Manufacturing: Butte makes bid to be hub

2014-04-15T00:30:00Z 2014-04-15T17:06:27Z Manufacturing: Butte makes bid to be hub Montana Standard

Butte-Silver Bow has formalized its bid for a federally funded manufacturing hub that could draw tens of millions of dollars in public and private investments.

Butte is among dozens of U.S. cities trying to become one of 15 National Network Manufacturing Innovation Centers across the country. A few cities already have been chosen by President Barack Obama’s administration.

The others are to be selected later this year. The goal of the initiative is to close the gap between research and development and the technologies that drive domestic manufacturing.

Butte-Silver Bow government teamed with the Butte Local Development Corp., Montana Tech and other entities in putting the application together over the past several months.

Final touches were being put on the proposal Monday before an evening deadline.

Although specifics were not immediately available, Butte’s proposal focused on manufacturing and industrial sectors involved with developing natural resources — one of Montana’s strengths.

The threshold criteria for eligibility as one of the centers requires ranking in the top third in the nation under defined industrial clusters.

“Our approach will take advantage of Montana’s world-class supplies of vital materials/minerals needed for production of U.S. goods, as well as critical materials

needed for manufacturing of strategic products required for U.S. national security,” an executive summary of the

proposal said.

“In addition, Montana’s diversified energy portfolio (oil and gas, coal, renewables) is essential with providing affordable energy to support the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing,” it said.

Obama proposed the public-private innovation centers in 2012 and asked Congress to allocate $1 billion to open them. A pilot program in Youngstown, Ohio, partnered manufacturing companies and nonprofit organizations in a $70 million center.

Congress has not approved the overall funding request, but Obama has announced some money to start centers in Canton, Mich., Chicago and Raleigh, N.C.

Butte, through the BLDC, received a $200,000 federal grant last September to prepare its proposal. Some other cities also got grants to help them compete, but many are doing so without federal help.

Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive Matt Vincent has traveled twice to Washington, D.C., in recent months, spending part of the visits trying to bolster Butte’s chances of landing one of the centers.

“We are going to define ours as a much larger area than most other proposals,” Vincent said before one D.C. trip in January. “That’s because we are the fourth-largest state and one of the most rural states … and you have to include all the areas our natural resources are found.”

The proposal includes development of a strategy to improve the natural resources industrial complex in Montana. It would involve workforce training, infrastructure development, research and innovation and access to capital, among other things.

Among partners that have committed to implementing the strategy, if the area is chosen, are the Montana Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Services, Montana University System, Idaho National Laboratory, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, Montana Economic Development Association and NorthWestern Energy.

The industrial sectors supporting the effort include metal and nonmetallic mining and processing, coal production, oil and gas extraction and production, petroleum refining, cement production and steel product manufacturing.

- Reach Smith at or 406-496-5511.

Copyright 2015 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(25) Comments

  1. 510
    Report Abuse
    510 - April 17, 2014 11:43 am
    Helena and Bozeman take no federal monies? No grants. No tax dollars?

  2. 510
    Report Abuse
    510 - April 17, 2014 11:42 am
    No we don't. You are thinking about yourself, and the now. You constantly talk about going other places, why? Why would you want to go other places when you can bring other people to you and brighten the economy of Butte?

    It's a sleepy town now, but this model is unsustainable. Without more jobs people will leave. When they leave they take their taxes, when they take their taxes roads, services, and everything else gets worse, to include schools.

    If Butte were a retirement community for multi-millionaires and we didn't need to keep a sustainable working economy you might have a point, but it isn't.
  3. DrivebyGravy
    Report Abuse
    DrivebyGravy - April 16, 2014 6:15 pm
    Delusion is not a plan. Our country can't afford pork or govt solyndra welfare make work projects. Remember MHD, german windmills, all out gambling, rocket research?
    No quick fixes look at diversified clean Bozeman

  4. knowsyourkind
    Report Abuse
    knowsyourkind - April 16, 2014 10:39 am
    Are area would be worthy of our merits if people like you with your negative mentality and mud-slinging didn't live here. Have you ever read your comments and see the inaccurate message they present? Did your mom ever tell you to "think it through"?
  5. Restore_the_Republic
    Report Abuse
    Restore_the_Republic - April 16, 2014 8:22 am
    Right, so you're more interested in a short-term fix and would rather bury your head in the sand and forget that our Country is $17 Trillion in debt? Politicians love people like you.
  6. Silverhio
    Report Abuse
    Silverhio - April 16, 2014 7:57 am
    Since the Butte-Anaconda area is, due to its obvious condition, just about free from authentic environmental regulation, for years polluters have been told "come on board, we're your place." Whatever this BLDC team has designed for our children to do in the future, it sure would be great if they considered the health, welfare and livability of our communities rather than tell us that jobs are worth any price. Why can't we make our area worthy on merits other than "ability to be polluted"?
  7. DrivebyGravy
    Report Abuse
    DrivebyGravy - April 16, 2014 6:41 am
    We can't cry a sad story with only five percent unemployment in butte! Most of the rest of the country is envious of our economy. Rust belt and california ten percent to fifteen. Also. It's always butte America and the heck with Montana until butte needs money. Butte is not the center of the Bakken and not the center of wind & coal like the application says. Finally, baucus has resigned. And we ain't got his prestige unfortunately, any who --- how's about a realistic business economic plan Butte? No more pork barrel or welfare busy work

