Non-profit launches to support advanced manufacturing in north Alabama defense industry


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. –  The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Integration Center (AMIIC), a newly launched non-profit, is hoping to inject new life into the advanced manufacturing industry. The non-profit hopes to better support cyber, defense, and space-focused companies.

Leaders from defense companies big and small attended AMIIC’s launch Thursday at Mars Music Hall. AMIIC leadership says one issue facing the advanced manufacturing industry is actually defining what the industry is made up of.

“That list is simply too long to list. But we are talking about disciplines from computer science, digital design, material sciences…” said John Schmitt, the Executive Director of AMIIC.

Schmitt wants the defense industry to have better access to training for current industry employees while also expanding skillsets for those entering the workforce.

“Some of the statistics for folks doing vocational level training, their placement rate is almost 100 percent but their completion rate is in the 40s and 50s. They are getting snagged up before they finish their degree or certification,” said Schmitt.

He wants to make sure people continue to expand their horizons by completing certifications to reach higher qualified jobs.

The non-profit is partnering with school systems and hopes to create more internship pathways for high school and college students. Most interns land jobs in this industry.

“We are casting a very large tent. And everybody is capable of being a sponsor, a beneficiary or a partner for what we are trying to do,” said Schmitt.

Companies like Intuitive and Dynetics hold places on AMIIC’s board.

“When I was with the Chamber of Commerce in 2015, we were outselling Huntsville as the hub of innovation, manufacturing, and so on. Now we have to make that promise through,” said Rey Almodovar, the CEO of Intuitive Research & Development.

AMIIC is working on a 15,000-square-foot location at Cummings Research Park that they hope will foster collaboration and education within the 2nd largest research park in the country.

“In no uncertain terms, is there a single place where the challenges are larger technically or the impact greater to the nation than the commodities that are built on Redstone Arsenal,” asked Schmitt.

AMIIC has been three years in the making. The non-profit hopes to have a local trade show in the coming years to show off all the ingenuity across North Alabama and Huntsville.

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