After 47 years of manufacturing some of the world’s largest equipment, Metalist International Inc. Owner Ed Reeser finally has a gig with Michigan State University (MSU). This year, Reeser’s company will build a $450,000, 250-ton hydraulic press for MSU.
According to excerpts from the article:
The job has turned Metalist into a sort of poster child for area manufacturers and other businesses.
Many long have wanted to tap into a university with a $1.8 billion budget and $377 million in sponsored research last academic year. But few knew how or thought the university would want to do business with them.
"The climate is different out there now,"Reeser said. "They're really interested in opening up to their neighbors."
For Metalist, the opportunity to break into university work came last fall, when Reeser toured through a mechanical engineering lab with other members of the Capital Area Manufacturing Council, a trade group affiliated with work force development agency Capital Area Michigan Works.
Associate professor Farhang Pourboghrat showed off a press his research team uses to study new polymer composite materials. He mentioned he was working to get a much larger one.
Reeser saw an opportunity.
"He said, 'You think you could build it?' "Reeser recounted. "I said, 'No, sir. I know I can.' "
Until then, Pourboghrat figured a Minnesota firm that had done work for him in the past would get the job.
"It was totally serendipitous," Pourboghratsaid. "Once they sat down and we went through the design, I realized these guys were capable of handling the job."
So, he sought bids from both firms. Metalist won.
"The convenience and ease - we can work together and resolve issues or come up with better ideas," Pourboghrat said. "That is wonderful as opposed to trying to spend a lot of money to go to Minneapolis."
The work is a boost for Metalist, which has about 35 workers at its 100,000-square-foot plant near Potter Park in Lansing. The company once had more than 200 employees, Reeser said, but tough times for manufacturers and forge operators locally led to cutbacks.
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