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TTU Dean Expects Ripple Effects Of Memphis Ford Megasite

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
TTU Dean Expects Ripple Effects Of Memphis Ford Megasite

Tennessee Tech’s dean of engineering calls the Memphis Ford Megasite a great opportunity for the state.

Dean Joseph Slater said Tennessee stands as a hub of automotive with four big manufacturers now located here.

“It is the place to be,” Slater said. “It’s going to cause other manufacturers to also look at Tennessee, because this will increase the depth and breath of the talent in automotive manufacturing.”

Slater said he would not be surprised if the $6.5 billion facility has a ripple effect to the Upper Cumberland. Slater said existing suppliers could establish new sites in the region to leverage the talent generated at Tennessee Tech.

“I think here and in eastern Tennessee this is going to help all of those manufacturers create ever greater opportunities,” Slater said. “(…) It will be more than just a plant. It will be more than that, because they’re going to have needs and they’re going to want to have those fulfilled locally and regionally.”

Slater said the university started its own automotive engineering program some 2 years ago. Slater said more emphasis will be placed on the major as interest continues to grow.

“Relatively new practice in both our mechanical and electrical engineering programs and has well over 100 students in the program right now even though it is less than two years old and this is continuing to grow,” Slater said. “So, I think you’re going to see more and more emphasis.”

Tennessee lawmakers committed to spending nearly $900 million on state incentives, infrastructure upgrades and more as part of a sweeping plan with Ford Motor Co. to build the electric vehicle and battery plant.


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