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Convene, Connect, Catalyze: It’s a Puzzle

Lightweight Materials, Materials

“I think I want to be a plumber because plumbing seems like a big puzzle,” says 17-year-old Ella, who I met at a National Manufacturing Day event sponsored by MSC Industrial Supply Co. in Knoxville, Tenn. Ella is a tiny, timid girl hiding behind glasses and blazing blue hair. It’s an ah-hah moment for me. “Oh, you like puzzles?” I respond. “Manufacturing is an infinite number of puzzles waiting to be solved.” Now I have her attention.

Puzzles come up again later that day when someone asks me, “What exactly does IACMI – The Composites Institute do?” The short answer is we convene, connect, and catalyze, but what does that mean? Celebrating Manufacturing Day in multiple locations this month has given me a fresh perspective. I picture what IACMI is trying to accomplish as a large puzzle, except this puzzle has pieces that are constantly evolving.