DETROIT – LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, a Manufacturing USA institute, today announced that Nigel Francis has been named as the institute’s chief executive officer and executive director effective immediately. Francis succeeds Chris Conrardy, who had been serving as the interim executive director since January.
LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) and one of the founding Manufacturing USA institutes, is a public-private partnership dedicated to developing and deploying advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and education & workforce training programs to better prepare the workforce of today and in the future.
Francis has spent much of his career in advanced manufacturing, specifically in the automotive sector, including roles as: Vice President, Advanced Engineering & Technology Development at Detroit-based and LIFT Gold member American Axle; Vice President, Vehicle Engineering at Mercedes-Benz technology; Senior Automotive Advisor to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and inaugurator of the Automotive Industry Office in the State of Michigan.
“Nigel has a wealth of knowledge and experience in business strategy development, business growth, customer relationship development, engineering, technology development and management, business and operations management, and manufacturing technology,” said Becky Stewart, chairman, ALMMII Board of Directors. “In LIFT, Nigel inherits a world-class facility, an outstanding staff, and an incredible network of industry and education and workforce development experts. We believe those assets, along with Nigel’s experience, will lead the institute to fulfill its mission of revolutionizing manufacturing through lightweight metals innovation and education.”
“I am passionate about manufacturing technology and the need for the US to re-assert itself as the global leader in the manufacturing space,” Francis said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to take on this important role in the evolution of LIFT and the Manufacturing USA network, and to lead the critically important manufacturing technology commercialization business, impacting the future of our national manufacturing industry.”
Francis will be based in LIFT’s Detroit headquarters.