By SUSAN TEBBEN
The latest downtown tech project will receive new honors today.
The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, and the Rockefeller Foundation will release the second annual top ten list of the most innovative economic development initiatives across the country, including the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute of Youngstown.
The top ten list recognized the initiatives that "show the most promise for creating jobs, growing regional economies, and boosting global competitiveness in 2013," according to a release by the institution.
"It was not only the sophistication of the proposal but also the array of partners who came together for this," said Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director for the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. "That kind of collaboration is the sort that yields good outcomes for the economy."
NAMII will bring together 65 colleges, universities, private companies and nonprofit organizations to vastly improve additive manufacturing, which essentially uses plastics, resins and metals to “print” a product by adding layers, unlike traditional manufacturing which subtracts or cuts out raw material to create parts.
Research and development aimed at further commercializing the technology will be conducted at the advanced manufacturing hub at the Youngstown Business Incubator’s annex on West Boardman Street.
"Given that NAMII was only founded in August of last year, it is particularly rewarding to know that NAMII's efforts to promote entrepreneurialism within additive manufacturing ... have warranted such great recognition by the Brookings/Rockefeller Project," said Ralph Resnick, acting director for NAMII and president and executive director of the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, in an emailed statement to The Vindicator.
Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber officials said the honor, along with many other honors and recognitions throughout the area have brought a lot of positive attention for future business opportunities.
"We spend so much time talking about shale and we don't take the time to talk about the things NAMII is doing," said Tom Humphries, Chamber president and chief executive officer.
"They are the next generation of manufacturing."
The consortium's efforts will be funded by $30 million from government agencies including the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Energy.
Sixty percent were disbursed by the end of 2012 and the rest are slated to come in March of 2013 and 2014.
Consortium partners also contributed $40 million, for a total investment of $70 million. After 2014, the NAMII is expected to be self-sufficient.