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Real Learning With America's Tax Dollars

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.965.1 - 8.965.6



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Paper Authors

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Kristoffer Findley

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Mary Emplaincourt

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Real Learning with America’s Tax Dollars Kristoffer S. Findley and Mary C. Emplaincourt Mississippi State University


The Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) at Mississippi State University (MSU) is currently one of 26 Department of Energy (DOE) funded centers providing no-cost energy assessments to small- and medium-sized manufacturers. The work performed by the MSU IAC is done through the efforts of undergraduate and graduate mechanical engineering students throughout the state of Mississippi and surrounding areas. While the students are providing opportunities for savings in industry, they are also gaining valuable knowledge and experience. The benefits, academic and professional, available to students participating in the Industrial Assessment Center program at Mississippi State University are discussed.


The centers are managed for DOE by a field organization located at Rutgers University. The organizational structure is different for each center, but the client eligibility and the assessment process are common to all the centers. A facility (client) categorized in the Standard Industrial Classification Codes 20-39 (Manufacturing) qualifies for an assessment. The facility must have gross sales below $100 million, fewer than 500 employees, annual utility bills more than $100,000 and less than $2 million, and have no in-house professional staff to perform an assessment. The assessment process begins by requesting from the facility their most recent utility billings (January – December). Then a site visit to perform the assessment is scheduled and made. The assessment report for each site visit must be completed and mailed to the facility and to the field management office within 60 days of the visit in the facility. Within six months of the assessment, the IAC contacts the management of the facility to determine which of the recommended measures have been implemented.

The Industrial Assessment Center at Mississippi State University began operations in 1994. The organizational structure of the MSU IAC consists of a mechanical engineering faculty member who serves as the director, mechanical engineering faculty members who serve as assistant directors, and a staff engineer, who is employed full time by the MSU IAC while taking graduate courses toward a master’s degree (up to two courses per semester) in mechanical engineering. The MSU IAC employees five to seven undergraduate students at a time. Over 40 undergraduate and graduate students have worked for the MSU IAC over a nine-year period. When a client has agreed to have an assessment conducted, the MSU IAC assigns one student, known as the lead student, with the sole responsibility of directing the site visit, and completing and distributing the report. To date, the IAC has performed 224 site visits throughout Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The MSU IAC has identified potential savings since 1994 that can be categorized into three areas: $7.2 million of energy saving recommendations , $3.1 million in waste minimization suggestions , and $8.8 million in productivity improvement ideas.

Findley, K., & Emplaincourt, M. (2003, June), Real Learning With America's Tax Dollars Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11797

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