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Remarks for Opening of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) at Goose Island

[As prepared.]

Thank you, Dean, for that introduction, and good morning everyone.

It's truly a pleasure for me to be here to see the results of so many people's hard work pay off in this beautiful facility here on Goose Island.

This has been years in the making. But it really is true that good things come to those who wait. It has certainly worked for me here recently.

Thank you to the DMDII Team and the UI Labs, especially Dean, Caralynn Nowinski, and Bill King for your tireless efforts.

Thank you to the City of Chicago and to Mayor Emanuel, Governor Rauner, Senator Durbin and all who have been supporting them.

Thanks also to the Department of Defense for the $70 million in seed funding and support that got the ball rolling. In particular, Andre Grudger, who unfortunately could not join us today, Adele Radcliff, and their team, for their collaboration and hard work helping pull all the partners together. 

It is fitting that this section of Chicago is undergoing a bit of a rebirth, because that's exactly what this Institute will be helping us accomplish for U.S. advanced manufacturing.

As everyone here knows, manufacturing is central to both our economic and national security, which explains why the Departments of Defense and Commerce have joined forces to help support this Institute and others across the country.

The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, or NNMI, that this Institute is part of, is President's Obama's vision for how the U.S. can ensure a strong future in global markets for American made products. 

It's all about the partnerships. In fact, about two-thirds of the best U.S. innovations come from collaborations between companies, government agencies, federal laboratories, and research universities, according to recent research by the University of California, Davis.

As we've already heard from others, DMDII certainly has partnerships covered. 

The team is to be commended for doing such a great job of gathering so many of the key players in digital technology under one roof with a common purpose. 

Partnerships are also a central defining trait for my agency. For those of you not familiar with NIST, we are a federal science and technology agency that is part of the Department of Commerce. 

We were created by Congress at the beginning of the last century to support U.S. manufacturers with the measurements, standards, and technologies that they needed to compete with other countries. And we continue to this day, with a diverse portfolio of measurements, standards and technology research, manufacturing extension services, consortia, best practice guidance, and other tools that manufacturers need to innovate and sell their products in the global marketplace.

We see great promise for this digital manufacturing institute as a place where those who design things and those who make things find common ground and a shared vocabulary. In the process, you will be helping manufacturers move to a fully realizable "ones and zeroes" world where truly amazing things are possible. We at NIST are committed to supporting DMDII through both our lab-based research program and our Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office.

Additionally, working through our Manufacturing Extension Partnership—including the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center right here in Chicago—NIST wants to help smaller manufacturers exploit those opportunities by reducing barriers for adoption of digital technologies.

Your Institute's central location in this great city of Chicago, and in fact, in the heartland of our nation, is ideal for helping advance this new industrial revolution. 

And in the process, I see great things for this local community in building a 21st century workforce trained in the advanced digital technologies that manufacturers need now to improve their operations. 

So, thanks so much for inviting me to share in this celebration.

We're here to support you and this strong partnership as you help us all learn to spin digital thread into economic gold.

Created May 13, 2015, Updated December 29, 2016