It Is All About The Network… From the Desk of LIFT CEO and Executive Director Nigel Francis

Nigel Francis

I have said since coming to LIFT last year that our institute is more than just the talented people who work here in our Detroit headquarters or other locations around the country. Our institute is the hundreds of technical and education & workforce development experts from around the country who are contributing to our mission of revolutionizing manufacturing through innovation and education.

Along with those members, we have other stakeholders including the U.S. Department of Defense as well as State of Michigan and City of Detroit officials to name a few.

It is a rare opportunity to have groups of those various stakeholders in the same room at any one time, however, we did have the chance to see that a few times recently.

Beginning with the North American International Auto Show, held each year just a short distance away from our headquarters in Detroit. We were able to connect with many of our members and partners in the automotive world, as well as reach out to those who should be a part of LIFT. We also had the chance to introduce ourselves to Michigan’s new Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and Lt. Governor, Garlin Gilchrist, and update them on the growth of LIFT and invite them for a tour of our facility.

Later in January, we were able to participate in a National Academy of Sciences workshop with our Department of Defense partners, fellow institutes, and members from academia and industry – both large a small.  The goal was to work with the Department of Defense to discuss and plan for the department’s future investment in the institutes. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with those who have working with LIFT over the years to learn what we have done well and where there is room for improvement.

We also had the chance to connect with two members of our Michigan Congressional Delegation to share with them the impact the federal investment in LIFT has had on the manufacturing base so far and our vision for the continued impact it will have in the future.

All of those meetings reminded me, and the rest of our partners, that our strength lies in our network. It also reminded me that it has done some amazing things over the years, but there is still so much more that can be done.

For those of you who have been with us for all or part of our first five years, I want to thank you for your commitment. For those who have not yet joined us as members, I encourage you to come visit to look around and talk to us about the next five, 10 or 20 years and how we can help you, and in turn, help the nation.