FLATE Awardee Soars Ahead in Affecting Positive Changes in Manufacturing Education

The spotlight this month is back on FLATE Awardees. Back in 2015 we started an effort to bring updates on past FLATE awardees and highlight some of the work that they continue to do to impact technician education and training regionally and on a statewide level. As FLATE’s Awards program, the Distinguished Manufacturing Service and Recognition program has transitioned and FLATE has moved to a new system for nominating awardees, this month we are highlighting another FLATE awardee who was named the Manufacturing Secondary Educator of the Year in 2011.

Back in 2011, Greg McGrew stood as “A Testament to Florida’s High-Tech Future” with more
than 25 years of experience teaching engineering technology related courses. “It’s a win, win in education” said McGrew who believes “if we train our students to go out, be productive in our community, and prepare them as the future workforce of our county, the student, the community and the economy everyone stands to benefit from it.” Back in 2011, McGrew was a teacher at Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, FL, and had been teaching at the school since it opened in 1998. Under his leadership and direction, Lakewood Ranch High School was among the leading schools in Florida with one of the highest rate of students taking and passing the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) certification.

After approximately 18 years at Lakewood Ranch High School, McGrew transitioned and has now moved into a new role that is more administrative in nature. He is currently the program supervisor at Manatee Technical College (MTC) in Bradenton, FL, and has served in that capacity since summer of 2015. “With my background in vocational, and career and technical education, it was a stepping stone for me to take on this position” said McGrew. From dealing with students, faculty, or classes, his responsibilities include overseeing the entire operations at MTC.

McGrew works closely with MTC’s Assistant Director, Dr. Vines, and Director, Doug Wagner to offer several manufacturing related courses at MTC. “Anyone be at an educator, or an industry professional would tell you that the MSSC is highly valued in various aspects” said McGrew. As a strong advocate for hands-on education and training he firmly believes an industry certification like the MSSC gives students a competitive edge. McGrew believes ability to read blue print, use SolidWorks, CAD and drafting, and implementing safety standards, all of which are part of the MSSC certification “affords students with additional skillset that are important in manufacturing operations.”

In addition to professional changes, McGrew has secured additional accolades. “I was really excited to be involved with FLATE’s initiatives, and to be recognized on a statewide level” said McGrew of his Award in 2011. Since then he has continued to be involved in Career and Technical education on a broader level. In 2012 he invited one of his students from Lakewood Ranch to serve as a panelist to give a first-hand account about the MSSC certification at the National Career Pathways Network conference in Orlando. He was and continues to be highly involved with the Technology Student Association (TSA). In 2013 he was named “Advisor of the Year for Florida.” He received the award at the 36th Annual TSA National Conference in Washington, DC. “It was a great honor to be recognized at that level for something that teachers all across Florida are already doing in their schools and classrooms” McGrew said. 

Looking to the future, retirement is certainly not in the forecast as McGrew is aiming high in
continuing to affect positive changes in manufacturing education. He says manufacturers across the country are looking for workers with the right skills set, and for technicians who have hands-on experience combined with at least two year degree and industry certifications. McGrew views this as an area where FLATE and the local/statewide manufacturers can work together. “FLATE is headed in the right direction in leading key manufacturing initiatives across the state.” He pointed to FLATE’s stakeholders’ dinner that he recently attended as an example of an opportunity that helped him reconnect and network with professionals. These industry connections and partnerships are the kind of opportunities that McGrew states are valuable to his students at MTC to tap into to network with industry professionals. “Only time will tell what the future holds” says McGrew as he looks to explore his entrepreneurial side to open a manufacturing business that is focused on 3D printing, or laser technology.

For more information on Greg McGrew and manufacturing/Career and Technical Programs at Manatee Technical College visit manateetech.edu, or email mcgrewg@manateeschools.net. For information on the FLATE awards, and to submit a nomination FLATE’s read the January edition of the FLATE Focus, or visit fl-ate.org/programs/flate-awards.