Ulven Companies Reap MECOP Benefits

The Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program (MECOP), a cooperative effort among Oregon State University, Oregon Tech, and Portland State University, is available to students in disciplines related to the engineering field. The program was conceived in 1978 to close the growing gap between what was being taught in the classrooms and the level of skill and expertise needed for actual application in the workplace. The program has now grown to include nearly 100 companies and more than 400 students.

One firm, the Ulven Companies, hired intern Jordan Reed last year, after he completed a semester in the MECOP Program. Reed began working full-time last year for Ulven, where he led an energy study to quantify energy use and identify cost-saving opportunities. While working on this project, it became apparent that a redesign of the natural gas system could significantly cut costs for the company.

The study resulted in a proposal advising a consolidation of multiple gas meters (previously spread across the Ulven campus) to a single meter, which would ultimately result in a $25,000 annual savings. Of this change, Reed said, “This project has been a shining example of how adding resources in key departments and taking a fresh look at old problems can result in very positive changes. This project has been beneficial to both NW Natural and Ulven because it simplified the natural gas system on our campus, reduced the amount of equipment that must be maintained, and resulted in our gas meter being located in a safer place.”

As a MECOP intern-turned-employee, Reed has been an immediate asset to Ulven as thecompany drives lean methodologies, optimizes manufacturing processes, and implements other physical plant improvements.

Continuing to be active within the MECOP program, The Ulven Companies recently bid farewell to its second MECOP intern as he returned to school. This year, Joel Duhn, a senior in Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University, worked as an Engineering Intern at Ulven Forging, Inc. Duhn had a significant positive impact on work-cell layout and facilities planning during his time at Ulven. Looking forward, Ulven plans to stay involved with MECOP and has an eye toward increasing the number of interns employed in coming years.

The Ulven Companies have been in the forging industry for over 40 years—starting with the creation of Ulven Forging, Inc., in 1971. The Ulven Companies now comprise a group of four different American companies that are privately held. Each company has its unique set of process capabilities in different areas of the industry and is known for bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to its customers with reliability and integrity.

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