The Light That Continues to Shine: FLATE Awardees Lead Locally, Impact Regionally

In our continuing series to highlight some of our past FLATE awardees, this month we highlight two educators who have made their mark in streamlining manufacturing education at the secondary and post-secondary education level. Both educators have made a significant impact on technology education and training in Florida, and were the FIRST recipients to be bestowed with the FLATE’s Secondary and Post-Secondary Educator of the Year awards.

It has been several years since Ted Norman was honored as the inaugural recipient of the FLATE Secondary
 educator of the Year award. Back in 2007 when he received the award, Norman was a teacher of the manufacturing career academy at Treasure Coast High School in Port St. Lucie, FL. He was the first to serve in that capacity, and attributes the honor to Kathy Schmidt, CTE director of St. Lucie County and Dr. Helen Roberts, principal of TCHS whose pioneering vision helped establish the manufacturing Academy at TCHS.

Much has happened in that time, both personally and professionally.

Firstly Norman switched gears and transitioned into the corporate world where he is currently the state supervisor for transportation, distribution and logistics for the Florida Department of Education. His primary mission at FL DOE is to manage, update and revise the curriculum frameworks for the manufacturing, transportation, distribution & logistics, engineering and technology education career clusters. “Keeping the frameworks relevant by aligning with business and industry expectations and technology ensures that secondary and post-secondary students will be given opportunities to be better prepared for college and careers” Norman said.

This past year working with teachers, administrators and business leaders, Norman also updated and revised the manufacturing curriculum and frameworks for welding, industrial machinery and maintenance, maritime repair/refinishing, electrical and instrumentation technology, industrial technology, aerospace, simulation and (most importantly machining technology programs.) “All of these programs support and contribute to a skilled workforce for Florida’s manufacturing industries” Norman said. Prior to working for the FL DOE, he enjoyed working for the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council in Indianapolis and Educational Testing Services in Princeton, NJ. In 2008, Norman was also recognized as a 2008 University of Florida Distinguished Educator awardee and the 2009 St. Lucie County Teacher. “I am proud and honored to be of service to the students, parents, educators, administrators, and business community of the great State of Florida.”

At the post-secondary level, Meer Almeer has been a relentless force in affecting changes that have made a positive impact on the A.S. degree in engineering technology at Eastern Florida State College. Almeer’s vision to introduce new courses, certificates and hands-on experiential learning mechanisms, has led to the overall growth of the A.S.E.T program at EFSC. “We are constantly changing the program to match the changing needs of local manufacturers.” Almeer started offering fiber optics and composites courses enabling students opportunities to build a career in several applied technology jobs such bas aeronautics, testing, fabrication, assembly, repair and almost every aspect of manufacturing. “I think we are creating an excellent workforce in the state of Florida by empowering students with relevant and transferable skills that will help them succeed across various industries” Almeer said.

Partnership with industry has greatly helped and is a key area Almeer has focused on in his efforts to strengthen the
 program. “Working with Harris Corporation we overhauled and redesigned the advanced engineering technology program to meet their needs” said Almeer. The program, according to Almeer, is a model for many other companies that have started following Harris’ lead in sending incumbent workers for additional training and/or earn certificates at EFSC. In fall 2014, Meer started offering the J standard industry certification class at a reduced cost of $300 (as opposed to $1300), and recently started offering a new IPC certification comprising of three credits soldering classes. “I would like to continue focusing on the program at EFSC and offer courses that will enable students to get decent jobs once they graduate from the program.” Additionally, he worked closely with local high schools and industry to coordinate manufacturing day tours in Brevard County, and partnered with Tallahassee Community College to host several workshops for high school students, local industries and college teachers to build composites skate boards. In 2014, he was also one of the EFSC Academic Discipline Award winners that recognize faculty members for their dedication, patience, enthusiasm and concern for students, the college, and community at large.

From the outset, Almeer has been a firm advocate not only of the statewide A.S.E.T degree, but in supporting FLATE’s mission to promote technician education and training. “FLATE has been leading the state in shaping the direction of engineering technology education, and has served as a guide for colleges to streamline their ET programs.” Almeer served as one of the mentors for students going to Spain on the FLATE-led global technician education program. He was part of the first faculty delegation that visited Spain in 2011 and went on a second trip with students, including four from EFSC who were enrolled in the alternative energy program.

To chat with Ted Norman and Meer Almeer and/or partner with them on current projects write to them at AlmeerM@easternflorida.edu and Richard.Norman@fldoe.org. For information on FLATE awards, or to submit a nomination for the 2015 FLATE awards visit http://fl-ate.org/projects/awards.html, or email Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org