Ohio wins prized DoD manufacturing designation

Machinist James Mitchner sets up a CNC machine at Starwin Industries entrance in Kettering, in this 2017 file photo. The small manufacturing company conducts half of its business as a defense manufacturer according to company president Rick Little.
Machinist James Mitchner sets up a CNC machine at Starwin Industries entrance in Kettering, in this 2017 file photo. The small manufacturing company conducts half of its business as a defense manufacturer according to company president Rick Little.

Designation positions state for $5 million

Ohio has won a significant Department of Defense designation as a manufacturing center, putting the state in line for a possible $5 million grant.

The Defense Department has designated Ohio as a “defense manufacturing community,” which is a program designed to support long-term community investments that strengthen national security innovation and expand defense manufacturing.

ExploreWright-Patterson commander weighs calls on allowing more workers on base

“The agility, speed, and resilience of Ohio’s manufacturing base offers a vital resource to the Department of Defense in its efforts to broaden and deepen the domestic defense supply chain,” Gov. DeWine said in a recent statement. “The same model that realigned the entire Ohio manufacturing base to fight COVID-19 can be realigned to re-shore, innovate to solve Defense Department challenges, and produce equipment at scale.”

The Dayton Development Coalition helped the state apply for the designation.

“There is no better place for our country’s defense manufacturers to establish and grow their operations," said Jeff Hoagland, the coalition’s president and chief executive. “Ohio’s manufacturing ecosystem combines a unique, diverse mix of private industry, educational partners, and a dedicated, skilled workforce. When you combine this with Ohio’s strong business climate, the state’s support for our defense installations and the innovative research and development done at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio’s leadership role is clear.”

The state said the next step in the process is for Ohio to apply for the $5 million grant, and the Defense Department will help Ohio apply.

Ohio will use the funds to help the state’s manufacturers adopt new processes and technology.

Explore‘Drone Express’ takes to the skies above Springfield

“This project continues this administration’s goals of building a stronger tech workforce in Ohio,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said. “Ohio has a talented workforce, great infrastructure, and an exceptional cost- and quality-of-life rating, which makes us an attractive state to do business.”

Angelia Erbaugh, president of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association, also welcomed the news.

“DRMA represents over 200 manufacturer member companies across the Dayton Region; we’re excited about this designation as it will bring opportunities to further strengthen our region’s robust manufacturing industry," Erbaugh said.

“Ohio will create the nation’s premier defense manufacturing community,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Development Services Agency. “Becoming an official Ohio Defense Manufacturing Community will accelerate and scale manufacturing initiatives, and thereby strengthen the defense supply chain. Ohio is committed to building an inclusive, skilled manufacturing workforce to support the project.”