October 1, 2007 Rotogram

SCHOOL BOND REFERENDUM

The importance of the Starkville School District School Bond Issue to the children and to the community is today’s topic. Passage requires a 60% YES vote in the October 8 referendum. Roy Pollard and Ann Carr, bond issue co-chairs, are our speakers.

NEXT MONDAY – STEAK AND BINGO  

Next Monday is our Fall Social. There will NOT be a meeting at noon. Be sure to make your reservation (s) and let the chefs know if you want grilled chicken instead of steak. After dinner, we’ll test our luck at Bingo. The evening event at the Country Club will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7:00. If you don’t want to drive at night and would like a fellow Rotarian to play chauffeur, contact Committee Chair Bobby Crosland or President Ned Browning .

PROGRAM NOTE FOR OCTOBER 15

Our next meeting (Monday, Oct. 15), will focus on CREATE’s drop-out program. Guest speaker will be Lewis Whitfield., senior vice president of the CREATE Foundation.

LAST WEEK AT ROTARY

Invocation and Pledge : Bill Foster.

Attendance : There were 124 members (91 actives, 32 exempt, 1 honorary) present. Missing were 45 active, 22 exempt, and 9 honorary members. Membership now totals 200.

Visitors and Guests : Visiting Rotarian (Coal Creek, CO) and former Starkville member George McKee was a guest of his Dad Chester McKee. Other member guests were Joe Jordan of Chip Templeton; Perry Pugh of Grant Arinder, and Robbie Ward of Maridith Geuder. Club guests were RYE Students Maryna Melnik and Negrita Caicedo; Paul Sims (Starkville Daily News); and Skip Descant (Columbus Dispatch).

Makeups : Allan Tucker in Escondido, CA (Sep. 12); Gary D. Jackson in Ackerman (Sep. 12); and Mike Hainsey in Columbus (Sep. 18).

Rotary Minute : Mark Guyton gave a “model” Rotary minute, showing how the Boy Scout Oath parallels Rotary’s 4-Way Test and how the emphasis of both organizations is Service. “Rotary,” Mark pointed out, “is training future Rotarians!”

Roy Ruby came up with his usual gem that had “absolutely nothing to do about Rotary.”

ARMORED VEHICLES PROTECT OUR TROOPS

Heavily armored vehicles, assembled and shipped from neighboring West Point, are protecting our troops from the deadly improvised explosive devices (IED’s) planted by insurgents and Al Queda operatives along roads and highways in Iraq.

That in itself is a tale worth telling. But even more amazing is the story behind the incredibly rapid development of this critical Golden Triangle industry. That story was shared with Rotarians last week by two MSU engineers who have been key players in the operation from the very beginning.

Clay Walden is an MSU engineering graduate who has returned from industry to head the CAVS Extension facility located adjacent to the Nissan plant in Canton. Glenn Dennis is the CAVS field project engineer embedded in the West Point industry and overseeing plant development and the vehicle production line.

Walden briefly explained the outreach role of Bagley College of Engineering Extension Service is to facilitate knowledge transfer and assist in professional development of the engineering work force. Other MSU disciplines are also involved.

Dennis then took over to give Rotarians the background of the birth and rapid growth of International Military and Government LLC (IMG). The story began in January 2006, when KBR Tractor was awarded a government contract to build armored cabs for tractors (semis) hauling supplies in Iraq. Operating out of a renovated portion of the Babcock and Wilcox facility, by April the firm (then Griffin Industries), had a full line of cabs mounted on International chassis manufactured in Garland, TX. by April and delivered 558 cabs in 6 months. This resulted in $20 million direct benefit to the state’s economy.

Dennis shared an email from Iraq telling the firm that because of the armored cabs, 30 drivers would see Christmas 2006. “That really made us feel proud.”

With the contract fulfilled, there was a noticeable lull, “but IMG didn’t give up on the facility or the community,” Dennis said. Among proposals investigated were with firms in South Africa and Israel. CAVS engineers spent 2 weeks on a Kibbutz in Israel working on manufacturing plans for a military vehicle known as MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected).

The corporate partner is International Truck and Engine, this nation’s leading producer of medium heavy truck tractors (Fortune 200 company manufactured 158,000 vehicles in 2006).

Nine contracts were awarded between January and April this year. The Maxx Prototype developed at West Point was rated best after grueling tests by the U.S. Marine corps. Dennis said they set off a dynamite charge under the vehicle that blew the 34,000-pound armored proto-type 8 feet in the air and slammed it down some distance away with minimal damage.

The MRAP has a V-shaped hull, armored glass windshield, and offers 360-degree protection. It carries two drivers and up to six passengers. It has a power-assisted rear door and ramp.

IMG was awarded a $623 million contract on May 31 to produce 1,200 MRAP vehicles. Only 2 weeks later, the firm was awarded a $413 million contract for 755 MRAP’s. The contracts call for delivery of all of the nearly 2,000 vehicles by February 2008.

“The Pentagon plans to phase out Humvees in Iraq and replace them with MRAPs. They expect to see at least an 80% reduction in casualties, Dennis explained.

Plasan, the firm in Israel, supplies the armor kits, chassis come from Garland, and the vehicles are assembled in the West Point plant using a unique “bond and bolt” design. Finished vehicles undergo rigorous testing then go to South Carolina for shipment to Iraq.

CAVS engineers used virtual design techniques to develop plans for the facilities and equipment needed to fulfill the contract. Dennis said there are 84 work processes, 26 work stations, and a 70-minute cycle time. Production began while construction and site development were underway.

CAVS simulation models showed that three chassis paint booths and four loading docks would be needed and 12 contractors are currently working to expand the facility at the same time the assembly lines are operating.

There are 400 employees keeping the plant working 24 24 hours a day. Seventy-seven vehicles were finished and delivered in August. Dennis said military personnel and congressional staff members who have heard about the MRAP are frequent visitors.

“We are extremely proud that Mississippi State is helping build safer vehicles for our troops,” Dennis concluded before answering a number of questions.

Why did you go to Israel for the kits? “Plasan is the world’s leader in armor technology.”

What is the relationship of CAVS? “It is under contract as consultant.”

What kind of security is there at the plant? “It is very strict, ramped up exponentially from what it was initially.”

What about the future? “It depends on our ability to produce. There is still unallocated money. We are working on MRAP-2 with International Engineering and are now in the bidding process.”

What do the vehicles cost? “Approximately $500,000 for Category I – heavier Category II’s cost more.”

Rotarian Trey Breckenridge, Resources and Operations Administrator for MSU High Performance Computing Collaboratory, introduced the speakers.

Rotarian Stu Vance and his wife, Mike, (Express Personnel Services) have been working almost full-time for the past year to furnish the IMG workforce.

THIS MONTH’S BIRTHDAYS

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to these Rotarians who have birthdays in October: Larry Anthony, Omis Avant, Betty Black, Ned Browning, Mike Cayson, Sheila Freely, Russell Gaines, Doug Goodwin, Maridith Geuder, Dora Herring, Gary Jackson, David Marcum, Chance McDavid, Fred McCrory, Jim Ormon, Tommy Prentice, Kim Richardson, Lloyd Rose, Allan Tucker, Martha Wells, and Bob Whiteside.

Previous post:

Next post: