U of L Board of Trustees visit FirstBuild Microfactory - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L Board of Trustees visit FirstBuild Microfactory

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- U of L board members have been briefed on the success of FirstBuild, but for many, this was the first time they actually got to visit the microfactory.

Eager to show off their creations, the FirstBuild engineers broke down the nuts and bolts of the inventions made right here. But these weren't just any visitors; they were the U of L Board of Trustees.

"We knew about it and we've been getting reports about it but there's nothing like seeing something: actually walking through and seeing the student involvement," said U of L trustee Marie Abrams.

The microfactory is a place where students and other innovators make their ideas come to life and create a new model for the appliance industry.

The board voted to partner with GE on the project.

"It's grown far beyond what our initial plans were. It has impacted our students tremendously. It's also been very helpful for GE. It has brought our young engineering students into their facility with new ideas," said Neville Pinto, U of L’s interim Provost.

Many of the students spend hours upon hours in the microfactory, hoping to strengthen their skills and prepare for the future.

"It's all up to you, how hard you work. So I feel right at home because I know the rest of my peers are working just as hard to get their degree as I am," said Alisha Davis-Kent, a sophomore in Industrial Engineering at U of L.

The first indoor electric pizza oven was created by First Build engineers.

"And I'm looking forward to a piece of pizza," Abrams eagerly shared.

But the results of FirstBuild go beyond the U of L campus. West End School, a free boarding school in Louisville, Kentucky, for middle school-aged boys, will soon have its own microfactory.

"We're actually going to develop a curriculum for them to teach them about engineering and even get some of our engineering students down there to mentor them," said John Usher, who is the dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

U of L officials hope to expand the facility within the next few years.

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