Two Army Contracting Command-Redstone Arsenal employees' Feb. 25 visit to the White House was the culmination of more than a year's worth of work.

Tonya Wood, ACC-Redstone Research, Development and Engineering Center director, and Jeffrey Knight, ACC-Redstone contracting and grants officer, accompanied Harry Hallock, deputy assistant secretary of the Army (procurement) to Washington, D.C. to a ceremony where President Barack Obama announced the creation of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute.

The DMDI is a Department of Defense-led partnership with the private sector to boost advanced manufacturing and strengthen U.S. defense capabilities. Wood and Knight worked to develop the contracts needed to establish and execute the $140 million commitment. Due to the dollar value, the five-year cooperative agreement had to be approved by Hallock. Army Contracting Command-Redstone will be responsible for the management and oversight of the agreement to develop a consortium led by University of Illinois labs in Chicago.

"When I learned we could attend the White House ceremony, I knew this would be a great opportunity for Tonya and Jeffrey to really see the fruits of their labor," said Hallock. "I'm always thrilled to spread the news about the great work and wonderful people of the Army contracting enterprise. It was a nice confirmation of support for the contracting community to have the president announce this public-private consortium.

It was an honor to approve this cooperative agreement that cements the Army's commitment to American innovation in science, technology and manufacturing," Hallock said. "With this consortium, the Army is investing in military acquisitions for our future war fighter. This will enable us to evaluate the military utility and technical performance of next generation technologies, reduce the risk of developing new platforms and support the ideas that originate from this exciting group of companies, universities, nonprofits, and research labs. DMDI is definitely a win-win for military leaders, American manufacturing, and the economy."