LIFT appoints director to lead government tech programs

From the auto world to national defense with a eye on digital efficiency.

Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT), a U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored national manufacturing-innovation institute, recently announced it has hired Peter Czech as director of government programs.

Czech joins LIFT after spending more than nine years as a professor of program management and a course manager of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Staff Specialist Course at the Defense Acquisition University. As a professor at the university, Czech was tasked with leading executive-program managers in the science of managing successful programs and consulting program areas of need including leadership, systems engineering, manufacturing, intellectual property, industry and additive manufacturing.

Prior to working at the University, Czech spent 30 years at Chrysler Corporation in several roles, including program management for multiple new-vehicle programs.

“We are thrilled to have Pete moving back to Michigan and help lead the government programs here at LIFT,” said Hadrian Rori, chief technology officer at LIFT. “As a partner with the Department of Defense, we are working on several technologies in support of the warfighter and Pete will play a key role in bringing those programs forward.”

“This is an excellent opportunity to move back home but continue to support the men and women in uniform and the Department of Defense,” Czech said. “The work LIFT is doing will have a major impact on our national defense, and I am looking forward to bringing my experience and expertise to the table.”

We wanted to dive deeper, so we posed a few questions to Peter. Take a look…

Smart Industry: Describe the LIFT program and your role in it.

Peter: LIFT provides a two-pronged approach to the strategic value of manufacturing for the United States. First, LIFT provides the advanced tools and technologies for manufacturers to develop the industrial base. Second, and as important as the first, is the workforce development to empower individuals in this rapidly expanding high-technology environment. In my role, I will be working with the LIFT leaders of both technology and education, along with workforce development, to ensure those verticals support our government partners.

Smart Industry: How do the auto and defense sectors compare in terms of adoption of smart manufacturing practices?

Peter: Both sectors have adaption rates influenced by differing factors. In the auto sector, the customer influences the adaption of smart manufacturing process by demanding new technology and lower costs. In contrast, the defense sector customer (the warfighter) demands “mission first”—they will accept current methods if it does not affect the mission. The defense sector also looks to the advantages that advanced manufacturing will bring to the fight.

Smart Industry: What is a progressive, digital-first component of the warfighter program that most excites you?

Peter: The digital twin. The ability to prototype, develop, test, and modify a design in the digital world. Supplying capability to the warfighter in shorter time than was possible in the past. The digital twin also allows for optimal manufacturing processes and technologies. These processes include lighting of materials and 3D printing.