National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Youngstown State University Roadshow

December 1, 2013

To broaden the infusion of the technical expertise NASA can offer to businesses in our region, NASA Glenn conducted a “Technical Roadshow” on December 5th at Youngstown State University where we met with several Mahoning Valley manufacturers interested in knowing if NASA’s core competencies could be of assistance in solving technical and engineering challenges they were experiencing with some of their products.

We were pleased to be introduced to these manufacturers through our partnership with MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network) and Youngstown State University.  We stressed the fact that our visit should not be viewed as a “one shot, in-and-out” meeting, but rather, as the start of a long term relationship that NASA would like to have with the companies we met and the resurgent manufacturing community in the Mahoning Valley.

NASA Glenn’s Eric Baumann and Dr. Bahman Taheri, CEO of AlphaMicron, Inc.

“In two hours we obtained technical knowledge from NASA that would have taken us six months to a year to emasse on our own.”
—Michael Forde Ripich, President, American Tank and Fabricating

“This was very valuable! Day to day we are immersed in our daily activities. It is good to get fresh eyes and a different viewpoint on our challenges. We got new insight into our products and ideas on how to improve our products.”
—Delta Systems Incorporated

We were able to accomplish this introductory session through MAGNET’s PRISM (Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturers) program.  PRISM is an effort to assist the region’s manufacturers by connecting them to the broad and world-class array of resources in the area— such as institutions of higher learning like Youngstown State University, and public agencies such as NASA.

We were able to accomplish this introductory session through MAGNET’s PRISM (Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturers) program.  PRISM is an effort to assist the region’s manufacturers by connecting them to the broad and world-class array of resources in the area— such as institutions of higher learning like Youngstown State University, and public agencies such as NASA.

Tapping into the network of resources MAGNET has developed through PRISM and their long-standing relationships with manufacturers throughout the region makes it possible for NASA to accomplish our technology infusion efforts quickly and efficiently.

The NASA Roadshow at YSU is the first of its kind event in Youngstown, and is presented by YSU; NASA; the federal Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative; MAGNET, a nonprofit organization that promotes manufacturing in the 18-county northeastern Ohio region; and MAGNET’s Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturers (PRISM) program.

Challenge:

Four local companies, all of whom had previously applied for consulting support, were selected by an independent panel, based on the synergies between NASA Glenn technical expertise and the company’s technical challenge.   Applications for technical assistance were then reviewed by representatives from NASA Glenn and matched with NASA subject matter technical experts.

The four companies were:

  • AT&F (American Tank and Fabricating)
  • Delta Systems Incorporated
  • Catacel Corp
  • Visualized Energy of Youngstown

Solution

The Roadshow was designed to provide NASA technical expertise to a group of competitively selected companies in a day.  Significant, applicable pre-work was completed to help refine the specific challenges to aid the actual work that was undertaken during the face to face meeting at Youngstown State University.

Selected subject matter experts met privately with each winning company to discuss potential solutions to their challenges.

Benefits

Discussions provided each company with ideas and concepts on to proceed with their challenge.  It is the intent that each company will implement the solutions identified during the Roadshow.   The company representatives were given potential business solutions to continue their work with NASA Glenn subject matter experts, if needed.

Bill Whittenberger, president and founder of Catacel Corp., is looking forward to further discussions with experts from the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

We’ve had an outstanding day,” remarked Michael Hripko, director of research and economic development at YSU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. There’s been meaningful engagement between the NASA subject-matter experts and the small businesses. That’s going to result in problem solving that could then result in more business, better productivity, and that means more jobs and more revenue for our small businesses.”