U.S. Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown today toured a New York City machine tool company to highlight a manufacturing outreach program that is expanding to provide technology services and information to more small and medium-sized companies in the city.
Secretary Brown examined operations and met with employees at Clipper Diamond Tool Co., a 38-employee manufacturer of precision superabrasive and diamond cutting tools and grinding wheels, which today is a prime example of a thriving, successful American small business. But it wasn't always that way.
Just three years ago, Clipper was in trouble. High property costs, outdated manufacturing and office operations, and loss of business to foreign competition threatened to permanently close the doors to the 50-year-old company.
The key to Clipper's modernization and revitalization, was the helping hand it received from the Industrial Technology Assistance Corp., a New York City-based, government-sponsored technology outreach center that is part of the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Affiliated with a national network of manufacturing extension centers—the Manufacturing Extension Partnership managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology—the New York MEP provides services to help improve the productivity and competitiveness of the state's 28,000 small and medium-sized manufacturers (46 percent of which are in New York City).
Secretary Brown said, "In a competitive global marketplace, technological leadership is the surest ticket to economic success. Continuing government support for manufacturing extension services like the New York MEP will help companies like Clipper adapt to new technologies, network into the forefront of technological change and succeed in both domestic and export markets."
The New York MEP is the result of four recent awards from the Technology Reinvestment Project, the federal government's program to provide funds for dual-use (military and civilian) technology development, deployment and utilization. The TRP awards in New York State were used to expand the extension services provided by the former Northeast Manufacturing Technology Center, one of the seven original manufacturing extension centers established by NIST and now being incorporated under the New York MEP banner. Specifically, the expansion includes the operation of four regional New York MEP centers in New York City, Fishkill, Endicott and Amherst.
Secretary Brown's tour and discussions at Clipper is the first of two events in New York State to recognize the formation of the New York MEP. The second will be a signing ceremony between Secretary Brown and New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo tomorrow, June 17, at the New York MEP headquarters in Troy, N.Y.
The New York MEP is a cooperative program between the New York State Science and Technology Foundation and NIST's MEP. It is one of 28 extension programs funded through the TRP, bringing the current number of centers in the national MEP to 35. Plans call for 100 centers in the nationwide manufacturing extension network by 1997.
For more information on the New York MEP, contact Jeanne Selmer at (518) 283-1010.