Engaging Industry, Exceeding Expectations

UNH partnership with GreenSource Fabrication exemplifies multifaceted possibilities

By Beth Potier


s UNH deepens its engagement with industry and seeks to meet the state and region’s workforce needs, there’s perhaps no richer partnership than that with New Hampshire-based GreenSource Fabrication, a leader in “green” printed circuit board manufacturing.

Facilities collaboration and co-location? Check. GreenSource has installed its InduBond X-Press at UNH’s John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Workforce development and career opportunities? Check. UNH students gain hands-on experience with this cutting-edge technology through GreenSource Fabrication (GSF) internships at the Olson Center.

Alumni engagement? So many checks. Half of GreenSource’s engineers are Wildcats, including Maria Virga ’21, who oversees the Olson Center internships.

Mission alignment? Big green check. GSF’s closed-loop waste treatment system and other environmentally responsible technologies echo UNH’s sustainability leadership.

What’s more, the GSF-UNH collaboration is meeting a critical manufacturing need, for the state and for the nation.

“The Department of Commerce predicts that the circuit board and semiconductor industry will need 60,000 engineers annually for at least five years. And security concerns, driven by defense and aerospace industries, have increased demand for U.S. manufacturing,” says Jim Brown, GSF strategic account manager, who adds that the CHIPS Act aims to address this.

GreenSource Fabrication engineer Maria Virga ’21 (right) and a male and female intern all look over a diagram on a large sheet of paper
GreenSource Fabrication engineer Maria Virga ’21 (right) oversees internships at UNH’s Olson Center.

GreenSource Fabrication comes by the “green” in its name honestly. Unlike in traditional printed circuit board (PCB) shops, zero hazardous byproducts leave the GSF facility. The plant operates in a closed-loop system and the same volume of water is recycled up to a dozen times each day.

“Our bathrooms use more water than our processes do,” GSF engineer Cassie MacKinnon ’17 quips in a GSF video.

“The industry has always been a dirty, environmentally risky, undesirable career path,” says Brown. “Companies like GSF having a ‘green’ approach, coupled with a clean environment and state-of-the-art technology, has changed the perception of the PCB industry and inspired the next generation of young engineers to consider it a viable career path.”

In 2022, GSF brought its InduBond X-Press, an inductive lamination press, to the Olson Center with a dual goal in mind. An internship for undergraduate engineering students would give them hands-on experience with the equipment and introduce them to the career possibilities in the expanding PCB industry, specifically at GSF. And the students’ work on the equipment would provide GSF with valuable information about the InduBond’s qualities and capabilities, research that will help GSF maximize its potential.

“The InduBond press is new to the industry,” says Virga. “The interns help us figure out cycle time, how much throughput we can put through the machine, standardized projects like that. But we can also see how far you can push our machines.” She’s currently working with two interns, mechanical engineering majors Garrett Carolan ’24 and Ryan McShan ’26.

GSF’s co-location at UNH’s Olson Center further cements already strong ties. GreenSource is a subsidiary of Whelen Manufacturing, which donated $5 million in 2016 to launch the Olson Center, named to honor the late John Olson ’57, former Whelen president.

It’s also a harbinger of the sorts of collaborative opportunities envisioned by The Edge, UNH’s proposed innovation neighborhood that aims to give industry partners a home adjacent to the Durham campus. And it’s in line with the university-wide Business and Economic Engagement initiative, or BEE, that engages the most strategic companies, including GSF, in long-term, multi-dimensional partnerships with UNH.

“As part of these corporate engagement initiatives, UNH works with external partners to find co-location, research and workforce development opportunities on campus,” says Marc Eichenberger, associate vice president and chief business development and innovation officer. “The companies benefit from, among other things, UNH’s infrastructure and access to student talent. Those partnerships often evolve into multifaceted success stories, like the Olson Center and GreenSource Fabrication.”