Greetings from ASTRO!

In today’s issue:

ASTRO America Announces New Push to Establish Investment Fund for Small Businesses’ 3D Printing Development

Earlier this month, ASTRO’s Neal Orringer and Jason Gorey met with Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks’ and SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman at the Pentagon, along with AM Forward partners, where they discussed the potential establishment of a Small Business Investment Fund.

After the meeting, Orringer lauded key government and industry partners in their efforts to ensure small U.S. Defense suppliers’ access to capital and state-of-the-art additive manufacturing or 3D printing:

“I want to thank the Deputy Secretary of Defense and SBA Administrator for hosting this important meeting with our AM Forward colleagues,” Orringer said. “Recognizing the fragility in America’s supply chains, Lockheed Martin and GE are taking the lead in forming a public-private partnership to help provide small businesses with access to capital for additive manufacturing that will help re-onshore American manufacturing and provide economic development and jobs. If approved by the government to move forward, this fund will be a lifeline to help transition small businesses into 21st century manufacturing.

ASTRO is partnering with Stifel Financial, Lockheed, and GE Aerospace to identify and potentially invest in lower middle market businesses working to increase American national security supply chain resilience while reducing production costs and timelines for critical components through additive manufacturing.

The project was announced here.

U.S. Department of Defense: Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks’ and SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman’s Meeting With AM Forward Partners

Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon released a readout on the meeting, highlighting the ASTRO-led AM Forward program:

“The AM Forward initiative tells a compelling story about the power of partnerships to ensure that America’s small and medium sized businesses continue to lead the world in innovation and critical technologies,” said Deputy Secretary Hicks.

Deputy Secretary Hicks highlighted President Biden’s AM Forward initiative as an example of how the Biden-Harris Administration is working with the private sector to protect America’s enduring technological advantage and further strengthen America’s supply chain by bringing together large manufacturers to help smaller U.S.-based suppliers increase their use of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.

Read the full statement here.

U.S. Small Business Administration Highlights AM Forward Initiative

The U.S. Small Business Administration discussed the meeting in a press release:

“By partnering with DoD and leveraging SBA’s long-standing public-private investment partnerships through the SBIC program, we will accelerate manufacturing innovation in the U.S. industrial base by enabling access to capital and expertise networks capable of addressing the biggest challenges faced by the small business suppliers critical to U.S. national security,” Administrator Guzman said.

“The AM Forward Initiative, the SBA’s SBIC program, and the establishment of DoD’s Office of Strategic Capital tell a compelling story about the power of partnerships to ensure that America’s small and medium-sized businesses continue to lead the world in innovation and critical technologies,” said Deputy Secretary Hicks.

The Office of Strategic Capital (OSC), established by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in December 2022, is a DoD initiative that will partner with U.S. government and private sector stakeholders to implement partnered capital strategies to scale critical technologies for national security. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and SBA Administrator Guzman launched the DoD-SBA partnership in December, and OSC signed an MOA with SBA in March.

Read the release here.

ICYMI – additional coverage:


ASTRO Hosts Business Model Workshop

Nearly 100 people attended a Business Model Workshop hosted by ASTRO on July 26. Participants examined large-scale additive as an alternative to conventionally produced components. Speakers will provide an update on the Jointless Hull Large Format Printer, AFSD technology, and business model presentations on Supply Chain and Economic Impact.

Click here to see the full agenda.

This was the third workshop to be carried out under the first project order under the $95 million ASTRO OTA to develop additive and advanced manufacturing technologies for the U.S. Army. The OTA is being carried out under the direction of the United States Army Contracting Command – Detroit Arsenal (ACC-DTA) on behalf of the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC).

For more on ASTRO’s OTA, click here.

ASTRO Partners With KSTC on New Project Selected as NSF Engines Finalist

Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) announced that their Kentucky-based project to create a regional additive manufacturing cluster is a finalist for funding through a National Science Foundation Regional Innovation Engines competition.

The AMFE project will establish a new technology cluster that is industry-led, university research fueled, and together with the government, form a new vision for public-private partnerships. The lead organization for AMFE is the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, with core partners including the University of Louisville, West Virginia University, The Ohio State University, America Makes, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, and ASTRO America.

Additionally, the project will invest resources and leverage existing partnerships, such as KSTC’s strong relationship with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, to engage local government and citizens, educational institutions and local economic development organizations and bring world class research to new stakeholders.

Click here to read KSTC’s press release.

New Hires!

ASTRO is growing and excited to announce four new additions to our team:

  • Bill Tredway – Engineering Fellow, leading ASTRO’s Additive Manufacturing Common Qualification work
  • Noah Barnhill – Engineering Manager & Principal Investigator, Rock Island Arsenal
  • Joey Wheeler – Engineer, Rock Island Arsenal
  • Mitchell Keeler – Engineer, Rock Island Arsenal


Upcoming Events

  • ASTRO America will host  a Workforce Development Meeting at Wichita State University on September 27-28.
  • ASTRO America is proud to invite local businesses and stakeholders to Florida State University’s Panama City campus on October 2-3 for a workshop on how to expand 3D printing capabilities and grow local innovation ecosystems.

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