Walden, Dennis receive national Practitioner of the Year Award

June 16, 2008

Mississippi State University’s Dr. Clay Walden and Glenn Dennis, from the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension (CAVS-E), were recently presented the Co-Practitioner of the Year Award at the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) conference in Orlando, Fla. The awards were presented by Roger Kilmer, national director of the MEP Program and by Dr. Jay Tice, director of MEP.ms.

“We are proud of Clay Walden and Glenn Dennis and the work the MSU-CAVS center is doing to improve industrial development in rural areas of north Mississippi,” said Dr. Randall Goldsmith, president of the Mississippi Technology Alliance (MTA). “This honor is especially significant because, the project being recognized helped safeguard the lives of U.S. troops and contractors serving in Iraq.”

Walden and Dennis played a key role in the concurrent launching of a new manufacturing facility and the introduction of two newly-designed vehicles, the armored tractor trailer cab and the MRAP – Mine Resistant Ambush Protected – troop carrier. The project was a joint venture between International Military and Government and Griffin Armor.

Based on client feedback from MEP surveys, the work by Dennis and Walden was an important factor in creating more than 500 new jobs in a rural area that had previously suffered plant closings; attaining $800 million in total economic impact, including sales increases at 10 small, regional manufacturers in Mississippi, and helping to save the lives of more than 30 truck drivers in Iraq.

While at this year’s conference, Dennis and Walden hosted a session entitled “Simulation Modeling: A Breakthrough Technology for Small and Medium Sized Manufactures,” describing their current work in West Point, Miss. Recognition of this work was encouraged by a nomination from Dr. Jay Tice and led towards this year’s award.

Tice stated that, “The award is a great tribute to the MEP.ms work by Clay and Glenn and the resulting production of the armored vehicles in Mississippi has helped to safeguard U.S. troops and contractors in harm’s way in Iraq.”

MEP is a national network with hundreds of specialists who provide manufacturers with services and access to public and private resource. In one year, the program has delivered $1.3 billion in cost savings annually and $6.25 billion in increased or retainer sales to thousands of manufactures. MEP’s mission is to work with companies to invest in their future, make improvements in the short-term, and position themselves to be stronger long-term competitors both domestically and internally.

CAVS-E is one of nine MEP centers across the state, comprised of Mississippi universities and community colleges, that are in partnership with the MEP.ms organization. MEP.ms is a line of business of MTA and is one of 59 MEP Centers nationwide.