The Center Celebrates 30 Years of Helping Michigan Manufacture Smarter (Part 2)


30-years.jpgLast week, in celebration of The Center’s 30th anniversary in business, we shared insights from our President Mike Coast about how both our company and the manufacturing industry have evolved over the past few decades. This week, we’ll hear from Bob Lyscas, Chief Operating Officer, as he discusses his 25-year tenure with The Center.

What changes have you seen within manufacturing since you began working here?
Since I started with the MEP National Network 25 years ago, the manufacturing industry has changed tremendously. At that time, it was all about the Big Three. Now, those larger companies wouldn’t exist without the support of smaller manufacturers.

There also was a different approach to operations – most thought that as long as the machines were humming, there was no need to worry. There was no consideration for diversifying, pivoting to stay competitive or even investing in their people or equipment. They didn’t think to transfer knowledge from skilled labor to new hires. Now with the baby boomers retiring, many companies are up against a wall. They need to fill those gaps in knowledge. Over the past couple of decades we’ve lost more than 4,000 small manufacturers because of these reasons. They couldn’t transition effectively or find the workers they needed so they had no choice but to close.

What changes have you seen within The Center since you began working here?
Over the years, we’ve learned to listen to the market and adjust accordingly. Whether it’s consulting or training, we always work to meet the needs of our clients so we can get them to the next step. We started with Quality, Lean, Costing and Environmental training. Now, our company is full of more diverse talent and skillsets, with some working across departments and disciplines to bring new perspectives and strategies to manufacturers. I believe our staff’s unique blend of skillsets is second to none. It’s very gratifying when you are able to help manufacturers and see results – I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Why do you think it’s important to support Michigan manufacturing?
All my life, Michigan has been known for manufacturing. I would be very upset and disappointed to see them not paired together anymore. Manufacturing and Michigan just go hand in hand – and that’s what The Center is about. Right now, our Governor is looking to make this the manufacturing state of the country through the new Industry 4.0 statewide initiative. If we stay focused, I think it’s highly probable we can attain that goal.

Where do you think The Center will be 30 years from now?
If technology keeps moving forward and changing as it has, the same thing will happen with The Center. We’ll need to continue to upskill to match the changes and advancements of the industry. I believe technology is here to stay.

Where do you think manufacturing will be 30 years from now?
Like I said, I think technology is here to stay. Manufacturers will need to continue adopting technology and upskilling their workforce to stay competitive. They’ll always need to create high quality product, on time, at low volumes and highly customized. 

Why have you enjoyed working at The Center all these years?
I love having the ability to surround myself with the good, talented, smart people we have at our office. I rarely feel as if we are helpless to meet the needs of our clients. And if we do reach an obstacle, we always figure out a path forward. Nothing is impossible.

What does The Center mean to you?
This is my second family. I will miss everyone when I retire soon. But I feel good knowing I’ve left the company in a position to continue on like I’m not even gone. I still have more to do in the months ahead here. When I leave, I want to make sure everyone feels they could stay here until retirement if they wanted to. We’ve all worked hard to build our reputation as “trusted advisors”, and I truly believe that’s how we’re perceived by our customer base now.


mmtc_0426edit.jpgBob Lyscas, Chief Operating Officer
Bob Lyscas is the Chief Operating Officer at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center). He is responsible for overseeing seven direct reports, with departments including manufacturing services, information technology, sales, marketing, human resources, research services and facilities. Bob is dedicated to driving advancements in Michigan manufacturing, leading the effort to assist small to medium-sized manufacturers in applying Industry 4.0 digital manufacturing solutions.



Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: Manufacturing, MEP National Network, The Center