Graduate students hope to create jobs in South Dakota with their unique engineering expertise

Rapid City, South Dakota - Ten teams from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology are currently participating in a business accelerator program created by the Enterprise Institute and funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The teams are comprised of mix of students, faculty, and entrepreneurs-in-residence. The South Dakota Engineering Accelerator is focused on high-growth business creation and the commercialization of engineering-focused projects from the university system and the general public.

One of the teams that is participating in the accelerator is Endlas, consisting SDSM&T graduate students Joshua Hammell, James Tomich, and Brett Trotter.

Through additive manufacturing and coating technologies of super hard aluminum magnesium boride, AlMgB14-TiB2, (BAM) particles with various metals, metal alloys, ceramics, and nano-phase materials, the team is able to tailor coatings for improved properties such as hardness and lubricity. Endlas will provide laser cladding services, including BAM hardfacing, laser processing equipment design, manufacturing consulting, and engineering services.

“Cumulatively, our team has been conducting industrially funded laser cladding research and development as well as additive manufacturing research for 14 years. We have solved a wide range of laser processing and additive manufacturing challenges and played an integral role in the transition of two major products from the stages of R&D to production. As a result of this experience, we have identified the need for a startup in the Black Hills region that can provide laser cladding, additive manufacturing, and consulting services. One of our primary goals is to maintain close collaboration with South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, while helping to transition technology that stimulates the local economy and creates jobs in South Dakota,” explained the team.  

“We chose to participate in the South Dakota Engineering Accelerator because it was recommended to us by Darren Haar, an Entrepreneur in Residence at SDSM&T. We agreed that that it was a good opportunity to develop skills that will enable us to start and operate a successful business. So far, the most valuable thing we’ve experienced in the program is the encouragement that we are given to pursue our project further.

About the Enterprise Institute:

The Enterprise Institute began in 2001 when a group of business leaders and entrepreneurs decided to help identify and launch high-growth businesses in South Dakota. The mission of the Enterprise Institute is to encourage and assist the establishment of growth enterprises in the state. Since 2006, the nonprofit has organized and currently administers seven member managed angel investment funds in the state of South Dakota. To date, the funds include over 130 individual accredited investors and have raised over $7,500,000 to invest in startup companies in the state and region.

About the Blackstone Charitable Foundation:

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s IPO in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries, and communities.

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