CEO Spotlight | Michael Garvey, Center Street Technologies

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, or Magnet, is an organization that rarely draws a lot of attention, yet plays a fundamental role in advancing the region’s economy.

“It gave us the ability to get on our feet with our vision,” says Michael Garvey, president of M-7 Technologies and Center Street Technologies in Youngstown. Garvey’s companies use advanced manufacturing technology that demonstrates bold, new innovation in the Mahoning Valley.

Magnet, based in Cleveland, is a nonprofit consulting organization that helps startups and small and medium-size businesses to expand, transform their technologies and improve manufacturing processes. It involves collaboration with educators, business leaders, universities and local governments.

These partnerships allow Magnet’s client companies to grow by providing low-interest financing, design and engineering consulting, help with workforce training, technical assistance, and marketing and sale consulting.

Michael Garvey, president of M-7 Technologies and Center Street Technologies.

In the case of Center Street Technologies, Garvey points to one of the largest 3D printers in the world. The printer is eight feet high, 12 feet deep and 24 feet wide, big enough to accommodate a full-size SUV with plenty of room to spare.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing uses digital designs and equipment to make components layer-by-layer with a variety of materials.

Center Street does massive-area 3D printing to create larger, more complex components. The company designed the mounting apparatus for the extrusion press, machining head and overhead coverings on the large system.

Still, “there were a lot of design modifications we needed to do,” Garvey says. “We worked with Magnet on the final design on those pieces of equipment.”

Moreover, Center Street was able to benefit from using Magnet as a third-party purchaser for engineering work and equipment on the giant printer. “We had payment terms with Magnet, which allowed us to get on our feet.”

Because Center Street was pioneering new ground, few conventional lenders would risk financing an early-stage venture. “There are not a lot of banks – at the design phase – willing to lend the amount of money needed to get this thing off the ground,” he says.

Now that Center Street has emerged from concept to actually producing parts, Garvey said the company has a strong relationship with Farmers National Bank in Canfield.

“They have taken over the financial position that Magnet had,” he says.

Garvey’s other company, M-7 Technologies, previously collaborated with Magnet on commercialization strategies with some of its core products.

“That worked out better than what we had expected,” he says.

M-7 uses advanced measurements systems and digital database technology to improve the quality and cycle times of reconditioning or repairing heavy industrial equipment and products.

The company is engaged in four different projects with Magnet, Garvey says.

Among them is employing the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, and combining machine tool monitoring with high-end measurement technology to produce artificial intelligence that can more precisely track machine performance or a particular component’s functions. Another project involves robotic tending of machine tools, he says.

“Magnet’s purpose is to enable small businesses to participate in the current trends and opportunities in manufacturing,” Garvey says.

In the past, a lot of concentration was placed on ISO certification and LEAN manufacturing concepts, he notes.

“Now, the focus is really on workforce development and advanced manufacturing.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.