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Dr. Anil Srivastava is professor of manufacturing and industrial engineering at UT-Rio Grande Valley.

MCALLEN, RGV- The new director of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley’s Advanced Tooling Center says the university will do its part to ensure that the region is known worldwide as a hub for advanced manufacturing.

Anil K. Srivastava, professor in the department of manufacturing and industrial engineering at UTRGV, and director of the soon to launch-UTRGV Tooling Academy says he looks forward to the expansion of industry in the region.

“We have to grow here, and we want to be No. 1 in the U.S.,” he said. “With my background in advanced manufacturing, I will see to it that we are known all over the world. When we start growing, we will see that all these different technologies we see elsewhere, we will see them done here in the Valley.”

The Valley is at a loss when it comes to producing students who specialize in making the tools needed for manufacturers, who otherwise see the benefits of moving operations to the Valley, according to industry stakeholders.

The region is losing out on attracting manufacturers who are weighing the advantages of creating tools closer to their production facilities in Reynosa, said Carlos Margo, Interim Associate Dean in the Office of Industry Training and Economic Development at South Texas College.

In response, South Texas College, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the McAllen Economic Development Corporation have sought to fill that need by establishing the region’s first ever machine tooling academy located at a former manufacturing plant on Military Highway, just west of STC’s technology campus in south McAllen.

“We know that we need a lot of workforce development, and we lack it,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that. We are trying to develop certain certification programs and training the people who want to go in that direction, especially in tooling.”

Srivastava’s resume is also an in-depth look into the workings of global industry. In his most recent capacity as the chief technology officer at Cincinnati-based Techsolve Inc. from 1996 to 2013, he led a specialized team in charge of producing solutions for automotive and aerospace manufacturers.

Clients included General Motors, Toyota and Honda; as well as the Department of Defense, Srivastava said.

Techsolve bills itself as a non-profit funded by the state of Ohio that operates with a focus on process improvement, machining, and innovation in order to help businesses find long-term solutions and cultivate problem-solving cultures, according to the organization website.

Srivastava also just concluded his position on the board for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, which he held for the last four years.

“We did research on machines in our labs. I was leading all those groups,” he said. “I have a lot of experience in advanced manufacturing doing research to help industry in improving their productivity and developing innovation technologies. All that brings value to the Valley, and I’m pretty sure we will have a lot of support from industries and the federal government.”

Brandishing a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, Srivastava brings nearly two decades of manufacturing experience to his role at the tooling academy.

His experience and knowledge culminates in a goal to bring more industry to the Valley and develop the workforce needed to grow advanced manufacturing in the region, he said.

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series on the RGV Tooling Academy. Click here to view Part One.