  8. DrivebyGravy
    Report Abuse
    DrivebyGravy - April 15, 2014 9:13 pm
    We waste our time chasing windmills and quick fixes ignoring toxicity and the pit
  9. Butte_Griz_Fan
    Report Abuse
    Butte_Griz_Fan - April 15, 2014 7:14 pm
    LOL, try to get good paying jobs here and people complain, don't try getting good jobs here and people complain.
  10. icesk8er
    Report Abuse
    icesk8er - April 15, 2014 4:24 pm
    Id rather see $200,000 go to our roads etc... what a waste!
  11. Drifter
    Report Abuse
    Drifter - April 15, 2014 4:23 pm
    I am not going to try and argue with this about the proposal or what taxpayers are tirred of or are not. What I am interested in are jobs for people here who do not have them or who are so underemployed that they might as well not have them.
  12. icesk8er
    Report Abuse
    icesk8er - April 15, 2014 4:23 pm
    How does it cost $200,000 to apply for a grant?? You've got to be kidding right?
  13. Dublin over
    Report Abuse
    Dublin over - April 15, 2014 3:47 pm
    Just maybe we like the sleepy town bland but stable butte Montana. We can always go to Helena and iceman for travel, restaurants, and shopping. We need to decide of the future is high tech and the high cost housing like Bozeman or a mining town with five percent unemployment and a creation based petroleum college
    Location location location.
  14. Dublin over
    Report Abuse
    Dublin over - April 15, 2014 12:33 pm
    Why don't they but lottery tickets rofl
  15. Dublin over
    Report Abuse
    Dublin over - April 15, 2014 12:32 pm
    Even our sad airport is subsidized. Kind of sad really
  16. regulator_1
    Report Abuse
    regulator_1 - April 15, 2014 11:35 am
    Its just too bad that the Deer Lodge County gov doesn't get off their butts and try to promote something like this. They would rather see the county die...
  17. Restore_the_Republic
    Report Abuse
    Restore_the_Republic - April 15, 2014 9:07 am
    That "COULD" draw tens of millions in private investment? Show me the proof. As for the public investment, that's simply the taxpayers being robbed and there is nothing "investment" about it. But show me the real (private) investment. Show me the proof. And please quit using words like COULD. That's attorney speak.
  18. Restore_the_Republic
    Report Abuse
    Restore_the_Republic - April 15, 2014 9:04 am
    You're missing a very important point: the taxpayers are tired of funding these types of pork barrel projects. The "jobs" they create are not sustainable. Why? Because they are federally funded and aren't real jobs. They usually just get the politicians through the next election cycle. Although your optimism is great, you need to educate yourself as to why our Country is $17 trillion in debt...
  19. Restore_the_Republic
    Report Abuse
    Restore_the_Republic - April 15, 2014 9:00 am
    "Butte-Silver Bow government teamed with the Butte Local Development Corp., Montana Tech and other entities in putting the application together over the past several months."
    So government, education, and "other entities" (aka, other government agencies) are asking for additional taxpayer dollars. Seriously, do these 'entities' know how to do anything other than ask for taxpayer dollars? Just a reminder that our Country is $17 trillion in debt and government/education aren't doing anything to help. This is just another gimmick to keep them busy and collecting a paycheck on behalf of the taxpayers. I'm will all other people posting on here: this is just more pork. When is the last time a private investor came into Butte and started a business without government (i.e. taxpayer) assistance?
  20. Drifter
    Report Abuse
    Drifter - April 15, 2014 8:29 am
    "The proposal includes development of a strategy to improve the natural resources industrial complex in Montana. It would involve workforce training, infrastructure development, research and innovation and access to capital, among other things."

    Let's hope it is indeed selected. This could bring thousands of new jobs, and not the minimum wage jobs, through the workforce training programs alone. Also, it could become a catalyst, creating whole other new business to support the primary players. Diversity of approach and selection of business ventures in this would be key. We might actually, finally, fill up the TIFID.

  21. McQueen boy
    Report Abuse
    McQueen boy - April 15, 2014 8:27 am
    So $200,000(our federal tax dollars) is given to apply for a Government hand out. When will the silliness stop? I just BET there is federal $$ to be given out somewhere to revive "Destination Montana."
  22. zubie41
    Report Abuse
    zubie41 - April 15, 2014 8:05 am
    Well, look at it this way; we've made various corporations richer than ever, and in the process raised the standard of living for the average Chinese. Makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy doesn't it?
  23. Dublin over
    Report Abuse
    Dublin over - April 15, 2014 7:58 am
    Not funded and no way republicans will fund it. Chasing windmills again as Bozeman and Helena BOOM on their own. Government should not be picking winners. Let's think of something else. Pork barrel projects and busy work days are over.
  24. DrivebyGravy
    Report Abuse
    DrivebyGravy - April 15, 2014 6:38 am
    Solyndra dreaming
    Why are we still hoping the government picks winners. With 3D printing, manufacturing is now local --- no need for boondoggle pork barrels

    Remember german windmill boom? MHD and rocket research?
  25. montanastrong
    Report Abuse
    montanastrong - April 15, 2014 6:22 am
    Manufacturing innovation through oil, gas and coal extraction? (Climate change is just a fantasy, right?) So sad to say Montanans around the state can only hope and pray that this Butte proposal dies in the early stages of review. Aren't the Dakotas and Wyoming already doing this at breakneck speed? After following this manufacturing program with excitement, this outcome is extremely disappointing.

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