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Representative from UT and the Haas Research Foundation stand at naming event

$1 Million Grant Establishes Gene Haas Machine Tool Research Academy at UT

Gene Haas is the founder and sole owner of Haas Manufacturing Automation Inc., one of the most recognized companies in the world of large- and small-scale CNC machining.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, (UT) Professor Tony Schmitz is one of the most recognized academics in that same world of machining and advanced manufacturing, including on the use of several Haas machine models for university education, research, and training.

Gene Haas also founded the Gene Haas Foundation with a mission to impact the future of manufacturing in the United States—and around the world. A strong manufacturing economy and prosperity to the citizens of the world depends directly upon the availability of skilled workers. Recruiting more young people to pursue careers in manufacturing, and creating state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing training programs is critical to this endeavor.

The amazing work being done at UT both in manufacturing research and developing programs to inspire and train is the catalyst for this $1 million Gene Haas Foundation grant to help create the “Gene Haas Machine Tool Research Academy.”

Schmitz shared in the excitement.

“I am humbled by this grant from the Gene Haas Foundation,” said Schmitz, who works through the Tickle College of Engineering’s (TCE) Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering. “At the same time, I am eager to see the ways it boosts our current research and development activities, and how it will allow us to develop new opportunities for machining and training.”

The academy will be housed in UT’s Machine Tool Research Center (MTRC), which is led by Schmitz, who also holds a joint faculty appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“Tony Schmitz is one of the leaders in the field of machining, and this grant is an example of the high regard in which he is held by industry, institutions, and peers,” said TCE Dean Matthew Mench, the Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair of the college. “We look forward to seeing this new academy flourish in support of a mission of training the new workforce.”

Through the MTRC, Schmitz and other researcher from across the college and UT Space Institute develop programs and hands-on projects that combine the theoretical with the practical when it comes to machining, impacting participants from the high school level all the way through those currently in the workforce who seek to build out their skill sets.

Further highlighting his expertise in the field, Schmitz is the director of the Southeastern Advanced Machine Tools Network (SEAMTN), which seeks to identify challenges in machining and address them through new technology and training the workforce on such technology, and training content developer for America’s Cutting Edge (ACE), which is supported by the Department of Defense Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment Program and seeks to restore American manufacturing through research and training on machine tools such as the ones Haas builds.

“What we’re building here in East Tennessee and throughout the region is a hub for machining, advanced manufacturing, and innovation,” Schmitz said. “We’re helping bring about a sea change in manufacturing, developing a skilled workforce, and creating jobs and opportunities throughout the area, as our charter as a land-grant university calls us to do.”

A mission boosted by the Gene Haas Foundation.

Photo Gallery

Check out photos from the announcement event.

Equipment at the Machine Tool Research Center
Marc Gibson speaks to guests at the announcement event.
Tony Schmitz speaks to guests at naming event
MTRC student presents their research at naming event
SEC Machining statue at MTRC
A UT student welcomes guests at the Machine Tool Research Center
John Haas Foundation representative speaks at naming event.
People mingle at naming event
MTRC student presents their research at naming event
Dean Davis speaks with people at naming event