Ford's Lima Engine Plant and The Ohio State University unveil high-tech learning center

Apr 02, 2024

The genesis of innovation begins with inspiring minds – and Ford’s Lima Engine Plant and The Ohio State University are doing just that with a long-term commitment to rejuvenate the advanced manufacturing landscape of the region.

The manufacturing and education powerhouses came together to formally cut the ribbon on OSU’s Engineering, Education and Manufacturing Center (EEMC), located on LEP’s campus. With handshakes and smiles all around, OSU and LEP hosted members of the public and government dignitaries at the 40,000-square-foot center, which has been extensively renovated to provide students of Ohio State’s Bachelor of Science in engineering technology program, a hands-on laboratory experience in an innovative, high-tech learning environment.

Ford Lima Engine Plant is proud to partner with The Ohio State University… let me make sure I said that right…THE Ohio State University.
Lamar Jones
Plant Manager, Lima Engine

It was only fitting that Lamar Jones, Lima Engine plant manager and a proud University of Michigan graduate, broke the ice with a little humor to get the crowd going.  "Being a Michigan native and alum, I really had to practice that to make sure I got the name right,” Jones said as he was met with some good-natured boos and laughter from the crowd. “I know how important this event is, so I want you all to know how hard I practiced making sure I got that right.”

Jones went on to remark that Ford has a long history of partnering with leaders to advance the business forward. “And we’re standing here today inside the result of one of those successful partnerships,” he said, adding “and it made sense for Ford Motor Company, which was founded by one of the greatest innovators and engineers in history, to be a part of this venture.” 

Hands-On Learning

Not only does this engineering technology degree provide local partners with access to local talent and resources, but it also provides access to our students – access to an Ohio State education, access to industry partners through mentorships, internships and capstone courses, and access to a career with endless possibilities.
Dr. Meggie Young
Interim Dean and Director, Ohio State Lima

The facility offers students hands-on and real-life experiences in robotics, machining, assembly and computer-aided design and engineering, as well as industrial controls and metrology. The collaboration also provides competitive opportunities in engineering, and fills a significant need in the community, said Dr. Meggie Young, interim dean and director at Ohio State Lima. Launched in 2020, the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology program is the result of industry requests for a program that integrates engineering concepts and manufacturing processes with hands-on skills. The degree is calculus-based, ABET accredited and positioned in communities where many advanced manufacturers operate. 

One student taking full advantage of those opportunities is Josh Niekamp, a fourth-year engineering technology major from Minster, who will soon complete his degree and return to Minster to enter the engineering industry. “This course gives us the freedom to use the robots in ways that are interesting to us,” Niekamp said. 

I’m grateful for this program and it feels like it was tailor-made for me.
Josh Niekamp

Jim Rieman, LEP’s engineering team manager and long-time employee of Ford Motor Company, has been instrumental in bringing the EEMC vision to reality. Rieman, who also teaches engineering courses for the college, said he is thrilled that the first graduating class from the program will soon enter the workforce. “I have no doubt these young men and women will have an immediate impact,” he said, adding “it’s been a pleasure to see them getting the hands-on programming and skills they will be using in the industry. I have no doubt we will be seeing many bright and innovative engineers coming out of this facility.”