Michael Ulbrich has guided Buffalo Manufacturing Works from its launch through its move this fall into a larger location at the Northland manufacturing complex.
Now Ulbrich is preparing to step down as president of the resource center, which helps the region's manufacturers innovate, expand into new markets and improve productivity. He will remain in his job through the end of the year.
Ulbrich said he hasn't decided what he will do next, but will remain in the Buffalo Niagara region. He felt the time was right for another person to take the helm at Buffalo Manufacturing Works, now that the center's move is complete.
Ulbrich joined Buffalo Manufacturing Works in 2014, when the initiative was still in the planning stages.
"I've been really focused on building an awesome team and an awesome organization and putting Buffalo and Western New York on the map as a manufacturing innovation hub," he said. "I feel like we've really accomplished that."
Buffalo Manufacturing Works opened a $45 million center in 2015 in the former SmartPill manufacturing building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. That location was intended as a temporary home for the center, which was a project of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Buffalo Billion program. Buffalo Manufacturing Works moved into its permanent home at Northland in late September.
"I really feel like we've achieved that stage of our mission as an organization, and I see a really bright future as we continue to grow our team and our impact, both here in Western New York and beyond," Ulbrich said.
Ulbrich said the new location gives Buffalo Manufacturing Works vastly more space to work with companies, and better connects the center with manufacturing resources including Insyte Consulting, the Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance and the Northland Workforce Training Center. SparkCharge, the 2018 43North champion, is leasing space at the complex.
Buffalo Manufacturing Works has 32 employees, who work for EWI, the Ohio-based nonprofit organization that operates the manufacturing center. EWI's president and CEO, Henry Cialone, will serve as interim head of Buffalo Manufacturing Works until a new president is chosen.