From the Executive Director’s Desk. Mark Your Calendar for 2016 Manufacturing Day in Florida!

Friday, October 7, Manufacturing Day 2016, is a BIG day and is just around the corner! Do
you have a plan? We at FLATE do as we are excited to be planning for another BIG year of student tours to manufacturing facilities all across Florida. Why do we do this? To answer this question, it might be time to step back and reflect on what the “hype” is all about. For us at FLATE, it’s not necessarily about having the highest numbers of “events” in a state (although we love that when it happens and it has happened for the past three years!). It’s really all about providing our students with a rich and meaningful career exploration experience. Manufacturing Day has also been a great way to bring national attention to the industry in our state that directly supports nearly 350,000 Floridians with high wage, high skill jobs and careers. It also has been a great way to bring parents and communities across Florida together to learn about the manufacturing industry and its huge impact on our state’s economy.

Impact on the communities, parents and the world outside of Florida stems from the many and varied planned and spontaneous events across Florida, but particularly from the “Made in Florida” manufacturing tours our students take to celebrate MFG Day. For the past four years, FLATE has coordinated student tours around Florida in close partnership with colleges, regional and statewide manufacturers, manufacturing associations, economic development organizations and independent individuals who have stepped in to help get our youth exposed to the manufacturing industry. Last year, FLATE and its many regional and statewide partners provided “Made in Florida” Manufacturing Day tours for over 5,000 Florida students (read more about the impact & data on

Post even survey responses from over 2,000 of those students endorse the effort as being impactful. From a national perspective, a recent report by the Manufacturing Institute, SkillsUSA and the Educational Research Center of America reinforces the results of our student tour surveys. This report reveals that a whopping 64% of student respondents (N >20,000) said that their own interest/own experiences was the #1 influencer on their career pathway. You can view the full report online.

FLATE promotes the following “recipe” for successful “Made in Florida” student tours, and provides opportunities for everyone to support our students’ experiences in various ways:
  • Manufacturers/MFG Companies can host student tours, provide pizza lunch and giveaways, provide job opportunities, and sponsor MFG DAY-FL T-shirts 
  • Schools and school districts can identify schools and programs, underwrite bus transportation and provide teacher substitutes 
  • Regional Manufacturers Associations & Other organizations can help identify manufacturing tour hosts, sponsor MFG-DAY T-shirts, help with government proclamations 
  • EVERYONE can promote MFG DAY in all media venues 
  • Teachers/Educators can provide manufacturing lessons before and after tours 
  • FLATE helps to coordinate companies and schools, responds to inquirers, distributes, collects and analyzes student tour surveys; develops student t-shirt design and organizes shirt sponsors, posts news stories and events, posts tour host tips and provides one-on-one help for new company hosts
Buy-in for this statewide celebration of manufacturing has been amazing. Awesome events and
contagious enthusiasm all amplify the impact on our student “tourists”. If we want to help fill the skills gap, we need to continue to encourage our youth to explore a “path less taken,” and consider becoming manufacturing STEM professionals. In 2016, Florida now has a variety of robust career pathways that start at the middle and high school level, and continue in our technical, state and community colleges as well as our four- year universities. The A.S. degree in Engineering Technology is the key connector of many of the pathways and is offered in 19 of our two-year degree granting institutions. Additionally, many manufacturing education programs now offer some kind of workplace experience as a required, or elective component/class.

Join us in the celebration! Start with a tour of our websites where you will find Florida-specific resources and information: and Download a high resolution image file of our logo here; and a Printable MFG DAY-FL posterL24’x36”) here. You can also contact me, Marilyn Barger at, or any of us on the FLATE team (Danielly Orozco-Cole, and Janice Mukhia, Also take a moment to read the rest of the stories in this edition of the FLATE Focus.

Focus On FLATE Operations – A Closer View: SIPOC is not a Mythology Monster, Its A Nationally Recognized Evaluation Tool

Last month we touched upon this topic with a focus on the operational aspect of FLATE and what it takes to establish an effective/seamless organizational structure. This month we take a look at the same topic from an evaluation standpoint. The Florida Sterling Model (the Baldridge Model in Florida, drives FLATE’s Evaluation Plan. The path for FLATE’s success is an evaluation structure that keeps FLATE off of the winding yellow brick road, but straight on a route to accomplishing FLATE objectives successfully. The SIPOC, or the Supplier, Input, Process, Output/Outcome, Customer/Stakeholder tool is FLATE’s key tool for that journey.

Imbedded within the SIPOC is FLATE’s Strategic Hierarchy (Click here for more info). This Hierarchy defines Sterling’s Activity, Program, and Organization levels in ascending order. The base level, Activity Level, is where all of FLATE’s projects are executed, and monitored. Project governance is within the Program Level. The centrist role belongs to the Organization Level. This Activity Level through Program Level to Organization Level hierarchy directs all of FLATE’s energy and resources toward success with the Center’s goals. Effectiveness Measures quantitatively indicate project impact (Click here for more info ). This Sterling structure also comfortably houses FLATE's Logic Model.

