Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Mines Strengthens Business Ties with Addition of Office of Industry Engagement

The creation of the Office of Industry Engagement on the South Dakota Mines campus will strengthen existing industry relationships and foster new collaborations between Mines and industry. 

RAPID CITY, SD  (Oct. 22, 2020) —South Dakota Mines has established the Office of Industry Engagement (OIE) in an effort to bolster existing partnerships and foster new relationships between industry and the university.


Joseph Wright, associate vice president for research and economic development at Mines, directs the new office and serves as the point of contact for industry representatives. OIE is comprised of eight representatives from university departments and offices as well as representatives from the Center for Alumni Relations and Advancement and Elevate Rapid City, a public-private organization focused on economic development.


“South Dakota Mines has a long history of successful industrial collaboration. The OIE has been formed to help coordinate and streamline our efforts so that industry partners can leverage all the resources South Dakota Mines has to assist them in growing their businesses,” Wright says. 


The office connects industry needs and challenges with opportunities and resources available at South Dakota Mines. The goal is to build relationships and create projects that benefit both the university and private industry. 


OIE’s model to engage industry partners has a proven track record. Since 1995, universities in the United States have formed nearly 11,000 startup companies. In 2015 alone, 879 new products based on university innovations were introduced to the market, according to the Association of University Technology Managers. Such partnerships can also help industry fulfill staff training needs.  


“Various departments at South Dakota Mines currently have productive relationships with industry leaders, including the Mining Department which partners with Caterpillar to provide continuing education to their employees. The funds generated from this partnership provide scholarships to students,” says Dr. Jim Rankin, South Dakota Mines president. “But there are countless more opportunities, from sponsoring research to recruiting students on campus. This new office serves as the conduit for making these opportunities happen.”


For universities, industry partnerships can provide more than funding. In many cases they open the door for research projects to be tested outside the lab. This allows researchers to get real-word industry feedback. OIE will also identify areas for growth in such categories as campus recruiting, student and faculty engagement, and curriculum and workforce development.


One critical piece of OIE’s approach will be an online customer relationship management database. The database will identify potential partnerships, determine potential research collaboration opportunities, and ensure that industry and university personnel are knowledgeable about workforce development needs and options.   


“We are very excited to see where this new office takes us,” says Rankin. “We see a real future in these critical partnerships.”


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,418 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $68,685. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram and Snapchat.

Contact: Lynn Taylor Rick, (605) 394-2554, Lynn.TaylorRick@sdsmt.edu

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