Learn about the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center St. Louis (AMICSTL) initiative
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, manufacturing (think dirty, smoky factories) powered the rapid growth of St. Louis. Now imagine new types of advanced manufacturing, worlds removed from those factories of yesteryear. Think engineers, researchers, students, and support staff collaborating across clusters of labs, small manufacturing facilities and prototyping shops, working on projects involving geospatial sciences, advanced composite materials, digital manufacturing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and even manufacturing in space. Could they do the same thing for St. Louis’ growth in the 21st century? (Excerpt from The Big Think newsletter)
“We have some stretch goals here. We have a vision of developing tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs. No one should assume it’s going to be easy,” AMICSTL chairman, Dennis Muilenburg, says. “But I think that kind of bold goal is the only way to change the trajectory of the region and really help us be the innovation machine that we can be. We talk about building broad, equitable, diverse economic growth for the region, which we all know is extremely important. There’s no better way to do that than manufacturing. It creates the biggest economic ‘ripple effect’ of any type of industry.”
AMICSTL’s backers intend to play off what they see as a unique combination of four key industry sectors in St. Louis.
The first is the aerospace, automotive, and transportation sector. Two others are agricultural technology and biomedical sciences. The fourth is geospatial sciences, which is getting a huge boost from the nearby Next NGA West, a $1.7 billion facility under construction that will house the new western headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Next NGA West is due to open in 2025.
“If you can interlace those four industry verticals and create a very strong ecosystem, then you’ve got something that most other communities don’t have,” says Kevin Cahill, vice president for strategic initiatives at the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, who also sits on AMICSTL’s board.