FLATE's Logic Model is an EvaluATE style model that is included in FLATE’s SIPOC tool. (The tinted four columns rectangular “frame” within the SIPOC figure illustrated above.) Inputs from FLATE stakeholders enable FLATE work systems (processes) as evaluated from effectiveness measure data to produce outputs that lead to the successful Outcomes (grant goals). Logic Model Outcomes also provide specific and global information for the Leadership Team and NSF-ATE’s program manager to assess the ultimate impact of all grant Outcomes.

In summary FLATE’s Sterling structured Evaluation Plan guides the Center by providing:

  • A data analysis and information structure that evaluates process and performance improvement activity for 
    • Greater effectiveness in accomplishing strategies and meeting goals.
    • Higher satisfaction in meeting customer and stakeholder needs and requirements.
  • A factual basis for determining performance in all aspects of operations.
  • A foundation for decision-making aligned with FLDOE, FLATE and NSF objectives.
There are 2 interdependent elements associated with FLATE’s evaluation: 
  • Implementation Evaluation, which analyzes operational strengths and weaknesses of the FLATE organization and its capability to accomplish its strategies, objectives, and goals. 
  • Impact Evaluation, which analyzes various types of data collected at Activity, Program, and Organizational levels to validate FLATE performance with respect to goals and objectives to strive for improvement in work streams, systems, and processes.

Camp Hones High School Students’ STEM & Entrepreneurial Skills

FLATE’s high school camp, which marks the end of the summer camp season, ended on a high
note with campers raving about the knowledge they gained during the camp. The high school camp traditionally follows a very different format in terms of the curriculum and structure when compared to the intro and intermediate camp. The Camp affords high school students a much wider and in-depth perspective about STEM concepts, and how it is integrated and applied in everyday high-tech manufacturing operations using 3D printers, programming, and robots. “I know massive amounts of programming, but this camp still challenged me” said Ian Cooper. Cameron Willson another camper agreed in that he stated “I have learned MORE in this camp than I ever learned in the three years of high school robotics.”

A key and defining aspect of FLATE’s high school camp, and what made it remarkable for

campers, wasn’t only the challenges, or the programming, or using 3D printers, but a strong emphasis on the business side of manufacturing. Since 2015, FLATE has been partnering with Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs, a nonprofit foundation offering manufacturing camps, scholarships for students and grants for STEM educators, to formulate a curriculum that showcases the connection between the business aspects of manufacturing and how manufacturers can and/or are already using expertise of STEM professionals to market lucrative products and ideas. This year the Manufacturing Alliance of Hillsborough County also partnered with FLATE to offer scholarships for FLATE campers. Allan Dyer, high school camp instructor who played a leading role in formulating the curriculum for FLATE, stated the camp once again served a critical role in connecting the dots between robotics, additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

The five day camp took students on an in-depth exploration of some of the hottest

technologies used in high-tech production environments. For students like Jessica Clavell, who was one of two girls in the high school camp and aspires to be the first woman archaeologist in Mars, the challenges and exercises fired her innate interest in STEM and robotics. Students worked in teams to “figure out” how to program an Arduino microprocessor to operate servo motors and used additive manufacturing processes to design a functional robotic arm. They also brainstormed ideas about the “manufacturing process” and what really goes into “manufacturing a product.” The ultimate goal was to design a prototype of a robotic arm that could potentially be marketed to companies like SpaceX that are invested in space explorations and futuristic colonization plans in space. Thanks to the NBT Grant, campers also got to keep the Arduino microprocessors and the 3D printed components and servo motors.

To get a first-hand perspective on how some of these 3D printing and additive manufacturing 
technologies that are being used in real-world settings, students viewed an online presentation from Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Students also toured the Tampa offices of EMS-USA, a leading full service provider of commercial 3D printing and 3D scanning solutions to customers across a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, military, consumer goods and more. (Source: EMS). “The 212 mile drive from Jaxville was definitely worth it” said Neel Mistry. Prior to coming to this camp, Neel stated he had only seen a finished product made in a 3D printer, but attending this camp and getting first-hand experience on how a 3D printer is programmed and can be used to manufacture an actual product made it more exciting for him. Alyssa Ramos, who was one of two girls in the high school camp also stated that she was always interested in engineering, but the camp reinforced her interest in the field.

The high school camp provided a 360 degree perspective about manufacturing and the
technologies at play in making of a product. A preliminary oral interview conducted by FLATE revealed highly positive responses from campers. “The camp has definitely changed my opinion of manufacturing and to explore a career in that field” said Ian Cooper. Another camper, Jessica Clavell, who aspires to be an astronaut, stated the camp gave her a better perspective about the processes and infrastructure in manufacturing a product, and she sees herself being involved in manufacturing at some point in her career. “I wasn’t sure about a career in manufacturing, but attending this camp has solidified my decision about going into manufacturing” said Cameron Willson. A summary of the final data and impact of the camps on students will be provided in a subsequent issue of the FLATE Focus. Stay tuned for those updates including data analysis/impact from statewide camps. 

For more information on the high school camp contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at You can also visit, and, or the FLATE Wiki to access other educator/student resources.