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Oklahoma State University's New Product Development Center's 2022 summer interns

OSU’s New Product Development Center celebrates 20 years of innovation and design

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Media Contact: Brenna Long | New Product Development Center | 405-744-2856 |

When it comes to product development, it is always good to have an ace up your sleeve. Fortunately, Oklahoma has had that ace for two decades.

This fall, Oklahoma State University’s New Product Development Center is celebrating 20 years of research, product development and engineering services in Oklahoma.

“NPDC started in 2002 as a program committed to strengthening rural economies through job creation focusing on Oklahomans in small, rural communities,” said Dr. Robert Taylor, current NPDC Director.

The NPDC pilot year showed that product development assistance could have a significant positive impact on the State of Oklahoma and began making plans to assist more small to medium-sized manufacturers in the coming years. By focusing on rural communities, NPDC was able to help manufacturers commercialize their innovative ideas through research, development and implementation.

In 2010, an ECAR award was granted to NPDC to assist manufacturers in developing proposals for state and federal funding. It also helped with the introduction of new products and provided process innovation support for small manufacturing companies in Oklahoma.

Jennifer Vinyard, NPDC senior design engineer with NPDC since 2011, led the ECAR program for NPDC.

“ECAR helped Oklahoma manufactures hire more individuals, increase profit margins and capital and keep money in Oklahoma,” Vinyard said. “We looked at each project as a chance to solve problems and create new opportunities for our clients. In a sense, ECAR paved the way for NPDC to transition into what it is today.”

A primary driver for the NPDC success is the support and guidance from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.

“The OCAST effort lead to the development of the Oklahoma Innovation Model linking OCAST, NPDC, I2E, Tom Love Innovation Hub and Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance as an innovation team for the state,” Taylor said. “Significantly increasing the effectiveness of all members.”

Today, the program has grown into a self-sustaining unit through various grant awards, industry funding companies, the Inventors Assistance Service program and an assortment of work with small to medium-sized manufacturers around the state.

“Every project, every grant or every new idea that is discussed in our building has the opportunity to create more jobs for Oklahomans, streamline processes to save money and overall an investment in our state,” said Jodi Prouty, NPDC assistant director. “We want these companies to be competitive and know they can do that through innovation.”

NPDC has been awarded numerous large grants, honors and other accolades since its inception. It has worked on projects with companies such as Roll Offs USA, GEFCO Inc., GoBob Pipe and Steel Sales, Texoma Manufacturing and Ram Jack Oklahoma.

In the years after its inception, NPDC expanded its capabilities and reach by adding engineering and marketing interns, which seemingly changed the way NPDC operated. The students brought a new level of expertise and many new ideas to the table for the companies and NPDC staff and have continued to do so for the last 20 years.

Former intern Mac Ramsey said working with real clients and real projects was an eye-opening and valuable experience.

“My time at the NPDC gave me the opportunity to gain real experience working with clients and projects as well as forming long-lasting relationships with co-workers,” Ramsey said. “The memories and experience I have from the NPDC will stay with me for a lifetime.”

The NPDC team is excited about the future impacts of the work they are doing right now with interns, clients and inventors and knows that the next 20 years will be just as valuable to the state.

“Simply put, our goal is to provide engineering support to small companies and inventors to encourage economic development in all 77 Oklahoma counties,” Taylor said.

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