Utah composites consortium officially open its doors

The Utah Advanced Materials Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI) will focus on optimizing and expanding Utah's dynamic composites manufacturing community.

The Utah Advanced Materials Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI, Clearfield, Utah) reports that it is now officially in operation and is working to hire an executive director to help guide the consortium.

UAMMI is a non-profit organization founded by director Dr. Greg Jones, assistant vice president for research, University of Utah. The mission of the organization is based on the rising-tide-lifts-all-boats premise — help optimize and expand Utah’s already burgeoning composites manufacturing industry. Darin Friess, director of engineering at Albany Engineered Composites (Salt Lake City) and chairman of UAMMI, says, “Fundamentally, UAMMI is a conduit for coordination of education, research and development, and industry (sporting goods, civil, automotive, aerospace, etc.), to optimize composites growth in Utah.”

Although UAMMI is just getting started, Friess says one focus of the group will be workforce development, which has become a significant challenge in Utah and elsewhere in the composites world. “We will work with universities, community colleges and technical colleges to make sure Utah’s composites industry has the skillsets and intelligence it needs to grow and expand,” says Friess. The consortium will also work with member companies to develop, where possible, a shared composites intellect — including best practices and technology development — to give the entire state’s composites industry a competitive advantage.

Initial funding of $1 million for UAMMI came from the Utah legislature, with another $1 million provisionally promised in 2017. In addition, UAMMI, in an effort led by the University of Utah, received a multi-year, multi-million dollar award to help bolster and diversify Utah’s carbon fiber composites supply chain. The organization is also pursuing grant funding from the US Department of Commerce.

UAMMI is in the process of establishing a staff, which will be located in Clearfield, near Hill Air Force Base. Day-to-day operations will be led by an executive director, for which the UAMMI Board of Directors is currently seeking. UAMMI seeks candidates who have at least 15 years of experience in composites, a good technical background, knowledge of a variety of composites materials and process and strong leadership and networking skills. Click here to see the job posting on SAMPE’s site.

The successful candidate for the executive director job will report to the UAMMI board, comprised of a who’s who of Utah composites manufacturing: Friess; Val Hale, executive director, Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development; Sarah Lehman, CEO ENVE Composites; Perry Oaks, Utah lead executive, Lockheed Martin Government Affairs; George Hansen, founder and CTO, Conductive Composites; David Ferro, dean, College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology, Weber State University; Jim Taggart, vice president for Instructional Services, Ogden-Weber Tech College; Ginger Chinn, vice president for external engagement and economic development, Davis Applied Tech. College; Terrence Bride, Ogden City Business Development; Mark Messick, Orbital ATK; Clint Devitt, vice president and general manager, Janicki Industries Utah; Sandra Hemmert, CTE specialist, Granite School District; Brent Strong, SAMPE; David Hansen, technical director, OO-ALC/EN, Ogden Air Logistics Complex