“The main goal is to bring in people that are subject-matter experts, from government, academia and our partners,” said CCAM CEO William T. Powers. “Hopefully we interested people to do work here with us, increase interest in companies willing to place their machines and software here, and hopefully just encouraged academic partners to have an interest in what we do here.”

Opened in 2011, CCAM has acted as a “collaborative research center” where a wide range of companies such as Rolls-Royce and Canon work on ways to improve and modernize manufacturing techniques. Several of the Virginia’s universities, including Virginia State University, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech have partnerships with the center where students can learn with cutting edge manufacturing equipment and graduate with relevant experience.

Attendees at Machining Day heard lectures about various topics including “Laser Assisted Micromachining” and “Air Force ManTech Perspective on Machining.”

“One of the most important things we want to get across to our lawmakers and to the American people is that there is a bright future for America’s manufacturing,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “Facilities like CCAM are emblematic of that. There is a lot of exciting work going on.”

Powers was also plugging CCAM’s new apprentice academy, which was green-lighted in January. When completed, the academy will be a place for students to learn manufacturing techniques directly from some of CCAM’s partners.

“We have a lot of work to do on that,” said Powers. “We’ve had some significant help from the state legislature and the economic development agency, and we now have to get the equipment and software and classroom materials, and hire faculty.”

Powers talked about the academy during a special podcast he taped on the center’s factory floor with Paul that will air on the Alliance for American Manufacturing’s website, www.americanmanufacturing.org.

•John Adam may be reached at jadam@progress-index.com or 804-722-5172.