The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous lifestyle and business changes across our great nation and state. During these changes, UAMMI has remained committed to helping Utah advanced materials and advanced manufacturing companies succeed while we all adapt.

One such way we are doing this is by implementing the Small Business Administration Regional Innovation Cluster (SBA RIC) program. This program provides services through UAMMI to more than 200 advanced materials and advanced manufacturing companies in Utah. Through the SBA RIC program, UAMMI’s COVID-19 resources are providing timely information relating to the CARES Act programs and Utah state initiatives to help these companies recover from the economic impacts. Although in-person visits have been restricted lately, we are slowly beginning to have small on-site meetings to learn more about how to help these companies and offer cluster program services such as technical consulting, business support, and mentoring services.

We are also moving forward with tremendous support from the Utah legislature. During the recent legislative special session, the Utah Legislature approved continued funding for many UAMMI programs. They also approved special COVID-19 funding for the Utah Industrial Resources Alliance (UIRA) programs, which UAMMI is a part of, to support Utah’s manufacturers. Some of these UIRA resources involve helping get manufacturers back to work by creating a safe work environment. UIRA is also providing an online presentation to help fortify company COVID-19 Management, online courses to keep employees safe & business thriving, and COVID-compliant onsite inspections.

In the air mobility industry, UAMMI is also elevating Utah’s advanced materials and advanced manufacturing capabilities. One way we are doing this is through our involvement in the USAF Agility Prime program, which is a non-traditional program seeking to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility vehicles (i.e., “flying cars”).  I recently represented UAMMI as a panelist at the Agility Prime Team-Up Event and offered insight into the discussion of how small businesses and research institutions can team-up for rapid development and commercialization of new technologies.

In addition, UAMMI is helping grow the air mobility industry by working with ElectraFly to 3D print parts for their new single-person aircraft.  The parts are being created here in Utah using a carbon-based additive manufacturing 3D printer by Impossible Objects. A demo video of the process can be seen at:

As we look to the fall, we are moving forward with plans to co-host our annual CrossTalk event with CompositesWorld in November.  For now, our plans are to make this an in-person meeting that complies with all current Department of Health COVID-19 regulations, but with virtual options available for those that can’t attend. Look for more information on this event in the coming weeks.

Finally, we also held a sad but wonderful send-off event for Jeff Edwards as he and his wife Kara officially began their church mission to New Zealand (virtually, for now). Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate Jeff’s career and his contributions to UAMMI.

These are just a few of the ways we are continuing to move forward during this ever-changing business environment. We will continue to do so and, like many of you, will find innovative ways to support Utah’s advanced materials and advanced manufacturing industry during these challenging times.