University of Northern Iowa



Joined Forces!

Since our merger two years ago, the Center for Business Growth & Innovation (CBGI) and ADVANCE IOWA have been able to continue to provide targeted solutions within and beyond Iowa's borders!

Our TEAM is leading small and mid-sized enterprises successfully through transitions, shifting mindsets towards INNOVATION and GROWTH !  We understand that each business is unique and has different needs and challenges. By engaging business leadership, we assist with strategic planning, skill development, and implementation, to improve company operations.Through the facilitation of proven systems, our team assesses internal business operations and external environments resulting in the development of goals and actionable plans to ensure future sustainability and success. 

We are the trusted advisors leading businesses successfully through transitions, shifting mindsets towards GROWTH & INNOVATION, get in touch


Challenges & Opportunities Ahead

Digitization, rising production costs, worker shortages, and supply chain issues are common manufacturing concerns. The foundry and the metal casting industries are no exception to this list of issues. Foundries across the nation are under constant pressure to improve their processes and overcome these challenges. Utilizing and incorporating new technologies and automation can move foundry work into a more profitable and sustainable future!

The obvious solution to the never-ending issues is to incorporate Industry 4.0 technologies into foundries everywhere.

Industry 4.0 Shaping the Future of an Industry!

Industry 4.0, Shaping the Future of an Industry!

The Partnership Shaping the Future

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), acknowledge the situation and recognize the challenges and obstacles. By joining forces with two universities, the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and Youngstown State University (YSU), foundries will be able to increase the adoption of Industry 4.0. Our measures determine how an intelligent factory fits into core operations, finance, sales, and marketing by utilizing research, commercialization, and new workforce training solutions. We aim to provide nationwide foundries with a competitive lead in technology while optimizing productivity, output, and product quality, catapulting American-based foundries forward.

These technological innovations create opportunities that help build a dynamic digital ecosystem. Several notable advantages are cost reduction, shortened deadlines, and deploy excellence in quality and customer satisfaction for generations to come. 

TAKINGfoundries TO THE next level!

UNI BCS – Revolutionizing Metal Casting

Two key institutions at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) under the Business & Community Services (BCS) umbrella play a significant role in the Industry 4.0 Foundry Partnership. The Center for Business Growth & Innovation (CBGI) and the Metal Casting and the Foundry 4.0 Centers. Together, they give foundries the competitive lead needed to push technology, productivity, and quality forward.

UNI Foundry 4.0 & the UNI Metal Casting Centers
The UNI MCC located on campus is a nationally recognized leader in foundry research, applied technology, and technical business assistance. For more than 30 years, the MCC has changed the metal casting industry by linking university-grade analysis, resources, and students to businesses and foundries in the private sector.

Center for Business Growth & Innovation (CBGI)
CBGI works to increase successful and sustainable adoptions of Industry 4.0, connecting foundries across the country to the most innovative practices. The experts strive to research, analyze and develop strategies for commercialization and to create successful training solutions that impact a business and its workforce.

Fitting Industry 4.0 factory elements into core business operations, such as finance, sales, and supply chains, will be essential to achieving measurable growth. Both UNI Centers enable foundries to optimize manufacturing processes while incorporating Industry 4.0 technologies. These improvements contribute to the sustainability and resiliency of the casting industrial supply chain by:

    • Improving worker safety with the automation of repetitive and potentially dangerous tasks
    • Providing advanced technology to expand production capabilities
    • Providing timely process information through IoT
    • Decreasing the time required to produce cast parts
    • Increasing speed and efficiency of casting production  
Brian Schmidt

Youngstown State University

Youngstown State University has a long history of assisting companies within the foundry industry and its supply chain to modernize and improve their operations.  


YSU Excellence Training Center (ETC)

The Excellence Training Center at YSU provides advanced manufacturing education, workforce training, and research that utilizes state-of-the-art equipment including an operational foundry and robotics to accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies. Offered are unique in-demand workforce programs, a research center for advanced manufacturing along with assistance incorporating innovation into the workplace. 

Students, including foundry owners and their employees, receive advanced instruction in CNC machining, industrial maintenance, robotics, automation, and additive manufacturing.


The YSU Division of Workforce Education and Innovation Center brings together the strategic and operational alignment of the YSU Excellence Training Center, the online Skills Accelerator with its strategic workforce programs.  Together their mission is to bridge the skills and opportunity gap by creating alternative learning pathways and preparing the current and future workforce for rapidly evolving skills and industries.


Logos + This project is sponsored by the Defense Logistics Agency Information Operations, J68, Research & Development, Ft. Belvoir, VA, and the DLA Troop Support, Philadelphia, PA.


Eventbrite HeaderImage CHICAGO Engage and Discover Workshop

Engage & Explore Industry 4.0 with fellow foundry leaders and/or supply chain partners!

We are launching a series of targeted in-person or virtual workshops, that enable innovation, growth, and improvement in the Foundry/Casting/Machining Industry and its supply chain partners.

Utilizing the industry knowledge experience from the group, we will uncover the challenges, obstacles, and approaches associated with the implementation of Industry 4.0 that are pivotal to maintaining a resilient and profitable company.

Join fellow faundrymen, metal casters, and regional experts for an engaging conversation and exchange. Opportunities to tour local foundries are planned.



The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), have joined forces with the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and Youngstown State University (YSU). Download our flyer for more information!


UNI BCS – Revolutionizing Metal Casting in Iowa

· UNI Foundry 4.0 & Metal Casting Center

· Center for Business Growth & Innovation



This workshop is open to foundry leaders and supply chain partners nationwide at no charge. Come prepared with any insights, concerns, and questions you have about implementing Industry 4.0.

Together we will discuss different measures and determine how an intelligent factory fits into core operations, finance, sales, and marketing by utilizing research, commercialization, and new workforce training solutions.

We seek to unite our efforts to recognize the challenges and obstacles and identify possible opportunities. Joint efforts will allow us to simplify processes, enabling the successful implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Together, let's capture insights from a variety of casting houses. New dates will be posted soon.
Look for a location near you!

Engage & Explore


Unhosted Meet & Greet

Location: TBA

Workshop & Tour


Location: TBA


Tour: TBA

Workshop: TBA

Location: TBA


Hope to see you there! 

Registration is always required and seats are limited.


Limited Time?

Sign up for Virtual Attendance!

Email Janell Crow at for more information!


For details and information about his project, download our flyer!

The current ADVANCE IOWA site is where you can find out all about CBGI as a company, who we are, what we do, as well as the news & insights.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help businesses grow!


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