If there’s an example of how manufacturing and construction can blend, look no further than Pantheon Innovative Builders. The company’s plan for 3D printed housing could revolutionize the industry.
Pantheon Innovative Builders is new to the area and making big moves to change housing options in the Mahoning Valley and across the country. The concepts are there, and the company is getting close to turning their hopes into reality.
“We need to design a pathway to meet workers where they are. We’ve done some work in Columbus and New Mexico. We’re begging to do something here, but we have to close that gap,” said Ryan Kelly, owner, Pantheon Innovative Builders.
Kelly points out that with the U.S. housing crisis, it’s never been more important to build affordable, secure living spaces.
“In Ohio alone, we’d need 15,000 housing units built every year for the next 10 years in order to keep up,” he said.
Bridging the gap through MVMC
Kelly believes construction can benefit from taking a manufacturing approach. Most recently, he noted the supply chain battle, which affects efficiency across the board. His effort to bridge the gap between the two industries was a direct push to join MVMC.
“Partnership is important. We’re better together, and that’s our philosophy. We want to work and show our added value. We know manufacturing is growing, so we want to learn what we can,” Kelly said.
Prior to becoming a member, he heard about MVMC regularly through various community connections, news articles and social media.
“I love the work MVMC does and the way the organization approaches workforce issues. It’s not just about throwing money at something. There’s an understanding of what’s happening out there, and things are getting done,” Kelly said.
Partnerships make things happen
If any business understands how partnerships help get things done, it’s Pantheon. The company wouldn’t be where it is today without them.
Pantheon is partners with the Ohio State University Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) and COBOD – the world leader in 3D construction printing. Pantheon had the printer delivered to CDME in January 2023. This allows for research and testing of the technology.
“Organizations like CDME and COBOD continue to have impact on the additive manufacturing/3D printing industry worldwide. This helps us create a model to reimagine, retrain and recruit the future workforce,” Kelly said.
He says despite some challenges, 3D printed construction also has advantages like time efficiency, safety and less impact on the environment.
Kelly also believes in the partnership with America Makes to advance research and development of 3D printed home construction.
“America Makes deals with billions of dollars in federal funding. It’s going to bring manufacturing back here, and not enough people know about it. We have what’s needed to come back as an area built on manufacturing. We just need to utilize these things,” he said.
Evolving the next generation
Reaching young people is another priority for Pantheon. The company’s partner, non-profit organization, Evolve Innovation Center, is led by Bryant Youngblood, the chief workforce and education officer. He’s been in education for years before working for Pantheon and Evolve.
Part of Evolve’s mission is conducting workshops and training students with 3D printing curriculum. The YMCA in downtown Youngstown is one of the places that benefits from this program. Groups of students took part in an 11-week course over the summer.
Youngblood wants to reach as many kids as possible – especially inner-city youth that might not otherwise have the opportunity.
There are also more advanced programs available. High school students can even go on to earn credentials recognized by the Ohio Department of Education through Evolve.
“Many of these kids have the capabilities but don’t always have the best support system,” Kelly said. CAD is the future. It’s almost like the typing class of the past. No matter what field you go into, technology is going to be the future.”
The summer classes at the YMCA were packed, and the hope is to continue the program and expand the number of sessions.
“We’re trying to change the script for some kids that will likely have a tougher time than others getting into the industry. Even if they don’t go into construction, it feeds a greater scope because they can go do other things with their skills,” Kelly added.
The end goal is to expose kids to all opportunities which will help develop the future workforce.
Hopes for local 3D housing
As for Pantheon’s goals, the company has a “first order of business” for 3D housing plans in the area.
“We want to build mission-based, homeless housing, places for pregnant mothers and long-term homeownership. The interest is there, we just need to generate funding and partners to make it happen,” Kelly said.
Youngblood says the interest outside the Mahoning Valley is a little more inviting, but he remains hopeful more people will come around to accept the idea.
“We feel that being part of MVMC, we can introduce people to this and expedite our effort.”