From the Executive Director's Desk: #MFGDay17 is ON

Wow – As of today, May 3, we have just 156 days, or 23 weeks, or 5 months until Manufacturing Day/Month 2017! We still have the end of spring, all of summer and start the fall season. But MFG DAY is such a big event in Florida, we all know that now is the time to start planning for 2017 events. There are many MFG DAY/Month events in Florida, but the focus today, and for FLATE and its network of statewide partners has and will always be on student industry tours. In looking back post manufacturing day/month data, MFG DAY/Month in Florida has experienced exponential growth, both in the number of tours and statewide uptick in participating and enthusiasm to participate in this national event that celebrates the spirit of innovation and excellence in American manufacturing/manufacturers. Even last year, when Hurricane Matthew’s unscheduled visit to Florida last on October 2 closed nearly 80% of the schools in Florida, most tours were re-scheduled and more students and educators than ever experienced manufacturing first hand across Florida.

FLATE’s statewide MFG DAY/Month efforts began in 2013 when we developed the “recipe, a streamlined strategy and targeted techniques” that outlined an approach to organizing regional student tours for middle and high school students to high-tech manufacturing
facilities across the state. We had been doing industry tours for students for several years and had documented a significant impact on students. FLATE’s strategy for conducting Manufacturing Day tours on a single day was geared to amplify the effort, the effect, and the impact of industry tours on ALL participants, and also increase exposure and excitement in Manufacturing/STEM related opportunities in the community. FLATE started with the idea that we wanted LOTS of student tours on the first Friday of October (MFG DAY) and planned to schedule others on different days to accommodate companies and schools. We understand industry tours are challenging to set up, execute and assess. Looking at the challenges, we developed the techniques to address some of the most challenging obstacles. Here is the list we brainstormed:
  • Working with local/regional school districts in getting student permission forms signed and turned in!
  • Tour logistics (lots!) that included pairing schools with industry partners, funding and arranging buses/transportation with local/regional school districts, working with manufacturers to provide food for tour participants
  • Providing debrief time for Q &A at manufacturers 
  • Getting manufacturers to sign up as industry hosts
  • Devising a survey strategy to survey ALL MFG Day participants from students, educators, parents to industry tour hosts in capturing feedback and tabulating surveys for each of the regional manufacturing partners
  • Getting kids interested 
  • Ensuring impact
  • Continuing the conversation afterwards and all year round
  • Engagement from all participants would help provide maximum impact. Additionally, our recipe included commitment from all participants and some supporters. 
  • School districts (or individual schools) would provide bus transportation
  • Companies would host student tours, provide giveaways, and student lunches
  • Professional organizations would support giveaways and student lunches 
  • FLATE would provide manufacturing education resources (lesson plans, tour tips, posters, etc)
  • FLATE would develop, distribute, collect, aggregate, analyze, and distribute survey data
  • FLATE would help coordinate and work with regional tour coordinators 

In many regions this recipe, or local variations thereof, has worked pretty well for us with some coaching. Regional coordinators (volunteers) typically come from Regional Manufacturing Associations, EDC’s, educators at state colleges, or other manufacturing focused organizations. There are various ways to start the process. Its good for the regional coordinators to host a conference call with the districts CTE leaders to check on transportation, check on possible number of buses school districts can allocate per school/tour/students (typically MS and HS CTE programs). Some start with recruiting industry hosts, asking them to host a tour and provide lunch (and other giveaways). A quick pizza lunch provides a little time for students to interact with manufacturing professionals on a one –to-one basis and ask questions as well as provide time for students to take the post tour survey. Surveys are managed several ways: teachers are provided copies to take to the tour and have students fill out the forms and mail it back to FLATE; or the company gets the survey file printed at the tour site and sometimes FLATE mails packages to new industry tour hosts. Hosts typically return them by scanning and emailing, or returning by USPS.

Florida companies hosted nearly 5,000 students for MFG DAY/Month each of the past two
years. From over 250 tours, more than 1500 surveys were returned to FLATE each year. The impact of these tours on students is significant. You can review the impact in a 2015 FLATE White Paper summarizing the written comments we got back from students after
the 2014 tours. The White Paper is published on our website and can be accessed at: Manufacturing Day Tours: Student Feedback Shows Huge Impact. Certainly, this is just a snapshot, but a longitudinal study of specific students are very expensive, long term, and takes special expertise related to this kind of survey that FLATE does not have the resources for.

