Having an Impact Beyond Technology… From the desk of Executive Director Larry Brown

From the desk of Executive Director Larry Brown

Larry BrownWhen I first drove by the building which would become the LIFT Headquarters in Detroit, I wanted to keep driving past it.

The building, which had been home to a plastic injection molding company, had been abandoned for at least 10 years and everything of any value had been stripped out of it – an unfortunate occurrence in Detroit during the Great Recession of nearly 10 years ago.

However, after meeting with local officials, including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, touring the building and learning what was going on in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, we decided to make it our home.

Not only did it fit our needs as an institute, it also allowed us to bring into our facility the Vehicle Scale Up team from IACMI – The Composites Institute.

More than that, , by moving into this building and investing tens of millions into the building and the manufacturing equipment being installed, we are moving beyond just having an impact on lightweight metals technology; we are having an impact on the Detroit community.

The mission of the institutes has always been about developing technology and a enabling a prepared workforce. Yet also, in my estimation, it has also been about impacting a community as well. We are proud to be making an impact in Detroit and are even more proud that Mayor Duggan took the time to recognize the institute during a presentation to Michigan business leaders and elected officials at the recent Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference.
Our high bay is not totally built out yet, and it will take a few more months to be completed, but we are proud that the impact in Detroit is already being felt and recognized.

Bringing Small Companies to the Forefront

Another of the tasks given to the institutes around the country is to help the small and medium enterprise (SME) community engage with the manufacturing industry as a whole, as well as show off their innovative technologies to key stakeholders, reaching government and large corporations.

At LIFT, we have done this several ways, from providing networking opportunities between large and small companies to giving SMEs the opportunity to show their technology and engage with people at high levels of government – including cabinet secretaries. There has been some recent success in LIFT member Flash Banite being recognized by the Department of Energy.

To continue that work, this month, we are beginning a webinar series for SMEs to talk about their technology and what they can offer called “LIFT Off: A Lightweighting Technology Showcase for Small/Medium-Size Companies” stay tuned for more information on these informative monthly sessions.