a new long-term agreement.

By receiving that extension and our ongoing forward negotiation toward a new long-term agreement we have shown that this institute is delivering value to industry and to the DOD and is well positioned to continue doing so well into the future. Our partnership is alive and growing and our network is strong and of high national value.

Of course, as we have said before, there is no way any of this could have been accomplished without the commitment and hard work of our network. The men and women working with us from government, industry, universities, community colleges, schools, economic development agencies and other organizations across the country have taken this institute from concept to realization, and the complete LIFT team is grateful to them all for their collective commitment, efforts and diligence, so far, and into the future we will forge together.

So where are we heading? We welcome your input as we plan phase 2 of LIFT. Please write in with your thoughts to either myself, Emily DeRocco or Hadrian Rori we want to hear from you! There are a number of options available to us as the world of advanced manufacturing evolves and the need for faster and smarter innovation grows, but that is exactly what makes this an exciting time.

As we solidify our future path, the work we originally set out to do is ongoing. On the technology front, we will be launching a new set of smaller, quicker “Fast Forge” technology projects in the coming months, with the focus on supporting our small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) members. And on the Education and Workforce Development side, we are also looking forward to the launch of the LIFT Learning Lab here in our Detroit facility towards the middle of the year.

We have passed a major milestone having reached the five-year mark, but we know our work and the impact we can have on manufacturing is just beginning, and I invite you to join us as we enter our next phase.

Our door, and more specifically my door, is always open and I, and our team, look forward to collaborating with you.