 Are you ready? Are we all ready? FLATE is, but not without a slight shift. Starting this year, our coordinating role is being handed over to our statewide partner, FloridaMakes who worked closely with FLATE in 2016 to make it a big success. FLATE will be working closely with their consortium of Regional Manufacturing Associations and many others to make the transition as seamless as possible. There is no reason that Florida cannot remain at the front of the pack for activities for MFG DAY/Month if we continue to work together to focus on industry tours for student, and the many other special events in Florida aimed at celebrating what is Made in Florida.

Let’s do this again. Let’s make Florida Number 1 again! #MFGDay17 

I now invite you to read the rest of the articles in the May edition of the FLATE Focus. This month we have articles highlighting recent graduates from across Florida, as well as information about our upcoming summer camps! Please send us your thoughts by emailing or commenting below each story here. Also, please connect with us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Successful Robotics Open House sparks student interest in STEM

On Thursday, April 13 FLATE hosted a Robotics Open House as way to celebrate National Robotics Week, which took place April 8-16. The open house featured a number of activities and stations geared to spark students and parents’ interest in robotics, STEM, and manufacturing related career pathways. The event lasted from about 3-6 p.m., and approximately 97 people (including hosts and visitors) attended the open house.

The open house featured eight stations. Two local schools, McLane Middle School and
Middleton High School, showed demonstrations of some robots they created and use in competitions. Hillsborough Community College engineering technology students displayed a robotic arm, 3D printer, and an electric car. FLATE staff created a presentation that featured a NAO humanoid robot. FIRST LEGO League prepared a display table that featured hands on activities.

Additionally, there were several industry and educational partners from our Tampa Bay community that provided resources. Special thanks to these organizations for aiding in the success of FLATE’s Robotics Open House: FIRST, FIRST LEGO League Robotics, HCC Engineering Society, McLane Middle School, Middleton High School, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at University of South Florida (USF), and USF Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The goal of the Robotics Open House was to excite students and interest them and the community in STEM related educational and career pathways. The FLATE team seemed to achieve this goal, since attendees were very pleased with the evening. Several members from the FLATE team received high praise for organizing the event. 

“It was great learning what degrees and programs are available, and how to pursue education and experience in these fields,” one participant stated. 

“The best part of the open house were the interactive displays and friendly presenters,” said another visitor. 

Additionally, one lucky student attendee won a FREE week of FLATE summer camps! Congratulations to Aidan from Stowers Elementary School, we can’t wait to see you next month! To enroll your middle or high schooler in FLATE summer camps, please visit FLATE’s 2017 Robotics Camps webpage here and contact Janice Mukhia at

 Attached below is an infographic that highlights some interesting data points and comments. All information on the infographic was obtained from a survey that was completed by attendees of the open house. As noted on the infographic, the favorite stations were the demonstrations by McClane Middle School and Middleton High School, followed by the NAO Humanoid Robot and FIRST Lego League.

Click here to see FLATE’s online album of photos from the Robotics Open House! 

For more information about FLATE’s events, please contact Janice Mukhia, FLATE’s Project and Outreach Manager, at, or Dr. Marilyn Barger, FLATE’s Executive Director, at

STEMtastic Summer: Enroll now for FLATE's Summer Camps

FLATE has new and exciting camps available for middle and high school students this summer! The summer camps will run Monday- Friday from 8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m., and will be hosted at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Brandon campus in the Student Services Building, room 218 (BSSB 218). There will be three different camps:

June 5-9: Intro EV3 Robotics Camp for middle school.

June 12-16: Intermediate EV3 Robotics Camp for middle and high school.

June 19-23: Engineering Technology Camp for high school.

At the Intro and Intermediate EV3 Robotics Camps, students will have the opportunity to build and program the all new LEGO MINDSTORMS® EV3 Robot system, participate in team challenges, tour an advanced manufacturing facility, and learn about the science, technology, engineering and math used in today’s high-tech industries. At the Engineering Technology Camp, high school students will have the opportunity to use 3D modeling and CAD to design a functional robotic device, engage in 3D printing process using additive manufacturing techniques, and tour an advanced manufacturing facility. In addition, students will be able to keep the Arduino microprocessors and servo monitors.

