The project to establish the ATMC was born out of a tragedy. On January 12, 1987, a catastrophic fire hit the Kerr Mill complex on Martine Street, reducing the historic building to rubble. It was an economic disaster for 946 workers employed in various manufacturing and retail enterprises located on the complex on the north shore of South Watuppa Pond.
Three major buildings were destroyed, including No. 1, built in 1890 for the Kerr Thread Co.; No. 2, built in 1897 when the American Thread Co. acquired the complex; and No. 3, added by that company in 1907.
Almost immediately, city leaders began looking for ways to redevelop the site, and eventually went into an agreement with Umass Dartmouth to build a research and development center there.
The $14 million ATMC was financed and built by the Massachusetts Development agency, the state’s top economic development authority. President Michael Hogan acknowledged when building the ATMC that a lot of dreams and hopes are riding on the facility, which is operated by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a center for research and development on new and emerging technologies.
“This is in fact a very exciting day for southeastern Massachusetts, and for those of us in state government who want to boost development”, Hogan said. “This was not an easy site to work on, and was 14 years in the making. There were many false starts.”
On November 14, 2001, Acting Gov. Jane Swift was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Center, noting that the 60,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will spur economic development and create 120 new jobs in the region.
“Let’s not forget that the soil beneath our feet is mixed with the sweat and blood of the people who worked here and drove our economy”, Mayor Edward Lambert said.
October 23, 2015 The Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center (ATMC) become the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and is expanding its outreach to southeastern Massachusetts entrepreneurs, including the faculty and students at UMass Dartmouth. While the ATMC was focused on bringing startups into the incubator, the CIE will continue to incubate on-site startups but also serve as a virtual incubator, providing services to startups throughout the region.
In November 2015 UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) hosted the campus’s second Startup Weekend which was attended by over 60 students from a number of colleges.
The winner of this Startup Weekend was Smart Case, a team consisting of students from the UMass Dartmouth College of Engineering and the Charlton College of Business. Smart Case is a case that provides security features, health monitoring and backup battery power for smartphones. They were able to build a prototype of the product using the CIE’s 3D Printer.
Smart Case has won, in the Innovators Category, the Global Startup Battle ’15. After winning UMass Dartmouth’s Startup Weekend event, they competed with teams from over 230 Startup Weekends from 60 countries and were one of only 15 teams in the finals. In winning the Global Startup Battle Innovators award, they received a trip to Amsterdam with a $13,000 travel stipend, and software to help build their business.