ThunderBolt - Alumni & Friends Newsletter

October / November 2013

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Bock Center

Engineering a brighter future

The new Jim and Joan Bock Center for Innovation and Biomedical Engineering is the hub for Trine University students, faculty experts, business, industry, innovation, engineering, and career help.

The nearly 25,000-square-foot facility opened in August after less than a year of construction and stands where the former Aero Building was located. Like other buildings on campus, the two-story structure features a brick façade and green metal roof.

The Bock Center, located behind Fawick Hall with a main entrance that faces west, has five major areas: cast metals, plastics, biomedical, Innovation One and the Office of Career Services.

Industries partner with Trine
While the building itself is thanks to lead donors Jim and Joan Bock, a Trine trustee and his wife, two other alumni who are also trustees and their respective companies have partnered with Trine to enhance this new facility.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with area businesses to provide better opportunities for our students,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine president. “It’s a great collaboration that benefits our students and industry while enhancing employment opportunities for our graduates.”

Trustee and alumnus Lynn A. Brooks and Rieke Packaging Systems in Auburn have joined with Trine to provide the plastics laboratory. Rieke, of which Brooks is president and chief executive officer, specializes in plastic injection molding. The plastics lab supplements curriculum for Trine’s new minor in plastics engineering.

Board chairman and 1977 alumnus Rick L. James, chairman and chief executive officer of Metal Technologies, Inc., of Auburn, have teamed with Trine to offer the new cast metals lab.

Both men point to the need for qualified engineers in their respective industries as one reason for joining forces with Trine. The joint ventures will provide engineering students with industry knowledge and bring much-needed skilled engineers to the industry, they said.

Better integration
 “The Bock Center provides better integration with the Allen School of Engineering & Technology and Innovation One,” said VK Sharma, dean of the Allen School. “We can train students and involve students when we provide services, product development and technical services through Innovation One.”

While Innovation One, i1 for short, serves as an incubator for technology and business, the Bock Center provides the laboratories to support students and i1.

“It’s exciting to be in the Bock Center because the new labs make the possibilities nearly endless,” said Tom DeAgostino, i1 director. “Hopefully it sends a clear signal to the region that i1 is poised to build on the success of its first year. With our students and faculty, we’re here to help boost economic development and use innovation to improve lives, too.”

Here’s a look at Bock Center features:

  • Innovation One and Career Services – Together in the Bock Center, they offer business and industry a one-stop location to discuss needs for services with i1 and to find employees, interns and co-ops with help from Career Services. i1 is also available to the regional community as well as business and industry. Robert Clark, an expert-in-residence with Elevate Ventures, also has an office in the Bock Center.
  • Cast metals – Trine’s renowned cast metals program gets even better with an expanded cast metals lab. Lab equipment was moved from Fawick Hall to this much larger space, and new equipment will be added. The expanded laboratory has an observation area on the upper floor that allows visitors to watch from a safe perch as molten metal is poured.
  • Plastics – A new plastics laboratory allows students to explore the different processes of manufacturing plastics and supports Trine’s new minor in plastics engineering.
  • Biomedical – The biomechanics and biomaterials labs have been expanded to support the biomedical engineering program. Students have more space when using the biomechanics lab and a dressing room has been added for the convenience of those whose movements are studied in the lab.
  • Materials testing – This lab with scanning electron microscope and material testing and evaluation systems is situated to serve the needs of those studying cast metals or plastics.
  • Rapid prototyping – A laboratory with two rapid prototyping machines allows design engineering technology students to transform their computer-generated designs into three-dimensional pieces.
  • Ready for change -- Flexible spaces have been included to allow more options for using the Bock Center.

As one can see, the new Bock Center for Innovation and Biomedical Engineering, along with Innovation One and the many new labs, is engineering opportunities for students to gain hands-on, real-world experience and better prepare them for careers.