Recently, Alan Russell, co-founder and CEO of the Tecma Group of Companies, posted a Centennial tribute to UTEP on the Tecma blog. He notes that universities like UTEP “constitute a fundamentally important link in the chain of support networks for industry that creates jobs for citizens, and, subsequently, economic health for regions” and he praises in particular the work by two of UTEP’s research centers, the Research Institute for Manufacturing and Engineering Systems (RIMES) and the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC).
UTEP’s successes today are, in fact, part of a very long history of integration with the region’s economy. The school of mines was established in El Paso precisely because of the strong regional mining industry enabled by the smelter and railroad. In 1953, the University opened a seismic observatory and the Schellenger Research Labs, which undertook a host of private contract research funded by a client list that would grow to include White Sands Missile Range, ASARCO, El Paso Natural Gas Company, the U.S. Army, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. In 1963, the college established a Bureau of Business and Economic Research to strengthen the regional economy, a legacy continued today through UTEP’s Institute for Policy and Economic Development (IPED) and the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness. RIMES, TMAC, and IPED are some of UTEP’s more than two dozen organized research centers active on campus and in the regional economy.
As part of the Centennial Celebration, the University commissioned an economic impact study that reveals that UTEP adds an estimated $1.3 billion to the local economy each year. This finding is being compiled with other data into a new report on UTEP’s overall impact on education, research, and community capacity building in the region.
Mr. Russell concludes his tribute to UTEP by noting that “Civically conscious and savvy manufacturing executives should make a special effort to support the centers of higher learning in the communities in which they live and work.” Thank you, Mr. Russell, for joining the celebration. Here’s to 100 more years of building the region’s economy together!