UTEP to open mechanical engineering lab

University of Texas at El Paso

The College of Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso will have a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Lockheed Martin Mechanical Engineering Lab on the UTEP campus at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 in the College of Engineering lobby.

Media and the public are invited to attend the opening, visit the lab and see the new learning stations in use.

Concerned about a workforce close to retirement and a dearth of young engineers to replace them, Frank Cappuccio, now retired Lockheed Martin executive vice president, worked with College of Engineering Dean Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D., and faculty from the College of Engineering to develop a strategy aimed at integrating progressive companies into the education and research mission of the College of Engineering.

Cappuccio recognized that technology-based companies need to play an active role in the attraction and education of young people to engineering if the U.S. is to maintain its innovation edge. The result is a partnership plan between the College of Engineering and Lockheed Martin to attract, inspire, educate and graduate more students interested in technology-based careers.

As part of this multi-faceted plan, Lockheed Martin is contributing $600,000 to develop and equip the Lockheed Martin Mechanical Engineering Lab. The lab features state-of-the-art learning stations for student engineers to experiment, test and evaluate the engineering concepts covered in their undergraduate courses. In addition to the equipment, Lockheed Martin worked with Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering and chair of the department, to develop an inspirational environment with the installation of displays and models from the company’s portfolio of current and future products.

“This laboratory demonstrates the impact progressive companies can have in attracting and educating an engineering workforce reflective of the 21st century demographics,” Choudhuri said. “The Lockheed Martin Mechanical Engineering Laboratory is a foundation facility for a research enterprise that takes us to Tier One.”

Lockheed Martin, a Fortune 100 global security company with more than 126,000 employees worldwide, has actively recruited engineers from UTEP’s College of Engineering for years. It is the company’s hope that when other similarly inclined companies, foundations and organizations visit the new lab, they too will become integral partners in developing a technical workforce with a 21st century demographic profile.

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