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Consultant for military products relocates from Unity to Burrell Township

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 9:03 p.m.
Ralph L. Resnick, President and Executive Director of the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining explains how some of their products are made, the materials used, etc. Here he is talking about the helmet clip that holds night-vision goggles. Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch
National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining Randy Gilmore vice President and Chief Technology Officer shows a safety device his company makes for hand grenades. Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch

The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining opened its new headquarters Oct. 25 in the Corporate Campus business park in Burrell Township, east of Blairsville, inviting local, state and federal lawmakers to a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and facility tour.

NCDMM is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2003 to “deliver optimized manufacturing solutions” for the Department of Defense and its subcontractors. The organization provides its technical knowledge and expertise in the manufacturing process to the U.S. military, Department of Defense and the companies that supply them. It also connects defense contractors with experts from other industries to help improve the military suppliers' products and productivity.

While the organization doesn't directly manufacture any products, NCDMM collaborates with the Department of Defense, its suppliers, engineers and academic institutions to identify potential improvements in manufacturing processes and materials that could yield significant cost savings or boost efficiency.

“As we close in on our 10-year anniversary and embark on the next decade of delivering manufacturing innovation, all of us at the NCDMM are certain of this: We expect to have many successful years in Blairsville,” said Ralph Resnick, NCDMM president and executive director. “We have received a very warm welcome by the community of Blairsville, the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Representative Bill Shuster. We had a great turnout at the event as we commemorated NCDMM's new headquarters and the next chapter in our history.”

The center had several of the innovations with which it assisted on display at the ceremony, including military helicopter tail rotor components, hand grenade safety mechanisms and devices used to mount night-vision goggles to military helmets.

The helicopter parts had previously been discarded when they became unusable and were replaced with new components, according to Randy Gilmore, NCDMM vice president and chief technology officer. NCDMM and its engineers devised a method to repair the components at significant savings to the government.

NCDMM also helped develop a more efficient quality-control process for testing the grenade mechanisms and collaborated with the night-vision goggle mount manufacturer to employ a machining process that boosted productivity to help meet increased demand.

“You're not going to regret coming to Indiana County,” Shuster told company officials. “The folks here I work with, whether it's Economic Development, the local Chamber (of Commerce), the county commissioners, (state Rep.) Dave (Reed), (state Sen.) Don (White), the leadership, the business community all rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to make sure that businesses like you will succeed.

“This all started with Congressman Jack Murtha and his commitment to the American military and to our fighting men and women. It started out with Congressionally-directed funding as I like to call it, some of you may know it as an earmark. That's what the seed money was for Ralph and NCDMM to get started, to bring these innovative manufacturing techniques out from the universities... to the industry to make sure they're implemented and we get the benefit of them.”

To date, the center boasts half a billion dollars in savings to its clients through sustainable manufacturing processes, improved materials and reductions in manufacturing costs and waste.

“This is a proud day,” Rod Ruddock, chairman of the Indiana County Commissioners said. “Any time you're able to find a business support team that's willing to come and set on your turf, but then carry a message back to organizations to improve their quality of performance and to also become more efficient and effective in how they do business, it doesn't get any better than that.”

The center's headquarters had previously been located in Unity Township, Westmoreland County at the Kennametal Inc. business campus. The new location is at 486 Cornell Road. NCDMM spokesman Scott Deutsch said the organization employs 15 people, with 12 employees based at the Blairsville location and the remainder working at Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg.

“I knew that this was going to be an ideal location for us when my executive team and I came here to visit and not only were there three representatives of the development and planning group, but the chairman of the county commissioners was also here to show us around,” Resnick said of the Corporate Campus space formerly occupied by Dietrich Industries.

“It's just really been very exciting over the last number of years to see how this park has come together down here,” Reed said of the Corporate Campus. “... I know I'm very excited for this opportunity to come down here to the Blairsville community and, hopefully, it will be the start of a couple more opportunities we see in the years ahead down here.”

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or

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