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Revolutionizing the Region’s Manufacturing Sector

Brian Benyo
Youngstown business owner Brian Benyo talks about plans for the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center.

Brian Benyo’s biggest challenge is not unlike many of his colleagues in the manufacturing sector.

“We need to find a way to get more young people interested in manufacturing,” said Benyo, who, along with his brother, Alex, employs 250 people as the owners of Brilex Industries Inc., Taylor Winfield Technologies and Quality Machine in Youngstown.

“We are constantly working at attracting and retaining skilled and motivated employees.”

So, as the chair of the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, Benyo set out to do something about it.

MVMC is teaming with YSU to develop the concept of a shared resource training center in downtown Youngstown, dubbed the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center.

The center, a major part of the YSU “We See Tomorrow” campaign, could help revolutionize the region’s manufacturing sector, said Benyo and Mike Hripko, YSU associate vice president for Research.

“This facility puts our region ahead of most areas of the country and can be a real game-changer in addressing the need for more advanced rigors and technology in all levels of manufacturing training,” Benyo said.

The future site of the MVICC
The future site of the MVICC.

The MVICC will be located in a building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West Commerce Street formerly owned by Mahoning County. The center has already received $1 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission and $2 million from the U.S. Department of Economic Development, as well as $3 million from the state of Ohio capital appropriations. The university hopes to raise an additional $14 million through the capital campaign.

The center is a partnership between YSU, area high school vocational education programs, Eastern Gateway Community College and the Youngstown Business Incubator.

In addition to training, the center is designed to become a hub for innovation and research, particularly focused on additive manufacturing. The facility will feature several pieces of high-tech equipment, including many state-of-the-art 3D printers.

“The center will house the most modern advanced manufacturing equipment available for training students with the necessary 21st century skills our manufacturers need to maintain competitiveness in the fast changing, technologically-driven manufacturing industries,” Hripko said.