Clocking In Podcast

Voices of NC Manufacturing, your host Phil Mintz, Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). We will be interviewing some of the manufacturers who have made North Carolina manufacturing the powerhouse it is today.



Production Team

Talent/Host: Phil Mintz
Executive Producer: Teresa Bradford
Producer: Shelby Kimes
Sound/Audio Engineer and Editor: Mike Reep
Graphic Designer: Casey Hembrick


HANGAR6: Sam Dirani

Durham-based NCMEP partner, Hangar6, is working to assist North Carolina manufacturing in achieving their product design goals.

Imagine you manufacture a product advertised to help install doorknobs. Customers order the product, but there’s a major problem. It doesn’t work. Embarrassingly, you recall the product and your organization’s customer loyalty suffers. You do a deep dive and track all your product’s defects back to the fact you missed steps in the prototyping and testing process. This is why prototyping is so important. Proof that a product works as intended in the form of a prototype is the foundation of every successful product. Today, we’re talking to an organization that helps inventors get their designs off of the napkin and onto the assembly line.

Hangar6, a First Flight Venture Center program and NCMEP partner, is the Research Triangle region’s premier prototyping and design assistance space for technology-based companies. Hangar6 enables designing, building and modeling product prototypes using tools, such as 3D scanners, CO2 lasers, metal fiber lasers, CNC mill, 3D printers and more. Hangar6’s partnership with NCMEP provides North Carolina manufacturers access to Hangar6’s additive manufacturing machines with various design capabilities.

In this installment of Clocking In, I speak with Hangar6 shop manager, Sam Dirani. Sam manages the day-to-day operations, equipment at Hangar6. He also trains and works directly with all members to help ensure their project success. In the latter part of the episode, we talk to the program manager, Emil Runge from Hangar6’s parent company, First Flight Venture Center

In this episode, we discuss the services and technologies Hangar6 provides, what to expect when working with Hangar6, the steps it takes to create a prototype, First Flight Venture grant initiatives and more.



Phil Mintz

Phil Mintz is the executive director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES extension operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.

Sam Dirani

Sam Dirani has been the shop manager at Hangar6 since 2017. He has previously worked as a structural designer and lead fabricator in the industrial design industry. In 2008, Sam created a non-profit children’s science program, Light Up Education LLC, the program has reached 3000+ kids in four states. Sam graduated from North Carolina State University with a BS in Biological Science and a Masters in Industrial Design.

Emil Runge

Emil Runge is a program manager at First Flight Venture Center. He has consulted, advised and assisted elected and appointed officials in capacities at the federal, state and local level for nearly 20 years. Emil graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology.