In today’s issue:

  • ASTRO’s Neal Orringer and Stifel at NDIA Today Manufacturing Division Meeting in Washington, DC.
  • “University Day” at Rock Island Arsenal held by ASTRO and Virginia Tech
  • ASTRO’s Dan Burke Presents at NDIA’s IA-IL Chapter’s 15th Annual Midwest Government Contracting Symposium
  • ASTRO at Florida State University
  • ASTRO in the News – WSJ article
  • Coming Up!

ASTRO America and Stifel present to the NDIA Manufacturing Division in Washington, DC.

ASTRO America and Stifel present to the NDIA Manufacturing Division in Washington, DC.

In early May, ASTRO’s President Neal Orringer and Stifel Financial Corp.’s Managing Directors Mike Nitka and Mark Morrissette discussed their plans to help small/medium sized businesses access capital in order to produce critical defense technologies. The partnership between Stifel and ASTRO is a first of its kind private equity fund, set up under a joint Department of Defense and Small Business Administration initiative to support critical technology (CT), through the small business investment company (SBIC) program.

The historic SBA-DoD SBIC-CT collaboration was launched by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and SBA Administrator Guzman in December 2022. By pairing private capital with SBA-administered leverage, the initiative will support investment in vital US national securityproduction. This project also has the added benefit of boosting America’s Defense Industrial Base without reliance on deficit funding. For more on the program read here.

ASTRO America and Virginia Tech hold

ASTRO America and Virginia Tech hold “University Day” 

ASTRO America and the U.S. Army held a technology forum on April 24-25 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. The “University Day” event included attendees from multiple universities, companies, and Army installations convened to discuss potential approaches to 3D printing two aluminum alloys via Additive Friction Stir Deposition (AFSD) technology.

Recommendations from this meeting will be considered for action by ASTRO and its academic and industry partners in the next phase of its applied research sponsored by the U.S. Army Ground Vehicle System Center . Attendees included Virginia Tech, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Iowa State University, Texas A&M, University of Michigan, Colorado School of Mines, Wichita State (NIAR), Boeing, General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE, Corvid Technologies, Army DEVCOM GVSC, Army RIA-JMTC (Rock Island). Many thanks to the greater Virginia Tech team, led by Dr. Chris Williams, for this successful event.

ASTRO at Florida State University

ASTRO at Florida State University 

On May 16, ASTRO convened its AM Forward Florida advisory committee on the campus of Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee to gain insights on:

  • Industry requirements for use-inspired and translational research;
  • Approaches to helping small suppliers access manufacturing shared infrastructure;
  • Innovative and inclusive economic development; and
  • Workforce development needs for aerospace/defense production.

This session was followed the next day by a larger meeting with regional partners across northwestern Florida to discern conditions necessary for building a sustainable advanced manufacturing ecosystem, consistent with the National Science Foundation’s Engines program, run by the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP).  The meeting was co-led by ASTRO America’s Manufacturing fellow – Julie Christodoulou.  A former Director of the Office of Naval Research’s Naval Materials Division, Dr. Christodoulou worked with colleagues from FSU to manage a full day of discussions moderated by the State’s leading experts in economic development, defense/aerospace and energy manufacturing and testing, supply chain development, and university research.

ASTRO’s Dan Burke Presented at NDIA’s IA-IL Chapter’s 15th Annual Midwest Government Contracting Symposium 

Dan Burke, ASTRO’s Chief Financial Officer, presented at the  IA-IL Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) 15th Annual Midwest Government Contracting Symposium in Moline, IL on May 21. At the event, ASTRO’s groundbreaking work to develop the world’s largest metallic 3D printer and support its process maturation at the Rock Island Arsenal was discussed. In addition, ASTRO was able to preview plans to expand its advanced manufacturing research capabilities in the Quad Cities, helping support new technology investments in this vital part of the Defense industrial base.

ASTRO in the News

ASTRO and Stifel’s unique private equity fund for raising money for advanced manufacturing investments in aerospace and defense manufacturing was featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article “U.S. Applies Private-Equity Fund Model to National Security Supply Chain.”

“Stifel North Atlantic and the Applied Science and Technology Research Organization of America, a nonprofit research institute known as Astro America, got approval to raise a private-equity fund under the Small Business Investment Company Critical Technologies initiative. The Department of Defense and the Small Business Administration launched the initiative to attract private capital to technologies, such as additive manufacturing or 3-D printing, deemed critical to defense needs. 

The Stifel-Astro America fund is the first among a number that are expected to be launched through the program, which allows licensed participants to borrow up to $2 of government-supported loans for every $1 of equity raised for their funds, up to a $175 million cap. As of March 31, the SBA had received 34 prescreen applications indicating interest in the initiative, 12 of which have subsequently applied for a license to set up funds under the program, said Bailey DeVries, who heads the SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation.”

The full article can be found here.

Coming Up

  • AMGTA Annual Member Summit (June 24 Los Angeles)
  • RAPID+TCT (June 25-27 Los Angeles)