Helping Ohio's Manufacturers Grow

Inexpensive engineering consulting is now available to manufacturing companies in central and southeastern Ohio through a new partnership between CFAES and Ohio State's College of Engineering. (Photo: College of Engineering)

PIKETON, Ohio — Manufacturing companies in central and southeastern Ohio can now take advantage of a new partnership offering engineering know-how from The Ohio State University.

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), which staffs programs to assist businesses at its Piketon facility, now has a new partnership with Ohio State’s College of Engineering. The connection allows manufacturing companies in 37 counties in central and southeastern Ohio to tap into the engineering college’s expertise.

The goal of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) is to help maintain and potentially increase manufacturing jobs in the state, which is particularly important in southern and southeastern Ohio.

Through this new arrangement, companies can seek out low-cost engineering services including training for staff or assistance with an engineering problem or a new product launch.

“In southern Ohio, we don’t have engineering firms on practically every corner like they do in Columbus or Cincinnati,” said Mick Whitt, manufacturing business development specialist for the MEP, which is located at The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon.

“If a manufacturer has an idea for a new product, and their staff can’t quite get the engineering or the design right, they can get help at every phase from the design to manufacture,” he said.

A southern Ohio manufacturer of automotive parts wants to have a robot built for its finishing department. So, engineers from Ohio State are working with the company to not only design and build the robot but also to help the company transition into using the robot to improve the company’s daily operations.

“It’s not just a matter of them looking at the problem and selling them a piece of equipment,” Whitt said.

A furniture company has asked for assistance in getting ISO-certified, a designation involving meeting quality standards set by the International Organization for Standardization.

“To manufacturing companies, it could mean improving their process to the point that they can hire more people and increase their profitability. It can open markets they can’t currently get into,” said Ryan Mapes, program director of the Business Development Network, which provides business consulting, low-cost office space and training at the South Centers. The South Centers are part of CFAES.

“Sometimes companies don’t know where to start,” Mapes said. “They don’t have a person dedicated to beginning the process and seeing it through. They can hand that off and get help.”

Manufacturing companies interested in getting more information about engineering services can contact Whitt at or 740-289-2071, ext. 252 or visit

For more information about the MEP, visit

CFAES News Team