The Intro and Intermediate EV3 Robotics Camps will cost $175 per week. The Engineering Technology Camp will cost $200 per week. Registration forms can be downloaded here. For more information, visit FLATE’s 2017 Robotics Camps webpage here.

For more information about FLATE’s Robotics and Engineering Summer Camps, please contact Janice Mukhia at or 813-259-6581, or Dr. Marilyn Barger at

Check out some photos from last year’s camps below:

SkillsUSA Florida Conference

SkillsUSA is a national organization with more than 13,000 chapters, which serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. SkillsUSA improves the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training. This organization enhances the lives and careers of students, instructors and industry professionals as they strive to be champions at work. SkillsUSA’s mission is to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. One way that SkillsUSA enforces their mission is by hosting regional and state competitions.

FLATE was invited to attend the SkillsUSA Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference in
Lakeland on April 24 and 25. This competition allowed students to showcase their skills and help them to discover and grow their career passions and appreciate their own self-worth. Examples of competitions included wedding cake design, computer programming, cosmetology, construction, digital cinema production, and mobile robotics.

Over the course of the two days, FLATE hosted a display table in the West Exhibition Hall of the Lakeland Center. FLATE team members were given the opportunity to speak with students, families, and instructors from all over the state. Even though Jane, FLATE’s NAO robot, was especially popular, visitors were able to get information regarding several FLATE programs and events. Summer camps, professional development for teachers, Women in Manufacturing, and the two-year ET degree were of the most interest to visitors.

Students who visited the table were involved in a wide range of programs to jumpstart their careers, from mechanical engineering to janitorial maintenance, and welding to TV production. Several parts of the state were represented, all the way from St. Augustine, to Kissimmee, to Tampa. It was quite impressive to see a high number of young high school students taking their future very seriously.
FLATE team members also had the opportunity to promote their organization and FAITE to people by presenting information on FLATE’s professional development, FACTE pre conference technical tours and sessions strand.

For more information on SkillsUSA, please visit their webpage here. For more information on other student organizations that FLATE supports, please visit our webpage here or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at

Hats off to the Class of 2017!

Congratulations to the recent graduates across the state! 

Eleven seniors recently passed their NIMS Industry Certification at Atlantic Technical College! One ATC student was offered a great job at Ligi Tool & Engineering, one to University of Florida, three to University of Central Florida, one to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, one to Florida PolyTech University, two to Florida Atlantic University, one to Broward College and one student was picked to take part in the Congress-Bundestag Exchange program. 

“I'm very lucky to have 11 great machining seniors at Atlantic Technical College and Technical High School, they all will go on to great careers to manufacturing and engineering,” said Kevin Finan, a   Machining Instructor at Atlantic Technical College.
As additional good news, The Gene Haas Foundation recently gave Atlantic Technical College’s machining program $12,500 as scholarships to help students continue their education in engineering and manufacturing. 

For more information on Atlantic Technical College and their machining and engineering programs, please view their webpage here or contact Kevin Finan at

Also this month, students graduated with Engineering Technology (ET) degrees from Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Brandon campus, and on May 5 HCC ET instructors and FLATE staff hosted a reception after the ceremony. One of the graduates, Jose, will be starting a career with Chromalloy as a casting operator in just two weeks! Nancee Sorensen, president of HCC Brandon campus, stopped by the reception to celebrate with the graduates and their families, and praised the ET Degree program by saying that “this program changes lives.”

For more information about FLATE’s Engineering Technology degrees, please click here, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at

Industry Spotlight: Local manufacturer Monin wins marketing award

Congratulations to Monin, a Clearwater based gourmet flavoring company, for recently receiving a Marketing of the Year Award for its research process directing the marketing of its flavorings for coffee, tea, lemonade and cocktails.
Monin was founded in 1912 in Bourges, France by small town manufacturer Georges Monin. Today, Monin is still family owned by a third generation Monin. The company strives to create flavors that excite the senses, and that can easily be used by people around the world in their everyday life. Monin has a global presence and can be found in 144 countries. The company came to the United States in the early 1990s.

The Clearwater facility has three working production lines that output every flavor in the Monin product line. Monin has become well known as a manufacturer that uses only the highest quality ingredients. For over 100 years, their passion to create the best products available has remained constant.

