Happy New Year! From the Desk of LIFT CEO & Executive Director Nigel Francis

Nigel Francis

Happy New Year to you and yours!

I sincerely hope each of you had the opportunity over the holiday season to relax and enjoy the time with family and friends. It is a wonderful time of year that allows us to reflect on what is truly important while recharging our batteries… and plan for the year to come and the start of phase 2 of LIFT.

2018 was a year of transition for LIFT with new leadership coming on board. There is no doubt that 2019 will be transformational in many positive ways as we further ramp up our Education & Workforce Development activities across the nation and reinforce and grow our Technology Program activities, including some major program activities with the Department of Defense. In fact, I expect by the time I deliver this message in January 2020, our institute will have significantly grown from the solid foundation already set over the past years during Phase 1 of our evolution.

Next month, February 2019, marks the 5-year anniversary of the formation of our institute and the point at which our initial contract with the Department of Defense will be winding down and the next growth phase of our institute will launch. Our CTO, Hadrian Rori, and I are mid-way through a national road trip visiting many of our Gold and Silver members and academic partners to listen to their thoughts and wishes for our activities over the coming years. If you have thoughts on what and how we should be delivering on our mission, now is the time to drop us an email with those thoughts as we are planning our Phase 2 activities.

For those of you who have recently visited our Detroit facility, you have seen the second tranche of construction going on here as we install new pieces of equipment – a Heller 5-axis machining center and the largest of its kind linear friction welder – as well as building out our unique LIFT Learning Lab and additional office space – needed to house our enhanced engineering and program management teams as they grow throughout 2019.

With those machines coming online and the Learning Lab rolling to completion in the first quarter of this year, we are well positioned to achieve our goal of becoming the national, and global, resource for lightweighting innovation, collaboration and education.

Our federal and industry partners have clearly stated their commitment to continuing support of LIFT going forward as we evolve into that national role and grow financially and in competency terms. We are looking forward to providing additional innovation, collaboration and educational & workforce development opportunities to companies small and large, as well as students, teachers and workers of all levels.

As we march towards our 5th birthday, LIFT is vibrant and healthy and I am excited to share in that transition with each of you throughout 2019. We all have a lot of work to do – let’s get it done – together!