April 4, 2017


MARTINSVILLE, Va. – New College Institute (NCI) offered the community an inside look at the machinery and programs available through their Center of Advanced Manufacturing at an open house on April 3, 2017.


In his remarks to those in attendance, Senator and NCI Chairman Bill Stanley recognized the many partners that have worked together to make the Center a reality. “NCI is fortunate to have state-of-the-art equipment to benefit local employers and individuals looking to advance their careers. Collaboration with partners in the Commonwealth is key to delivering innovative programming. Some of NCI’s partners include Patrick Henry Community College, Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation, and local employers.”


During this event, attendees toured NCI’s training center and Metrology Lab and observed machine demonstrations. NCI’s Center of Advanced Manufacturing houses two HAAS milling machines, two HAAS lathes machines, and the Mazak Variaxis machine. These pieces of equipment are classified as advanced computer numerical control (CNC) machines, which are used to cut metal along various axes with great precision. The Metrology Lab consists of six precision measuring devices. These devices are used to test the various characteristics and qualities of the metal fabrications produced by the CNC machines. Representatives from Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, Virginia, were on-hand providing interactive demonstrations of the CNC machinery.


Local employers are already taking advantage of the resources available at NCI’s Center of Advanced Manufacturing. “The Center is an incredible resource for us. Using this Center will allow our business to grow as we leverage their partners for advanced technologies. Working with the Center and NCI we will be designing new products from scratch, prototyping, manufacturing, and then installing these products in our shop,” said Peter Basica with JP Superior Solutions, an automotive customization shop located in Martinsville.


Beyond the benefits to his business, Basica also supports the educational experiences that the Center offers. “We think this will be as valuable to students as it will be to us.  The students will be able to experience the complete cycle of product creation,” he shared. 


The Center also features an Academic Coater, a one-of-a-kind, million-dollar machine designed by Eastman and used for hands-on, interactive training in coating and conveyance. This machine is part of the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing, a 28-credit hour program offered in partnership with Patrick Henry Community College, Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation, and Eastman. Participants of the program are guaranteed interviews with Eastman upon completion.


Ralph Schultz, Eastman engineer, ran demonstrations of the academic coater, which is similar to the laminating machines used on the floor of Eastman’s manufacturing sites here in Henry County. “This machine is unique. There is literally no other machine like it in the United States because it offers instructors an opportunity to teach coating and conveyance by manipulating outputs. Then, students can work hands-on to troubleshoot and improve the performance of the machine. With this capability, we can provide training and professional development for both entry-level workers and seasoned engineers for various manufacturing corporations,” shared Schultz.


Vendors such as Mitutoyo, Master Gage, MSC Industrial Supply Company, Stanley Black and Decker (DeWalt), Proto Tool, Black Hawk, Apex Group, and Kennametal were on site to showcase products and offer giveaways.


Senator Bill Stanley spoke about the future of the Center of Advanced Manufacturing and how it will impact the local economy. “The Center offers students and employees an opportunity to expand their skillset through experiential learning that reflects real-world applications. Improving the workforce creates a better environment to grow and attract new business here in Martinsville-Henry County.”


“This Center and the programs we will offer represent great potential for growth at NCI and the local economy. These advanced pieces of machinery allow NCI to provide hands-on, technical training for local employers in a way that is efficient and effective. It is our hope that employers will utilize resources here at NCI to sharpen employees’ skillsets and allow industries to plan for future growth,” said Dr. Leanna Blevins, Executive Director of NCI.


“Many people don’t know all the great resources and equipment that NCI has to offer. We want this event to help employers connect with training opportunities available at NCI. We also want the public to get a better understanding of the type of workforce development programs that are going on here at NCI and perhaps how they can get involved,” said Pamela Carter-Taylor, NCI’s Coordinator of Advanced Manufacturing.


“NCI would like to thank GENEDGE for collaborating with us for today’s open house. We would also like to thank our partners, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) and the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission for their ongoing support,” added Carter-Taylor.