Marquette University and A. O.
Smith Corporation to lead initiative advising White House and
Congress on manufacturing and water solutions.
Marquette University and A. O. Smith Corporation have agreed to
lead a top-level national initiative aimed at ensuring the
continued global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.
Marquette University and A. O. Smith Corporation have agreed to lead
a top-level national initiative aimed at ensuring the continued
global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. Focusing on water and
manufacturing, the initiative will develop a sector study that
includes evaluating the use and re-use of water, the energy-water
nexus, identifying water-use related risk and highlighting new
technologies for water use efficiency, in addition to exploring
policies for water-manufacturing and energy across the United
This initiative is part of a larger action plan known as the U.S.
Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Partnership (EMCP), a
national effort of the Council on Competitiveness. It will solidify
the Milwaukee region’s strength in both water and manufacturing,
combining faculty expertise from Marquette and other academic
institutions with A. O. Smith’s energy-efficient solutions in water
heating and water treatment products as well as process technology
“It is an incredible honor to join a national leadership effort that
will shape solutions for the most complex water issues facing
businesses from coast to coast,” Marquette President Michael R.
Lovell said. “We look forward to convening the brightest minds from
both the public and private sectors to develop a bold and innovative
action plan that will drive our country’s manufacturing sector
Marquette and A. O. Smith will form a team of experts that will work
for the next year to develop the sector study that ultimately will
be delivered to the next President of the United States and Congress
to help define America’s energy and manufacturing agenda, technology
and policies related to water.
“The availability of fresh water to large portions of the world is
becoming a serious global problem,” Ajita G. Rajendra, Chairman and
Chief Executive Officer of A. O. Smith Corporation, commented. “With
this need come opportunities for manufacturers to address the issue
with new products and innovative fresh water technologies. We hope
to do our part to ensure that U.S. manufacturing can play a role in
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“As the Council on
Competitiveness explores the tremendous potential to the
U.S. economy of the convergence of low cost abundant energy
with a manufacturing renaissance, analyses like those being
led by Marquette University and A. O. Smith are critical to
our understanding of the potential opportunities being
created and the policy implications that can either
turbo-charge growth or stand in its way,” said Council on
Competitiveness President and Chief Executive Officer
Ensuring U.S. competitiveness
Lovell and Rajendra will lead the water and manufacturing
team to conduct an analysis that focuses on four pillars:
infrastructure, talent, new technology and investment.
Water is integral to manufacturing operations as a raw
material, a process component, or both. To gain a
competitive advantage companies must strategically manage
water across the supply chain. The EMCP study will uncover
opportunities for developing a more efficient and productive
use of water in the manufacturing sector, evaluate water use
and re-use and identify water use-related risks. Policy
strategies and best practices are to be included as well as
an assessment of current and new technologies, potentially
including; advanced sensors for metering and monitoring, new
and novel materials, Internet of Things and new methods and
technology for waste water treatment, re-use, and
In addition to their specific focus on water and
manufacturing, Lovell and Rajendra also will serve on the
national EMCP steering committee. EMCP combines leaders from
the private sector, academia, labor and national
laboratories and includes representation from the top
leaders at Whirlpool Corporation, Deere & Company, Siemens
Corporation, Exelon Corporation, the University of Texas at
Austin and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, among
Carmel Ruffolo, Marquette’s Associate Vice President for
Research and Innovation, and Robert J. Heideman, Senior Vice
President-Chief Technology Officer at A. O. Smith, will
serve on the EMCP national advisory committee.
As members of the Council on Competitiveness, Lovell and
Ruffolo traveled to Washington, D.C., in September to take
part in the American Energy and Manufacturing
Competitiveness Summit. The meeting included a broad
coalition of national leaders who met to deepen
understanding of the complexities of the energy and
manufacturing industries and develop strategies to bolster
the nation’s economy. Lovell was able to meet with leaders
from academia, private industry and government, and have
conversations with U.S. Assistant Secretary for Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy David T. Danielson and
Council on Competitiveness President Wince-Smith.
Despite facing serious challenges over the past several
decades, America’s manufacturing sector remains the nation’s
primary driver of research and development, according to the
U.S. Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Partnership.
The sector also continues to be the largest employer of
science and engineering graduates in the country, and a
central catalyst for technology innovation throughout the
economy. With questions about the adequacy of water supplies
in this country driving a search for technological
solutions, water issues loom as both a challenge and
opportunity for the U.S. economy.
Marquette’s role as a leader in solving water challenges
Over the past several years, Marquette University has
emerged as a leader in developing solutions for the nation’s
most complex water issues. A few key areas include:
Research projects exploring the use and re-use of water;
wastewater treatment; improved detection of water-borne
contaminants; and new treatment and monitoring systems to
remove consumer product chemicals from wastewater before
they are released into Lake Michigan.
Development of water technologies, including one for an
efficient water-flow metering technology developed by a
Marquette professor and licensed for development to Badger
New space on the sixth floor of the Global Water Center —
custom-designed for faculty, staff and students to partner
with leading water technology companies and government
entities, such as the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage
A.O. Smith’s role as a leader as a global water technology
In addition to being North America’s leading manufacturer of
residential and commercial water heaters and boilers, A. O.
Smith is a growing leader in the water treatment industry in
China, India, and other parts of the world. Its engineers in
China and the U.S. have developed a patented technology that
significantly increases the amount of fresh water delivered
by reverse osmosis water purification equipment while
prolonging membrane life. Products employing this technology
are currently marketed in China, India, and Vietnam.
The company has been a leader in introducing
energy-efficient technologies for residential and commercial
water heating products for more than 35 years and today
offers the most extensive line of high-efficiency water
heaters (including those using renewable technology) on the
market. The company continues to invest in its engineering
resources, most notably at its Corporate Technology Center
in Milwaukee, Wis., with special emphasis on water
purification and sensor technologies.
A.O. Smith was one of the founders of the Milwaukee Water
Council, a one-of-a-kind collaboration between business,
government, and education to raise the awareness of the need
for fresh water and support companies that are developing
new technologies in the areas of fresh water science.
About the Council on Competitiveness
The Council on Competitiveness is the only group of
corporate CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders and
directors of national laboratories committed to the future
prosperity of all Americans and enhanced U.S.
competitiveness in the global economy through the creation
of high-value economic activity in the United States. The
Council is a non-partisan and non-governmental organization.
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