Consistent with the university's strong focus on engagement, the Kimmel School reaches out to individuals and companies to provide technical support and business consultation that will lead to product commercialization and economic growth for the state, region and Southeast. Through the Rapid Center, our faculty, staff and students are actively involved in both economic transformation and engaged, project-based learning.
The Rapid Center is partially funded by the Economic Development Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and is a partner of WCU's EDA University Center. As such, the Rapid Center acts as a bridge between academia and business - an interface to initiate and manage engagement opportunities between regional interests and faculty, staff and students.
The Kimmel School's focus on external engagement began informally in the fall of 2001 and was formalized with the creation of the Rapid Center in 2004. One of the foundational principles for the Kimmel School was prompted by the questions, “What are we doing to keep jobs in Western North Carolina, or how can we create new economic opportunities that did not exist before or improve the quality of life for people in the region?”
What sets us apart from other construction management, engineering and technology colleagues across the country is the type and amount of industry experience of our faculty – a rarity in academia. The experience and knowledge of our faculty and staff is coupled with the university's significant investment in software, equipment and facilities that meet or exceed industry standards for the development of products from initial concept to manufacturing or structure.
The mission of the Rapid Center is to match the Kimmel School’s expertise and resources to Western North Carolina’s needs by forming effective partnerships to grow the region’s economy, by assisting in generating value-creating jobs and by improving the quality of life for its people.
The vision for the Rapid Center is to be known and respected throughout the region as an innovative, can-do partner and as the primary resource for technical assistance and technology transfer for government, business and industry officials with local economic growth and job creation responsibilities.
If you want to know more about the work of the Rapid Center with business partners
and project sponsors, please contact us at (828) 227-2560 or email Patrick Gardner.
Visit the School
We invite you contact the Rapid Center or visit the Kimmel School to talk with faculty members and tour the technical facilities.