Tennessee’s Best Kept Secret

“Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret”-Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Perhaps this was the goal of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in June when he returned from his economic development trip to Asia unwilling to share details with the public.  Soon after his departure, a flurry of news reports and blogs surfaced wanting to know why he would not share the details of his agenda with the public. His spokesman David Smith’s response was, “we don’t talk about private meetings.”  This left many to speculate if he was courting another automotive manufacturer to open up shop in the mid-state and what incentives and tax breaks were being offered to sweeten the deal.

This would not be too far off base considering the automotive industry in Tennessee has been increasing steadily each year and that Volkswagen recently announced further expansion of their production plant in Chattanooga. Even though the industry is growing at record rates there are real weaknesses which must be addressed in order to sustain the growth rate. The Brookings Institute conducted a study in 2013 titled, “DRIVE! Moving Tennessee’s Automotive Sector Up the Value Chain” and uncovered several challenges that that could stunt the growth of this life line to the state’s economy.  One of these three challenges identified in the study is insufficient private research & development (R&D) resources and shortage of collaborative technology development throughout the Tennessee auto supply chain.

It seems, however, there may be another “best kept secret” here in Tennessee and that is VEXTEC Corporation.  VEXTEC, founded in 2000 and operating in Brentwood, TN, is an engineering and design simulation company that specializes in providing predictive tools and computer aided engineering services in the areas of product reliability, risk assessment and durability prediction for manufacturing companies of structural, mechanical and electronic products.  While it could appear they are a secret in their home state, VEXTEC is well known in both federal and commercial engineering communities across the nation receiving over $25 million from the United States Department of Defense since 2000 and recognized in 2009 by Forbes magazine as “America’s Most Promising Company“.  In fact, they even have a history with Detroit and were profiled alongside Ford Motor Company in an issue of WIRED Magazine on the automotive industry titled, “Why Things Fail: From Tires to Helicopter Blades, Everything Breaks Eventually.”

The next article in this four part series will expand on the WIRED article and how VEXTEC is using probabilistic models and simulation technology to improve warranty management, increase design, reliability within limited testing budget constraints   and decrease production downtime for the automotive industry.  In the meantime, if you are curious and would like more information on VEXTEC’s services and their successes in the automotive or other industries, visit vextec.com or contact us more information.

VEXTEC Corporation is a member of the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association (TAMA).

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