A couple of weeks back, I sat in on an executive meetup sponsored by CAMT (Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology–a good outfit that we try to support however we can) promoting their new ACE program in collaboration with NASA. NASA, of course is the ultimate organization run by and for rocket scientists. But it turns out that NASA wants to find more commercial outlets for its technologies, and hence they are partnering with organizations like CAMT around the country to get the word out that the new NASA is supportive of endeavors that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand. That’s the good news.
The not so good news is that the three hour discussion was frankly way too focused on the well-hashed areas of fostering innovation and technology transfer and commercialization. There is nothing wrong with this per se–Zebulon Solutions supports the CU technology transfer office for example via CU Cleantech. But this was a forum on manufacturing, specifically manufacturing in Colorado. Massive amounts of innovation and / or a new wiz bang technology is great but if its manufactured in China, there is no gain for local manufacturing. Think Apple: they develop lots of cool technology and innovate like crazy, but it does not create US manufacturing jobs. I’m not against China, but I also think we in the US need to put our heads together and figure out how to get competitive in manufacturing again.
Let’s get those rocket scientists talking to manufacturing engineers. And to supply chain experts and industrial engineers and quality professionals and inventory management specialists.