The Quad Cities Chamber has hired Curt Burnett as the new Technology Innovation Director for the Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub. Burnett, who joins the Chamber after 37 years with Deere & Company, will provide strategic technology direction, project leadership and industry expertise to the Hub. Burnett also served as the Executive Director of the Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub for the past two years as a loaned executive from Deere & Company.

“I’m excited to take all of the industry knowledge and experience from my career in manufacturing technology, and apply it to a program that will help the region’s small and medium sized manufacturers grow, diversify and stay competitive,” says Burnett.

“The Hub is well-positioned to have a transformative impact on this region’s manufacturing sector, and the expertise and vision that Curt brings to the table will make the Hub that much more impactful to our businesses,” says Tara Barney, President and CEO, Quad Cities Chamber. “Curt has a great depth of knowledge, as well as a unique perspective in joining us from a Fortune 100 firm, and we’re thrilled to have him on our team.”

Burnett, who was instrumental in the early planning and implementation of the Hub, is now looking ahead to the next steps– development of a regional technology roadmap and a supply chain diversification strategy.

Last year the University of Illinois was awarded a $5.5 million Department of Defense (DoD) DIA program grant, and the Hub was a sub-awardee of the grant. Development of the technology roadmap, the defense industry diversification study, and the addition of Burnett’s position within the Hub are made possible because of the DIA program grant. 

To develop the technology roadmap, the Hub has interviewed and held workshops with manufacturers throughout the Quad Cities to identify and catalog the capabilities within the region’s defense and non-defense manufacturing sector. The Hub is now in the process of identifying those technologies that will have the greatest potential to impact manufacturers.

“Many companies do this internally, but through the Hub we’re facilitating collaboration so we can go further faster by leveraging investment and training. We can tackle the learning curve more effectively as a region,” says Burnett.

“The defense diversification study will identify where we need to diversify, and the roadmap will show us how we can use technology to get there,” Burnett says.

The Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub is an initiative of the Quad Cities Chamber.

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