America Makes Announces Its First Satellite Center

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is proud to announce its plans to open its first America Makes Satellite Center on the campus of the Institute’s Platinum-level member, The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), in conjunction with UTEP’s renowned W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation.

Kevin Creehan, Ph.D., America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Transition, made the announcement on the first day of presentations at the America Makes Spring 2015 Program Review and Members Meeting, which was held on April 14-16, at the Williamson College of Business Administration Conference Center at Youngstown State University (YSU). In attendance for the announcement were UTEP’s Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., P.E., Director and Founder of the Keck Center and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Eric MacDonald, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Director of the Keck Center.

During his remarks, Dr. Creehan said, “Real-world technology transition takes place because of the activities and pursuits that collaborative and symbiotic relationships provide. With this new America Makes Satellite Center model, we are able to expand our current regional, industrial and technological footprint while further maximizing the reach and capabilities of the satellite through enhanced collaboration. We are proud to name America Makes member, The University of Texas at El Paso, as the site for the first America Makes Satellite Center.”

To ensure the long-term success of an expansion, America Makes decided to roll out the strategy as a pilot program, similar to the Institute’s own founding as the pilot Institute for the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) infrastructure. A short list of potential members for consideration for an America Makes Satellite Center was generated and compared to America Makes’ prerequisites and operational requirements. After internal and external vetting and an on-site evaluation, UTEP with its acclaimed W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation was ultimately selected as the pilot America Makes Satellite Center.

“This expansion strategy to establish our first Satellite Center at UTEP marks a new level of national reach for America Makes,” said Ralph Resnick, America Makes Founding Director and NCDMM President and Executive Director. “It also capitalizes on the synergies between America Makes and UTEP’s Keck Center as both of our organizations are dedicated to accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing and 3-D printing technologies to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness.”

“This new relationship is beneficial for both America Makes and UTEP,” said Keck Center Director Ryan Wicker, Ph.D. “UTEP brings an armada of state-of-the-art equipment, cutting edge research, education and workforce training to the partnership, and UTEP stands to benefit from the national and international spotlight on America Makes. NCDMM, the parent organization, has a broad base of defense and industrial partners that will afford UTEP dramatic new opportunities.”

UTEP President Diana Natalicio enthusiastically described the new relationship as “a testament to the preeminence of research underway at UTEP. Exciting new technologies developed on this campus are attracting the attention of the nation and the world.”

Ed Morris, America Makes Director and NCDMM Vice President, added, “On behalf of all of us at America Makes, we are excited to make this announcement as it demonstrates the strength and the success of the collaboration model that America Makes was founded upon. We envision that the America Makes Satellite Center at UTEP’s Keck Center will be the first of many in a future, expansive network of Satellite Centers throughout the country. We look forward to working closely with UTEP and the Keck Center to get the America Makes Satellite Center up and running.”

With more than $80 million in annual research spending, UTEP is dedicated to becoming the first national research university serving a 21st century student demographic. The University’s outstanding record of receiving extremely competitive grant awards reflects the quality of UTEP’s faculty and their sustained commitment to excellence while also maintaining an academic environment dedicated to addressing the educational needs of students.

Founded in 2001 as part of a $1 million grant by the W.M. Keck Foundation, UTEP’s Keck Center is a lab like no other. Led by Director and Founder Dr. Wicker, the Keck Center features a 13,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility with more than 50 additive manufacturing machines and more than 50 involved faculty, staff, students and researchers with multiple successful national and international collaborations. The lab showcases a unique blend of additive manufacturing equipment and facilities to perform fundamental research, allowing for trailblazing discoveries to be made in limitless arenas of science including 3-D printed electronics, airplanes and satellite components, human augmentation, biomedical implants and future energy systems.

Currently, UTEP’s Keck Center is leading an America Makes member team, comprised of the University of New Mexico, Youngstown State University, the Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., rp+m, Inc., and Stratasys, Inc., on a $2.2 million award grant to further 3-D printing technologies for rapid manufacturing of aerospace systems.

For more information, visit: keck.utep.edu

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