Webinar & Forum Expands Knowledge of Mechatronics

The  combination of mechanical, electronic, controls, robotics and computers is making mechatronics the high-tech career of the future as demanded by industry. Mechatronics is an educational blend of mechanical systems, electrical systems, computer and controls systems. According to Peter Buczynsky, president and co-owner of Pharmaworks in Odessa, FL, “engineers and technicians with mechatronics experience are in rare supply and highly sought after by industry.” Buczynsky predicts as more and more automated electro-mechanical systems become commonplace, and “unless we support this industry need” the United States we will fall further behind other nations that already have recognized and embraced this technology.  

Given this surge in demand for qualified technicians and educators, Buczynsky recently co-hosted
click http://tinyurl.com/mwvz399 to view video
Mechatronics Forum with FLATE at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL. The half day Forum represented an industry-led initiative to raise awareness and drive alignment towards the promotion of interdisciplinary field of Mechatronics. The goal, Buczynsky said, was to bring educators, industry, career advisors, students, parents together for an informative forum with plenty of time for Q&A so participants would walk away with a clear understanding of ongoing efforts to accelerate implementation. 

The Forum featured prominent industry experts and educators across Tampa Bay who shared their
perspectives on how communities have successfully implemented mechatronics programs and formulated mechatronics certifications. Maria Ferrante of PMMI (Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies) spoke of their development of the NAM endorsed PMMI Mechatronics certification (one of the industry specific TRADE certifications).  Bryan Kamm, from the Florida chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce, presented the German dual system of education model where critical, foundational skills are taught with industry heavily involved with the hands-on element of education. Kamm also discussed the concept of local ITC’s (Industrial Training Centers) in each county—currently a hot topic amongst local legislature. Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE highlighted current Florida mechatronics program at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

In all of this, Buczynsky spoke of a fundamental need for industry to get aligned and show unified support for mechatronics programs. Doing so, he believes, will convince legislature that Mechatronics is a secure investment that will not only meet the needs of local industry, but will attract more high-tech companies to the region.

In addition to the Forum, FLATE also co-hosted an education mechatronics forum. The 90 minute webinar was part of MATEC NETWORKS series of professional webinars that featured prominent industry members who discussed the value of mechatronics knowledge and skills in high-tech workplaces. Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE together with industry leaders and educators from across the country showcased how NSF ATE centers are partnering with industry to educate incumbent and future workers in mechatronics. After attending this webinar participants gained a better understanding of industry needs and devise strategies to modify and/or create a program to meet that need. For more information, or to register for this free webinar visit http://www.matecnetworks.org/growth.php.

For more information visit www.fl-ate.org, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org or 813.259.6578.