YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel has joined the parade of optimism surrounding the future of electric vehicles being built at the General Motors Lordstown plant.
The president’s remarks come after last Friday’s meeting with the men running what’s now being called Lordstown Motors Corp. Although nothing is final yet, Tressel liked what he heard.
At the meeting, a group of 25 people talked with Lordstown Motors officials about potential partnership opportunities.
“The fact that they want to call it Lordstown Motors is really, to me, significant. They want to be a part of the fabric of the community,” Tressel said.
Tressel organized the meeting after getting a call two weeks ago from Joe Lukens, a football player Tressel coached in the early 1980s when he was an assistant at Ohio State University. Lukens and Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns were high school friends at Cincinnati Moeller.
“He called and he said, ‘Hey, we understand that in the Valley, there’s lots of software expertise, there’s lots of additive manufacturing, obviously the university, community college, YBI and all that.’ He said, ‘Could we come over and talk?’ and I said, ‘Sure,'” Tressel said.
The university had six or seven people at the meeting representing STEM, engineering, software developers and 3D printing.
“The future in their minds, of course, is electric, but the future also may be 3D printing of the vehicles and so forth. We have the research capabilities right here,” Tressel said.
The officials from Lordstown Motors also wanted to know about the workforce the Youngstown area could provide.
“They talked a lot about training and so we said between us, according to what you’re training, between us and Eastern Gateway, according to which one’s our sweet spot, we feel as if we can be helpful in the training area,” Tressel said.
When Tressel was first approached about a meeting with Burns, Burns thought it was going to be a one-on-one with Tressel. But, it was Tressel who suggested getting everyone involved who might be able to help, which is how the meeting grew to 25 people.