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New MSU unit targets manufacturing sector
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University is using its resources to help the state's manufacturers become more effective in a highly competitive global community.
The university is officially launching its new Industrial Outreach Service with the naming of Duane Motsenbocker as interim director. IOS will be staffed by a core group of professionals who will provide assistance directly to state industries. IOS will also provide a connection between industry and MSU faculty, students and researchers who can help solve a variety of technical and management problems.
When he became MSU's 17th president, Charles Lee established a goal for MSU faculty and professionals to be more accessible to and involved with community and industry leaders. Plans progressed last fall when Joe McGilberry assumed new duties as executive director for University Extension and Outreach.
"This new Industrial Outreach Service unit will help put the university's expertise within reach of Mississippi's industries, much like our agricultural division has been available to farmers and the ag industry throughout our history," Lee said. "We want to make the expertise of our faculty and professionals accessible to the state's manufacturing sector."
Lee wants the university to provide technical and management assistance wherever possible to benefit Mississippi's industries.
"With increasing global competition in so many areas, it is imperative for MSU to take an active role in preserving state manufacturing jobs and assisting new and expanding industries by helping companies become more efficient," Lee said.
McGilberry, who also has served as director of MSU's Extension Service since 2001, said he anticipates many long-term benefits will result from the IOS group's work.
"The professionals initially assigned to the new unit have been involved in the university's Food and Fiber Center, which has provided educational, technical and management assistance to the state's ag industries since 1974," McGilberry said. "IOS will continue those efforts, plus broaden the focus to include all state industries."
Motsenbocker said the team will provide assistance in a variety of areas such as feasibility studies for expansion, capital expenditures or new plants. They will help develop strategies for implementing lean manufacturing practices and improvements in productivity and management.
"Our primary focus will be on small- to medium-size companies that may not have the time, experience, staff or financial resources to handle complex technical and management problems," Motsenbocker said. "An important aspect of our mission is to involve students in projects so they can integrate classroom instruction into the development of solutions to real industry problems. Through this involvement, they will graduate better equipped to begin careers in both the private and public sectors."