The Mahoning Valley received more positive publicity in Inc. Magazine last month with a piece written Paul Cusson, chairman and founder of Northern States Metals, which has one of its three plants in Youngstown.
The Feb. 14 Inc. story was prompted by this President Obama comment during his State of the Union address:
''There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the-art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There's no reason this can't happen in other towns.''
Obama was referring to the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or NAMII. The 3D printing is expected to revolutionize manufacturing by eliminating waste while producing complex, highly specialized shapes that can be fitted to specific machines or tools. One practical application that exemplifies what this means is that through additive manufacturing, patients will one day be able to receive custom-sized replacement hips for less cost than ''over-the-shelf'' models.
A public-private partnership that included universities, the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and politicians including U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, enabled the Valley to beat out a dozen others, such as groups led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech University, to receive the federal distinction. The $69 million effort includes a $30 million federal infusion.
This also represents the largest accomplishment so far for Ryan's and former U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire's, D-Pennsylvania, Tech Belt Initiative to re-establish the region from Cleveland to Pittsburgh as a corridor for manufacturing and technology. The Valley is now a role model for other Rust Belt areas, such as Wheeling W.Va., which announced its aim to duplicate this success.
The Mahoning Valley is at or near the epicenter of the nation's re-industrialization. The rebirth here has resulted in attention from a variety of international business and mass media publications. Cusson's recent opining in Inc. Magazine is another.