ASME Hosts First Virtual Congressional Briefing on Manufacturing USA’s Response to COVID-19

May 11, 2020

by ASME.org

ASME recently convened its first virtual Congressional Briefing on Pandemic Response in the Era of Manufacturing USA. Manufacturing USA is a national network of innovation institutes overseen by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that catalyzes public-private partnerships to advance America’s manufacturing leadership. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manufacturing USA program is using its unique ability to connect stakeholders from different areas to combat the spread of the virus. From addressing the PPE shortage to developing innovative and efficient ways to use and reuse existing equipment, U.S. manufacturers are working tirelessly to support those at risk, and Manufacturing USA institutes are leading that effort.
 
Key institute leaders appeared virtually to discuss how Manufacturing USA is reinvigorating American manufacturing and using their capacities to tackle COVID-19 head-on while also developing new initiatives to keep the U.S. strong in the next pandemic. Panelists included:

  • John Wilczynski, Executive Director, America Makes
  • Kelvin Lee, Institute Director, NIIMBL (National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals)
  • Christine Reilley, Senior Director, Strategy & Innovation, ASME

ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile kicked off the inaugural event, welcoming everyone and noting that in this new era of social distancing and remote work, having a strong, reliable manufacturing industry is more important than ever. Manufacturing USA has played a key role in bolstering the U.S. manufacturing sector, providing both technical and workforce development support. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, both technical capacity and a strong workforce are key to long-term sustainability and success.
 
The event brought leaders from two key Manufacturing USA institutes—America Makes and the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL)—as well as ASME’s own strategic leadership, to discuss the current challenges facing the industry and what is being done to overcome these challenges.
 
John Wilczynski, Executive Director of America Makes—the Manufacturing USA institute focused on bolstering 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing—kicked off the panel discussion. He spoke at length about the work America Makes is doing to help ease the PPE shortage that hospitals and essential workforces are currently facing. America Makes is leveraging the expertise of their members through the establishment of a repository that brings together designers, manufacturers, and essential workforces to ensure those who most need the equipment are able to connect in a secure, established forum.
 
Kelvin Lee, Institute Director of NIIMBL, discussed some of the many specific initiatives the institute has undertaken, including the development of new technologies and processes to help hospitals streamline their processes and expedite medical testing. NIIMBL’s strong focus on biopharmaceutical manufacturing has been recognized by the federal government, with the institute receiving $10 million of federal funding under the third installment of the federal stimulus bill. In response, NIIMBL released a call to its members soliciting ideas to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. These ideas are under review and will be announced once projects have been selected.
 
ASME’s Senior Director of Strategy and Innovation, Christine Reilley, rounded out the panel of speakers, discussing the initiatives ASME has undertaken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. As an organization that fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and skills development across all engineering disciplines, ASME is in a unique position to help the U.S. strengthen its pandemic response capabilities. Reilley explained that ASME’s response approach is divided into targeted efforts through four key pillars: Industry Connections, STEM Education, Academic Research, and Government Relations. Along with active engagement supporting America Makes and Manufacturing USA, ASME has served as a neutral convener, bringing together its vast membership base to identify unique and effective ways to strengthen the U.S. and ensure our world, post COVID-19, is a safe and sustainable one.
 
To view a recording of the event, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8ufQTr5E7g
 
For further information about the Manufacturing USA program, visit: https://www.manufacturingusa.com
 
For further information about ASME’s Covid-19 response efforts, visit: https://www.asme.org/covid-19

For further information about America Makes, visit: https://www.americamakes.us
 
For further information about NIIMBL, visit: https://niimbl.force.com/s/

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