May 13, 2024, Salt Lake City, Utah

Two Utah industry associations have announced a merger with the goal of accelerating the development of advanced technologies and elevating the state’s role in protecting national security. 47G, Utah’s aerospace and defense industry association, and UAMMI, Utah’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Institute, are combining forces in a collaborative move that signals a major advance for Utah's defense, aerospace and cybersecurity capacity.

Under the consolidation, 47G will continue to convene, promote and advocate for companies critical to national security. In addition to aerospace, defense and cyber security, the organization efforts will now include critical minerals, advanced materials and energy. These areas of focus align with the U.S. Department of Defense’s 14 critical technology areas designed to address challenges facing the United States.

“This collaboration allows us to syndicate resources and bring attention to an industry with a rich history and promising future,” said Aaron Starks, president and CEO of 47G. “We appreciate Governor Cox, the Utah State Legislature and the Utah System of Higher Education for their support and leadership. We are fortunate to work in unison with common goals guiding our efforts.”

Under the terms of the merger, the newly-branded "47G UAMMI Institute" will strengthen the organization’s ability to win federal investment for workforce training, industry development and research. They will be tasked with growing a critical minerals consortium in the Intermountain West.

"We celebrate the growth and development of our aerospace and defense industry which contributes to our vibrant workforce and expansion of critical infrastructure,” said Utah Governor Spencer Cox. “This consolidation of resources between two great organizations will enhance 47G's ability to elevate Utah's status as a premier hub for industry and destination for innovation, entrepreneurship and investment.”

“The 47G and UAMMI merger is a huge win for Utah and for the country. As a former Air Force pilot and member of Congress who served on the House Intelligence Committee, I have seen firsthand how advanced materials in the aerospace and defense industry enhance our economy and protect our national security,” said Chris Stewart, 47G chair. 

Utah has the potential to offer up to 40 of the 50 minerals designated by the U.S. Geological Survey as critical to the economic health and national security of the United States. These minerals are core to advanced materials and manufacturing. Utah has become a global hub for both and will continue to garner national attention as the U.S. diversifies away from China.

“With more than 80% of Utah’s advanced materials industry supporting aerospace and defense manufacturers, UAMMI welcomes the merger with 47G,” said Dr. Tulinda Larsen, president, 47G UAMMI Institute. “The Institute will be uniquely positioned as an award-winning organization to secure critical funding and contracts, catalyze innovative technologies and generate a greater impact for Utah’s thriving aerospace and defense industries.”

The 47G and UAMMI governing boards have approved the merger, which takes effect immediately. The Institute will be housed at 47G headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City, with offices at Weber State’s Miller Applied Resource Solutions building near Hill Air Force Base.

“Working for a full-service engineering and manufacturing company and a small business that produces large composite parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, I understand how important this merger is for Utah’s aerospace and defense industry,” said Marshall Hagen, senior manager of strategic programs for Janicki Industries and former UAMMI board chair. “The merger aligns industry resources and connects Utah companies, small and large, to advance our common interests and grow the advanced manufacturing base in this great state. I wholeheartedly support it.”

47G is a non-profit organization supporting Utah's ecosystem for aerospace, defense and cyber companies. The organization dramatically launched with a bold rebrand and gala celebration based on an aviation and aerospace theme complete with aircraft as a backdrop at the Delta Hangar in October 2023, as covered by TechBuzz. 47G's mission is to foster talent, fund entrepreneurship and fuel innovation. The 47G ecosystem comprises over 120 companies and 20 academic institutions working to solve critical national security challenges across three industry sectors. 

47G has made the following staffing as a result of the merger with UAMMI:

  • Guy Letendre is 47G's Vice President Manufacturing, Minerals & Materials and will continue to focus his time on growing our region's Critical Materials Ecosystem, including UAMMI's EDA Tech Hub Strategy Development Grant, the new 47G Impact Center for Manufacturing Excellence, and ensuring the continued growth of the Miller Applied Research Solutions (MARS) programs for the development of high temperature materials,
  • KC Sander is 47G's Director of Marketing & Channel Partnerships,
  • Melissa Larsen is responsible for handling events and sponsorships for both 47G and the 47G UAMMI institute,
  • Cathy Blomquist, 47G's Director of Operations, will work with UAMMI Cluster Members and the Return-to-Work program,
  • David Beckerman will continue to work on proposal development and thought leadership,
  • Cara Winthers will provide administrative program support for the 47G UAMMI Institute,
  • Jeff Edwards, Brent Strong, and Scott Stephenson will continue to serve as Senior Advisors to the 47G UAMMI Institute.

UAMMI is a non-profit organization dedicated to growing the Advanced Materials Manufacturing industry in Utah. It was founded in 2015 by Andy Buffmire, a Utah tech executive whose approach blends law, economics and advanced materials tech. While affiliated with the University of Utah, Buffmire assembled representation in UAMMI from Utah State University, Weber State University and Brigham Young University, which are the higher education institutions supporting UAMMI.

Buffmire, (pictured center), will be honored on May 14, 2024 with the 2024 UAMMI Foundational Support for Advanced Manufacturing Award. This award is given each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to the success of UAMMI and Utah’s advanced materials and advanced manufacturing industry. The award will be presented at the 2024 CrossTalk on May 14th in the Ogden Union Station in connection with the inaugural Acceler8 Wasatch Week which celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of Northern Utah’s aerospace and defense industry. Accerle8 and the 2024 CrossTalk will feature conference sessions, business-to-business matchmaking, pitch events, and a career fair, along with social and networking activities.

"Andy was one of the visionary founders of UAMMI as he was at the University of Utah working to connect researchers there with industry," said Dr. Tulinda Larsen, president, 47G UAMMI Institute. "Andy brought that purpose to UAMMI and it became an essential part of UAMMI's mission. He brought up the idea of setting up UAMMI not as a state agency but as a non-profit corporation that could be funded from a wide variety of sources both public and private. His legal and private sector experience was essential to get it off the ground."


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