Professor & Department Chair, Manufacturing & Systems Engineering
2000 – present
The EDA University Center program is a unique federal-academic partnership established in 1966 that makes resources, expertise and technologies at institutions of higher education available to stimulate industrial, technological and commercial growth. The EDA is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. WSU participated from 1995 to June of 2004, by creating the Technology Assistance Center (TAC). The TAC provided valuable insight into Utah manufacturing technology and processes for the Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program and provided opportunities for WSU to serve the local community and contribute to long-term economic development in Utah. Steve Reed was the TAC’s first director from 1995 to 1998. Professor Larry Leavitt served briefly in 1998 and was replaced by me, who served as the Technical Assistance Center Director under Dean Warren Hill until the center was closed in 2004. I was asked to teach courses as an adjunct in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program while serving as the Director of the TAC and eventually joined WSU as a full-time faculty member in 2000.
WSU’s Technology Assistance Center’s First Brochure
From 1998 to 2004 the Technical Assistance Center brought in approximately $637k in federal funding to provide technical assistance in over 300 industry projects. The TAC at WSU was able to leverage limited dollars by partnering with other organizations within the state such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), other universities (BYU, Utah State, SUU), the Engineering Lab at Hill AFB, the Utah Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and private consultants. Work with these various entities provides an opportunity for faculty and students to gain exposure to a wide range of technologies.
TAC activities in northern Utah were centered mostly on training manufacturing firms in lean manufacturing techniques, with follow-up projects related to the particular training delivered. In southern Utah the Center’s activities have primarily been devoted to maintaining a relationship with the area’s manufacturers and working to provide the diverse resources requested by local companies. A southern Utah manufacturers association was developed and assistance provided by Rolland Sutton, a field engineer working for the Center.
After the 10-year EDA grant was ended in 2004, I transitioned into full time teaching in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program.
WSU’s Technology Assistance Center’s Partners