MSC gets $300K for Conover Station move

Catawba Valley Community College received a $300,000 grant to fund equipment and operations of a center moving to Conover Station.

The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center awarded the grant to CVCC to be used by the Manufacturing Solutions Center. MSC, which is currently housed on CVCC's East Campus, will move to Conover Station in early 2012.

The grant will be used for equipment and operations, according to Dan St. Louis, MSC executive director.

Currently, MSC provides laboratory testing on products and assisting budding inventors and entrepreneurs with prototype development, connecting them with manufacturing resources and guiding the final product to market. The MSC will be a hub drawing new small businesses to Conover, thereby increasing the number of local jobs.

“We outgrew our current facility a couple of years ago,” said St.

Louis. “We have desperately needed more space because so companies worldwide are seeking our expertise in either identifying a problem and recommending a solution or helping new businesses get started. Our team of scientists is stacked on top of each other.”

Highly sophisticated equipment is used at the center for anti-microbial testing, flammability, lead content, defect analysis, microscopic testing and more. MSC laboratories are often sterile and located in environmentally controlled rooms.

“I am impressed with the work the city of Conover has been doing on this project and am very pleased they received this grant as it will help bring more jobs into the area,” said Rep. Mark K. Hilton.

Sen. Austin Allran said MSC's goal is important to Catawba County, as well as North Carolina, and this grant will help the center continue to flourish “I am supportive of the efforts to create future manufacturing based in smaller and smarter factories that nourish innovation," Allran said. "The Manufacturing Solutions Center will become the business accelerator for new product innovation. When companies launch their businesses from this facility, our hope is they will plug into our local communities, use our available industrial properties and employ our skilled and able workforce. We have been very fortunate both North Carolina and federal agencies agree with this vision and have stepped forward to partner thru grant funding and make this a reality for all North Carolina.”

Jason Gray, director of the Office of Research and Innovation for the N.C. Rural Center, said MSC is the start of an industrial trend for the state.

“We see the MSC, along with the Industrial Extension Service and the Center for Engineering Technologies, as being key institutions to stabilize and grow manufacturing across the state,” Gray said.

Conover and the MSC have secured $6.5 million in grants to pay for the station's projects.