Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

September 2011

OSU Program Reaches $1 Billion Milestone for Oklahoma

 

An Oklahoma State University program that supplies engineering expertise has contributed more than $1 billion in total services and economic impact value to rural manufacturers in Oklahoma, according to program coordinators.

“We’re excited to announce that the $57 million in services provided through the Applications Engineer Program in this fiscal year puts the total value of services and economic impact above $1 billion for the program since it started in 1997,” said Doug Enns, senior applications engineer.

“The Applications Engineer Program is an important way that OSU and the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance provide direct assistance to manufacturers that boosts economic development in rural Oklahoma and we are all very proud to announce the achievement of this milestone,” said Dr. Larry Hoberock, the program’s co-principal investigator and head of the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Dan Thomas, head of the biosystems and agricultural engineering department recently succeeded Dr. Randy Taylor as co-principal investigator.

Both the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, and the division of agricultural sciences and natural resources at OSU supply applications engineers for the program, which provides technical assistance to small and medium-sized rural manufacturers. The engineers work in cooperation with extension educators through the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance.

“The applications engineers provide on-site, one-on-one engineering and technology transfer assistance to help the manufacturers become more profitable and sustainable with increased sales, cost savings and other investments that create jobs and bolster Oklahoma’s economy,” Hoberock explained.

The Applications Engineer program is supported by the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance with state funding provided through the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. On average, the program generates $71.4 million per year in economic development for Oklahoma, at an average annual cost to the state of approximately $600,000. This yields an annual average leveraging of state funds of 119 to 1.

In order to receive engineering assistance, the client agrees to participate in a post-project assessment that measures the overall impact of the project some months after the completion of activities. “The assessment is conducted by a third party and is based on procedures developed by the National Institute for Standards and Technology for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. It offers several measurements including the economic value of the service to the company,” said Enns.

The assessment results indicate a $310 million increase in sales since 1997, $135 million retention in sales that would otherwise have been lost, $92 million in cost savings, and $112 million in new capital expenditures. The assessments also show that the applications engineers have helped Oklahoma manufacturers create or save more than 3,700 manufacturing jobs. The combination of jobs and the other assessment factors put the total economic impact for Oklahoma over $1 billion, according to Enns.

OSU applications engineers are located across the state, and currently include Win Adams serving the northeast part of the state, Shea Pilgreen serving the southeast, Don Lake serving the west, and Doug Enns and Rajesh Krishnamurthy serving the central part of the state and providing statewide assistance as needed.

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