From Rust Belt to Tech Belt: A Timeline
April 2007 – Rep. Tim Ryan applauds BioEnterprise and the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse for their new approach to attracting venture capital to the region’s emerging medical manufacturing and bio-tech industries – the beginning of Rep. Ryan’s larger vision of a Tech Belt that stretches from Cleveland to Pittsburgh.
“Our region has been linked for over 100 years, first as the Steel Belt, then as the Rust Belt. This is our chance to emerge as the Tech Belt…As a next step, I am calling a regional summit of leaders from local industries, elected officials and economic development organizations to create a regional model for economic advancement that will be competitive in the global marketplace.” – Rep. Tim Ryan (April 17, 2007)
July 2007 – Rep. Tim Ryan secures $2 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to create the National Center of Excellence for Industrial Metrology and 3-Dimensional Imaging at Youngstown State University with its partners at the Youngstown Business Incubator, M-7 Technologies and Zethus Software.
October 2007 – Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Altmire convene the first Technology Forum at YSU, a meeting designed to bring industry and academic leaders from a range of high-tech fields together as a “first-step” in building the Tech Belt coalition.
“I believe very strongly in this new direction and believe that a regional model for economic advancement will create a competitive and cohesive unit in the global marketplace.” – Rep. Tim Ryan (September 17, 2007)
January 2009 – Rep. Tim Ryan addresses the City Club of Cleveland on the vision and plans for the Cleveland-Pittsburgh Tech Belt Initiative.
September 2009 -- Tech Belt partners and participants meet in Washington, D.C. to discuss developing an advanced energy incubator in Warren. The discussion is facilitated by Nortech.
December 2009 – President Obama signs into law a $450,000 Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Economic Development Initiative earmark secured by Rep. Tim Ryan that will fund renovation of the site in downtown Youngstown that will eventually become the home of the TechBelt Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
May 2010 – Congressman Ryan recognizes the Ohio Credit Union League, whose support of Pell Grants and Perkins loans make it possible for students in the region to get the education and training for the jobs that will transition the Rust Belt to the Tech Belt.
October 2010 – Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center moves into Kresge Building on Courthouse Square in Warren, made possible in part through $2.2 million in funding secured through Rep. Tim Ryan’s office.
August 2011 - Rep. Tim Ryan Announces $462,000 Federal Investment in Youngstown State University for its Center for Transportation and Materials Engineering.
May 2012 –Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania universities, industry officials, and economic development organizations who have been working together under the Tech Belt Initiative framework since its creation in 2007 propose an application for President Obama’s newly announced National Network for Manufacturing Innovation made up of up to 15 Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation around the country. The Institutes will bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and regional and state organizations to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications. The President also announced that the Administration will take immediate steps to launch a Pilot Institute for Manufacturing Innovation, using existing resources from the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). A proposal is submitted by under the banner of the TechBelt Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute to compete for the Pilot Institute.
August 16, 2012 – President Obama’s administration announces that the TechBelt Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute beat out all other proposals from around the country to win an initial federal investment of at least $45 million, which will leverage a matching amount from industrial, State, and other partners. The initial award is for $30 million with up to $15 million more to be provided in the future. The Prime awardee is the National Center for Defense Manufacturing & Machining (NCDMM) in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, though the headquarters of TechBelt Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute will be located in Youngstown, Ohio. TechBelt Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute is a partnership composed of approximately 60 companies, states, universities, and nonprofits. Those partners (including the State of Ohio, State of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western, Penn State, Youngstown State, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Honeywell, IBM, General Dyanmics, Youngstown Business Incubator) have agreed to provide $40 million in matching funds for the effort.