Nanotronics CEO: Small, smart factories will revolutionize manufacturing

Nanotronics could have chosen many traditional locations to construct its new high-tech manufacturing center. Instead, it invested $11 million to rejuvenate a portion of the historic 150-year-old Navy Yard sited in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. There, the technology company forged an internship program with Medgar Evers College, and with local high schools, to strengthen the diversity and creativity of its workforce.

“I think that there is a philosophical misunderstanding of what it means to work in science and technology,” Nanotronics CEO and co-founder Matthew Putman tells FORTUNE senior special correspondent Susie Gharib. “It’s incredibly creative, exciting, and does not require the MIT degree. And so we see with—whether it’s interns from [these] places or whether it’s new employees—you see really a huge amount of our applicants are coming from word of mouth that this is as exciting as working at any other place, and you should not be intimidated.”

Nanotronics, which also has a presence in Ohio and California, uses artificial intelligence, robotics, and advanced imagingto reduce waste in manufacturing processes and to create smaller factories where computer scientists, chemists, and physicists can collaborate closely with skilled tradespeople on research and development. Its FORTUNE 500 customers are working on projects in genomics, semiconductors, medicine, and aerospace.

Small, nimble laboratory-factories can have an enormous positive impact by accelerating the time it takes to get a product to market, promoting a cleaner environment, and providing better access to employment in underserved communities, says Putman. “I’ve learned that I don’t have to deal directly with every small issue to make the planet a better place if it’s at the core of who we are as a company.”

Watch the full video for more about Nanotronics’ mission to revolutionize how things are built.

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