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City Shaper: Liz Callahan

Callahan leads Shift, part of Buffalo Manufacturing Works

BUFFALO, N.Y. — This year, we are featuring the women who are leading Western New York's resurgence in our City Shapers reports. This week 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik shows us how the leader of a Buffalo Billion II project is introducing companies to new technologies.

Inside Buffalo Manufacturing Works on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, you'll find several rare high-tech machines. The research and innovation firm opened during the first phase of the Buffalo Billion.

Liz Callahan is in charge of Shift, a Buffalo Billion II program focused on helping manufacturers with fewer than five-hundred employees figure out how to use all this new technology.

"How did you get interested in this job?" Dudzik asked.

"So, I learned about Buffalo Manufacturing Works a few years ago and have always been passionate about manufacturing. It is one of the biggest economic drivers for the region," Callahan said.

Shift participants use the machines and network with each other. Shift then provides an innovation audit, where engineers help them come up with a plan. The plan specifically covers new tech coming online in the next five to ten years, and 133 companies have signed up since Shift started a little more than a year ago.

One technology Shift is focusing on is additive manufacturing. Callahan showed us what it's all about.

"These are things that are 3D printed essentially. These help us make designs that cannot be made through traditional machining, so if you see this, this was all printed. This is my favorite piece. It doesn't do anything. Everyone's like is it a part? But, it's just a cool way to show the types of design work that we can do," Callahan said.

Using metals such as titanium and magnesium, companies can use the equipment to test parts without having to invest in a machine of their own.

"This is a wire-fed additive machine, so it builds up piece by piece and essentially prints it out," she says.

There are fewer than five of these machines in the world. Callahan says this is the only one not under a security clearance.

"What's your favorite machine out of all of these?" Dudzik asked.

"So, my favorite machine is probably the RCAM where we were before, because I love the cool little things that it prints, and I think it's a little underrated. The big guys get all the attention, and I think the cool, small stuff that we're doing over there is really interesting," Callahan said.

"How does it make you feel to be part of this and Buffalo's resurgence and all these new technologies?" Dudzik asked.

"Being a Buffalo native, and a Buffalo Public School graduate, it's really exciting for me to see Buffalo sort of taking on all of these new opportunities and becoming a place where we have some of the best technologies and rare technologies,” Callahan said.

"I've been very lucky throughout my career to meet some great mentors and have opportunities to explore things that I'm passionate about like economic development, the manufacturing industry, and learn about how all of these things tie together to grow the economy."

Next up for Buffalo Manufacturing Works is a move to the Northland Corridor Campus to co-locate with the Northland Workforce Training Center. The move is expected to be complete sometime this fall.

If you'd like to nominate a Western New York woman to be a City Shaper this year, just send Kelly an email.


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