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eSpotlight: Sacramento State

Welcome to another edition of eSpotlight, where we give our Partners, Members, Clients, and Preferred Service Providers (PSPs) a chance to tell their story about their work with the California Mobility Center (CMC) and what they bring to the future mobility table. This week we are happy to be featuring a post by Dixie Reid, senior writer at Sacramento State, one of our founding members.

Sacramento State, the capital region’s anchor university, is committed to creating and nurturing partnerships that help ensure our communities continue to thrive. Being a founding member of the California Mobility Center is one of the best examples of the University’s commitment. Their current work with the CMC, along with the prospect of the center eventually making its permanent home on University-owned land near Sac State, adds to anticipation of the great things to come.

Sac State’s strong ties to California Mobility Center show long-term commitment

By Dixie Reid, Sacramento State Senior Writer

Sac State leadership understands the importance of the University’s close participation in the California Mobility Center.

Playing a significant role in the CMC’s ramp-up factory, the University also looks ahead to the center eventually moving to Sac State-owned property and becoming another visible example of its “anchor university” achievements.

“Sac State is involved with the CMC because of the great partnership opportunities,” said Jonathan Bowman, the University’s vice president for Administration and chief financial officer, said. “Student interns will get hands-on experience with developing technologies, and CMC clients will benefit from those same students in the commercialization of their products.

“This could lead to the creation of Sac State programs specifically geared toward these emerging technologies, giving our students valuable experiences that are difficult to obtain elsewhere,” Bowman added.

In the meantime, CMC is set up at Depot Park in south Sacramento, where activity continues to grow following the center’s official launch in March.

Sacramento State is a founding member of CMC, a nonprofit, public-private business acceleration hub that aspires to become a leading global innovation and commercialization center and to set the pace in electric mobility.

University President Robert S. Nelsen acknowledges CMC’s technological and business importance, while emphasizing the synergy it has with Sac State, as well as the impact it can have on students.

“CMC is targeted at creating sustainable transportation, and sustainability is what Sac State has been about for a long, long time,” said Nelsen, a member of the CMC board, which includes representatives from SMUD, the Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC), EnerTech Capital, and UC Davis among other thought leaders in clean technology innovation. “This is exciting from an entrepreneurial standpoint because it brings start-ups – new companies – to life here.

“And our students will have the chance to work in actual manufacturing, in a plant where they will create prototypes of new technology.”

Sac State is positioned to play an important role, said Yvonne Harris, associate vice president for the University’s Offices of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED).

“(W)hen an innovation hub like CMC is connected to a university, it is in a position to use the university’s resources, talents, and mechanisms to speed that along,” Harris said. “This has been done in other industry sectors, but Sacramento State is the first in respect to mobility, clean energy, and emerging technologies.”

CMC’s ramp-up factory occupies a vast warehouse at the former U.S. Army Depot. It is being outfitted with large-scale equipment, ranging from a 13-foot welding table and an electric plasma cutter, to a Dynamic 1340G metal lathe and vehicle lifts embedded in the concrete floor.

Sac State student-interns have been on site for several weeks, validating the machinery and running tests to help ensure readiness when CMC’s first client arrives in mid-May.

“It’s exciting to see how the technology will evolve and to watch this warehouse be brought up from nothing to what it will be,” said Sarah Moseley ’20 (Mechanical Engineering), now a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering. Her first client project is to retrofit a trailer with clean technology for CleanStart, a Sacramento-based nonprofit.

The first assignment for Derek Heinemann, a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate, is to design an adaptor for the facility’s entrance ramp that will allow oversize vehicles to enter.

Currently, Sac State has five student-interns committed to working at the site. Sierra College and American River College each have one.

The students are mentored by Mike Bell, professor of Mechanical Engineering at Sac State and the ramp-up factory’s chief engineer. He also is executive director of Sacramento State’s newly created Office of Clean Energy and Mobility Technologies (OCEMT), which connects Sac State and CMC.

“The University is where the human capital is in place,” Harris said. “Given the emerging clean-energy and mobile technologies that CMC is focused on, we have the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics that will all work together based on specific projects where CMC clients need that level of expertise.”


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