From the Executive Director's Desk

FLATE's mission to create a unified, education delivery system for Florida's 21st century high- performance production manufacturing sectors has been our target since our pre-planning grant phase began in 2000. From the very beginning we understood the usual way of doing business—where educators build academic programs with the expectation industry will use and benefit from those efforts—did not work and would not work this time either. Fortunately for FLATE, Dr. Eric Roe, who was part of our initial planning group, understood how we could make our connection to industry and was crucial in building those efforts.

As FLATE's Director, Eric put his energy into this part of our Center, and his success is what has helped FLATE identify its state-wide industry partners. He became the principle investigator of a FLATE-supported, Hillsborough Community College (HCC) proposal to Workforce Florida Inc. for its Banner Center for Manufacturing. The College was awarded that grant, and Eric's impact on that Center made it the model for the state. Recently, he was named the principle investigator for a United States Department of Labor, technology based learning grant that was also awarded to HCC.

In addition to all this great work, Eric took a leading role in FLATE's commitment to Florida Department of Education's Cluster Working Group to develop the Automation and Production Technology (APT) framework for Florida high school and post-secondary programs. These frameworks are aligned with the MSSC Certified Production Technician skill standards, and provide seamless articulation into the A.S. or A.A.S. Engineering Technology degree. Add to this mix all the typical activities that an NSF Regional Advanced Technological Education Center director has to do and you can begin to sense the huge amount of energy Eric posses and brings to any task he tackles.

This past year, HCC opted not to apply for a third year as the home for the Florida Banner Center for Manufacturing and that Center was awarded to our neighbor, Polk State College. Eric has decided to accept the directorship of that center, and will serve as a program manager for their new A.S. degree in engineering technology as well. Polk County has an assertive strategy to develop its industry base, and PSC plans to play a pivotal role in that effort. Eric will be a valuable contributor to that cause.

All of us at FLATE will surely miss our daily interactions with this warm, friendly and congenial co-worker. However, we also look forward to working with Eric through partnership projects and activities with PSC, the Florida Banner Center for Manufacturing, the Engineering Technology Forum, and the Florida Manufacturers Association, and continue our work towards our mutual goal of making Florida's technician workforce education and training programs models for the nation.

The entire FLATE team - Jodi, Dave, Janice, Kim, Lourdes, Teja, Jackie, Richard, Brad, Phil, Ginger, Carlos, Sabrina and myself, wish Eric every success in his new career adventure.