Mobilizing the Ecosystem… From the Desk of Nigel Francis, CEO & Executive Director

Nigel Francis

Wherever you are in the country, it is my sincere hope that you and your families are safe and healthy during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This is truly an unprecedented time as most of us are working from home and trying to adjust to the “current normal” and hoping that it does not turn out to be a “new normal” going forward.

As you know, per the guidelines from the federal government and Centers For Disease Control (CDC) along with the executive orders from the State of Michigan, the LIFT facility remains substantially closed through May 1.

However, despite that closure, we, and our broader ecosystem, have continued to work toward our mission as a National Manufacturing Innovation Institute and Department of Defense partner by doing whatever we can to help our nation move forward and navigate this health and economic crisis. As you have seen, we continue to pass information to you on how both members of LIFT and those organizations which are not yet members, but are still in the manufacturing supply chain, can help.

Some of the things LIFT and our broader ecosystem have been working on include:

  • Connecting REMADE, one of our sister National Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, with the leadership at both Ford and General Motors related to the institute’s ventilator designs;
  • Working with IACMI to consolidate all the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) we have in our facility and donate it to a local Detroit health clinic;
  • 3D printing of N95 masks and face shields and donating them to local first responders in need;
  • Donated funds to a local organization producing fabric face masks for first responders;
  • Pulled together members of our ecosystem to respond to proposal requests for manufacturing technology from the Department of Defense, FEMA, National Institute of Standards and Technology;
  • Remained in contact with the leaders in the City of Detroit, State of Michigan and Department of Defense as our staff and our facility remain ready, willing and able to be mobilized and utilized if needed, and;
  • Weekly critical update calls with the leadership of each of the 14 national manufacturing innovation institutes.

You Can Still Help

Whether you are a member of LIFT or expect to be in the future, you are a part of our ecosystem and there are ways you can still help the nation get through this crisis.

FEMA COVD-19 Task Force

If you have medical supplies or materials which can be used to help fight the coronavirus, you are encouraged to see the information on how to get involved here.

Department of Defense Joint Acquisition Task Force

The Department of Defense is conducting a survey of the manufacturing supply base across the country through the Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF). You are encouraged to participate in the survey so that when there are specific manufacturing needs that need to be accelerated and/or ramped up, our federal partners know exactly where to go. You can participate in that survey here.

Let Us Help Tell Your Story

There is no doubt that many of your organizations have already been helping the country over the last several weeks. There is also no doubt that you have likely been so busy that you have not had time to sit and communicate everything you have been doing.

We would love to hear from you, so that we can help share your story across the nation. Whether it is the production of masks or designing ventilators or supporting your local first responders, let us know so we can help share the news about the U.S. manufacturing base rallying together when the country needed it most. Simply contacts us at and we will reach out to you to learn more about what you have been doing.

We are all in this together, and by working together – at the recommended distances – we will come out of this together.

Stay Safe and stay healthy.