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UW’s Manufacturing-Works Receives $500,000 Grant to Help State Businesses

January 31, 2017

The University of Wyoming’s Manufacturing-Works was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that will help support Wyoming businesses.

The grant is part of $12 million in grants NIST recently awarded to Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in 11 states.

“This is going to allow us to continue to assist Wyoming manufacturers, and one of our goals is continuing to help with diversifying the Wyoming economy,” says David Walrath, interim director of Manufacturing​-Works, and a former UW professor of mechanical engineering.

The agreements have five-year periods of performance that begin April 1, and NIST will provide nearly $60 million in total funding to MEP centers during that time.

Walrath says Manufacturing-Works will receive $500,000 for each of the next five years from NIST. After the third year of the grant, the organization has to be re-evaluated to continue receiving the grant; and then again after five years.

“Our organization has been here for 21 years,” he says. “We assist small- and mid-sized manufacturers. We help them grow their business and technology.”

Walrath mentioned the following as companies Manufacturing-Works recently assisted or is currently helping: firearms manufacturers HIVIZ, based in Laramie, and Magpul, located in Cheyenne; Kennon Products, an aircraft parts and accessories manufacturer based in Sheridan; Casper-based McGinley Orthopedics, which has developed products to advance orthopedic medicine and improve patient outcomes; Puma Steel, a steel fabricator and supplier; and L&H Industrial, a Gillette business that provides railroads, mining companies, and oil and gas with services and machinery.

“A lot of credit goes to Dave, who was able to navigate Manufacturing-Works through a transition and win this award at the same time,” says Bill Gern, UW’s vice president for research and economic development. “Manufacturing is one of the most important business sectors because it supports others. Having a specific program helping Wyoming manufacturers is an essential piece in the state’s drive toward economic diversification.”

Manufacturing-Works provides advanced technology, engineering and project management consulting, as well as marketing expansion, business advising, and workforce development assistance in conjunction with its service partners. Manufacturing-Works is committed to helping businesses by delivering solutions for creating wealth. The nonprofit organization has professionals located throughout Wyoming, with offices in Laramie, Casper, Cheyenne, Gillette, Powell and Riverton.

“We will be able to staff some of our vacant offices around the state,” Walrath says about the grant.

Manufacturing-Works is a partnership with the NIST, the Wyoming Business Council and UW. Manufacturing-Works also is part of the Business Resource Network, which includes the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, the Wyoming Technology Business Center and the Wyoming Technology Transfer and Research Products Center; all offices are located at UW.

As a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life.

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