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OMIC R&D celebrates a year of membership growth, organizational successes


The Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center Research and Development (OMIC R&D) recognized its one-year anniversary on September 28 with its Board of Governors, twenty-one members, and diverse partners and supporters at its R&D facility in Scappoose, Oregon (USA). To recognize organizations and individuals who contributed to the Center’s work through benevolence, support and belief in OMIC R&D’s vision, the “Critical Cog” awards were presented to four Oregon business and philanthropic leaders.

Craig Campbell, executive director of OMIC R&D, presented brushed-metal “Critical Cog” awards – manufactured by OMIC R&D member Summit Manufacturing – to four recipients:

· The Papé Group, represented by Susie Papé, for their generous discount on an electric fork lift, and for making special arrangements
to outfit it with white tires to reduce marking on the high bay floor;

· Scappoose Sand and Gravel, represented by Scott Parker, for their contribution of the land for the construction of Charles T.Parker Way, and for providing swift assistance to OMIC R&D related to infrastructureand logistics on numerous occasions;

· Pacific Stainless, represented by Jeff Kemp, for welding the WFL M80 Millturn to its foundation, which some said could not be done, and installing it free of charge; and

· The Robert J. and Leona DeArmond Public Foundation for providing $200,000 in “full-ride”scholarships to five manufacturing and mechanical engineering students atOregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) who will also participate in paid internships at OMIC R&D.

In addition, Senator Betsy Johnson was presented with the first annual OMIC Senator Johnson Award for her tireless and selfless efforts in support of every aspect of OMIC’s success from inception to today.

Craig Campbell said, “It was an important part of our one-year anniversary celebration to recognize those who have generously given their time and resources to promote and support OMIC R&D, and its vision of strengthening industry, the economy and the community. Without this type of community support, it would not have been possible to get as far as we have in one-year toward reaching the vast potential of this dynamic industry collaborative.”

Since launching in the summer of 2017 with seven industry members and three universities, OMIC R&D has more than doubled its industry members to eighteen, with Oregon Tech, Oregon State University and Portland State University as its three university members. Sophisticated manufacturing machinery is filling the floor of the almost 34,000 square foot facility, including a WFL M80 Millturn, the Okuma 3-Axis machine, and other equipment used to complete a variety of research projects that test and improve the performance of key components of members’ manufacturing lines. In the first year, university researchers completed three general R&D projects, are currently working on two new projects, and the Tech Board of OMIC R&D has approved RFPs for an additional six general projects anticipated to begin later this year.Additionally there are several specific projects conducting proprietary research for individual members happening concurrently at the Scappoose facility.

Another recent organizational success was the $3 million federal grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for use on capital building projects. The federal grant was awarded to Oregon Tech, which acts as the host organization for OMIC R&D, and is matched by $3 million in state bonds for a total of $6 million toward new developments at the training and research center in Scappoose.

Matt Carter, chair of the OMIC R&D Board of Governors said, “Our first anniversary was an opportunity to see how far we have come in just one year as we approach full operational capability. There have been so many entities who have shared in this success and have helped spur economic development and excitement from what we are calling the ‘OMIC effect.’ This is not just in our local community here in Columbia County, but across the state of Oregon, as an understanding of the Center’s potential spreads to manufacturers and state leaders. The Board and members fully expect OMIC R&D’s growth to also spread regionally, and given our national and international members, certainly globally.”

OMIC R&D is the fifteenth such research center established with Boeing leadership worldwide, and the first Boeing has sponsored in the United States. Its mission is to bring together manufacturing companies and higher education in a collaborative environment to solve challenges off-production-line for advanced manufacturers. Faculty and university students undertake “outside-in” applied research to solve real production problems while training the next generation of engineers and technologists. Member companies share machinery, equipment such as tools, and expertise to create a highly dynamic and innovative R&D center to tackle critical manufacturing challenges.

The 21 OMIC R&D industry and university members in the Scappoose facility include: ATI; Blount International; Boeing; CG Tech; Daimler Trucks North America; HAIMER, Hangsterfer’s Laboratories, Inc.; IMS Software; Kennametal; Mitsubishi Materials Corporation; Oregon Institute of Technology; Oregon State University; OSG USA, Inc; Sandvik Coromant; Seco Tools; Portland State University; Silver Eagle Manufacturing; Summit Manufacturing Inc.; Vigor; Walter Tools; and WFL Millturn Technologies.

Coordinated with OMIC R&D’s applied research projects will be hands-on “earn and learn” apprenticeship programs at the OMIC Training Center, operated by Portland Community College, and a facility that PCC is building nearby. While the Training Center construction is underway, PCC is considering operating the apprenticeship program on the Scappoose High School campus.

OMIC R&D has the strong support of trade unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which recognize the importance of training and apprenticeship programs in growing high-skill, high-wage manufacturing jobs in Oregon. Metals manufacturing is a cornerstone industry for the Greater Portland area, with current employment estimated at nearly 28,000 and approximately 600 small, medium and large metals manufacturing companies.

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