Montana State University

MMEC, Montana Manufacturing Council announce partnership

September 24, 2013 -- MSU News Service

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BOZEMAN – Two organizations focused on manufacturing in Montana have formed a partnership to  boost the image of and support for manufacturing across the state.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is based at Montana State University. The Montana Manufacturing Council (MMC) is a subsidiary of the Montana Chamber of Commerce and the leading voice for manufacturing in Montana.

Now partners, the two groups will meet Oct. 8 and 9 in Kalispell to build on their collaboration during joint board meetings and plant tours in celebration of national Manufacturing Day. The groups will visit Pierce Manufacturing, a truck body build and repair company, and Compatible Manufacturing, a maker of complex prototypes and machining for aerospace and other industries.  A press conference is scheduled during the second tour.      

The council connects manufacturers and supporters, advocates for legislation and rules that benefit manufacturing, and supports and promotes international trade and supply chain development.  It also educates Montanans about the importance of manufacturing using whistle-stop business tours along with economic and legislative updates.      

The MMEC provides systems and solutions to help manufacturers innovate, grow and succeed.  Its team of expert engineers and a business development specialist deliver solutions to companies addressing business management challenges and productivity barriers.  As an outreach center in the MSU College of Engineering, MMEC also provides training and a biennial conference for manufacturers, which is supported by the MMC.      

"We are pleased to expand our relationship with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center," said Webb Brown, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce and MMC.  "With their feet on the ground working with companies and our pulse on the economic and policy environment, it's a natural fit."     

MMEC Director Steve Holland said, "Our combined effort will build better awareness of and a stronger voice for manufacturers across the state. We share many goals that strengthen manufacturing, and the partnership should help us understand more about training and technical service needs and how best to serve our entrepreneurial companies."      

Companies that belong to the MMC will receive a direct benefit through discount fees on projects and training they receive from MMEC, Brown said.  And through the Chamber, MMC members have access to many business benefits, such as free Certificate of Origin processing for those who export or are freight forwarders.  They also have access to affordable health insurance and workers compensation packages and advantages for better shipping and purchasing through additional Chamber partnerships.

"Our longer-term partnership with MMEC creates a strengthened allegiance to boost the image of manufacturing and make our Montana companies more prosperous by providing them with more tools, information, networking and support needed to advance in today's increasingly competitive market," Brown said. 

Montana Chamber members are automatically eligible to be members of the MMC. 

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu