Executive Director | Nate Ames

Meet Nate Ames

Ames Family

Nate Ames is the executive director of The Ohio State University's Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME). The center's nationally leading approach to manufacturing workforce development is executed in its 47,000 square-foot advanced manufacturing facility on Ohio State's West Campus.

Led by Ames, CDME facilitates innovative experiential education programs on a wide breadth of advanced manufacturing technologies. The unique aspects of the centers model are underpinned by Ames’ belief that the experience is not real unless the work is real. He routinely reminds the students, researchers and customers that you “can’t fake real.”

Leveraging this simple idea, CDME’s team competitively bids on technology translation projects for industry, state and federal customers, in which the students are mentored in a professional apprenticeship program while they execute the bulk of the work for the customer. At the end of which, the students can connect their academic learnings with real applications. More importantly, they build strong first-hand relationship with the center’s customers, so when they graduate it is more like they have been promoted than hired fresh out of school

Ames joined the CDME team in December 2014 after spending two decades in various industry positions focused on designing and implementing engineering solutions for commercial markets.

He previously served as the co-founder and director of engineering at Apeks Supercritical, a leading manufacturer of CO2 processing equipment. Ames started Apeks Supercritical in graduate school and helped grow the business to a national manufacturer.

Ames also served as the founder and director of the Department of Energy's Nuclear Fabrication Consortium (NFC) while working at Edison Welding Institute.  Prior to his 11 years at EWI, Ames was a research engineer at Swagelok Company supporting the oil and gas industry. Nate also acted as the new technology chairman for the DOE-NE's committee on the future of nuclear energy and was a board member for the INGAA Foundation and ALMMII LIFT.

At Ohio State, Ames strives to use his industry experience to make a positive contribution to the future workforce.

"CDME uses industry-funded product development projects as a vehicle to provide undergraduate student employees with hands-on, mentor-based experience integrating new technology into market-ready applications. In this model, our partners can leverage all the university's technical assets to drive new technology into their products while simultaneously enhancing their brand among a pool of motivated students that are intimately familiar with the partner's business, products, and processes.

"I think this newly evolved model of integrated product and student development is poised to break down all existing paradigms for experience-based education. I believe we are on the cusp of changing the way undergraduate students are prepared to enter the workforce – on a national scale."

Aside from his responsibilities leading CDME, Ames also serves as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves.

A native of Dover, Ohio, Ames holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree in welding engineering from Ohio State. Among his professional accomplishments, Ames has earned seven patents and has over 50 publications including several keynote and convocation speeches. He was also named the Best Young Engineer by Deep Offshore Technology International in 2008.

He and his wife, Stacey, have two daughters, Mackenna and Maci. In his free time, Ames enjoys snow skiing, water skiing, surfing and wakeboarding.


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