Fun Fact about Monin: Monin has created a syrup recycling initiative that hopes to help bees affected by Colony Collapse Disorder, which is greatly reducing bee populations worldwide. Monin’s syrup recycling initiative has been sending waste syrup to feed bees since 2008, and has fed over 374 billion bees!

Monin has been a strategic industry partner supporting and partnering with FLATE for Manufacturing Day in offering industry tours for students in Pinellas County. For more information about Monin, please click here to view their website or click here to view their “Flavor Kitchen” blog, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at

Answer to sTEm-at-work Puzzle #59: Miniature implanted pump performance

Analysis: The pump is performing as expected if it uses 0.70 Joules during the 3.5 second test period. The actual puzzle answer requires the student to understand that the total energy value is the area under the curve from 0 to 3.5 seconds. This then allows for (a) simple linear integration formula practice or (b) reinforcement of the area approximation method for determining the area under the response data. For students with introductory calculus skills (a) the area can be determined as the integration results (sum) of the 4 linear equations between 0 seconds and 3.5 seconds.

In the area approximation case (b), area under the curve above the 0.2 joules/second horizontal between 1.5 seconds and 2.5 seconds is approximately matched by same amount of area below that horizontal between 2.5 seconds and 3.5 seconds. This leads to the construction of a rectangle that is 3.5 seconds by 0.2 joules/ second with a 0.70 Joule (0.20 j/s x 3.5 sec) area. Either method (a) or (b) leads to 0 .70 joules as the energy value which is the value expected for a good pump. 


Question: Does pump DP-3ml meet test criteria? YES or NO?

Answer: YES.

From The Executive Director's Desk: Don’t do it alone: “Get your partner and …”

Last month, the NSF ATE-funded Centers Collaborative for Technical Assistance (CCTA) presented a webinar named “Developing Stakeholder Partnerships Internally and Externally for Successful Grants.” I participated with two other Center directors for both the webinar and a follow-up online question and answer session with participants who wanted to dig in deeper. Some important summary points surfaced as an end result of this Q&A experience:
(a) when starting to consider working together for common goals, it’s important to stop and consider why partnerships and collaboration are desirable, needed and important. Remember that good partnerships can grow into working collaborations; (b) when approaching new, potential partners you may want to develop a script AND possibly send a hand-addressed letter (not email).

In all situations, however, before engaging in any way, it's critical to be fully prepared. Here are some “to do’s”: (1) have a clear and concise “ask” – (know what you want); (2) learn what you can about the potential partner especially where your missions overlap (the working space); (3) define concrete benefits for each; (4) be prepared with alternatives; and, (5) take the lead in all follow-up communications. In summary, when starting the conversation, remember that all good and strong partnerships have the following common characteristics.

Engage in candid communication
Cultivate strong personal connections
Listen intently to each     
 Value and acknowledge the relationship
Compromise for consensus
Appreciate each other’s motivation & culture

Partnerships typically have specific goals, deliverables and, possibly, metrics. Good partnerships are strong and can deepen with time if they are successful in making progress towards or achieving the common goal. Partnerships goals can be extended and expanded with time often making it possible to achieve much more than any one partner might be able to accomplish alone. Ultimately, partnerships require “high-touch” relationships.  When they reach this level, partners that continue to have overlapping interests and goals, may become true collaborators. Collaborators work in and with each other although both parties may not benefit from an activity, but happens to have the expertise. 

Mission alignment
Common values
Like-minded goal
Focus on outcomes
Benefit for every partner
Capacity to deliver
Resource sharing

Although the CCCTA webinar and the follow up Q&A session was focused on developing partnerships in the context of existing or potential grants for educational institutions, the fundamental elements and characteristics of partnerships are universal are good practices – no matter what the context. Our partnerships are typically among Industry interest in hiring skilled technicians and include, but are not limited to the list below:

      Trade Organizations
      K-12 and University Educators
      Other ATE or TAACCCT Projects
      Scientific and Professional Organizations
      Educational Organizations
      Government Agencies
      Certification Boards

Last month's webinar was the third in a four-part series about writing a successful grant proposal for NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. The other webinars have tips for adhering to the requirements of the program; defining measurable outcomes and strategies to be sure those outcomes are evaluated and measured. These are all important issues, but proposed work in this area cannot be done alone! The ATE program is grounded in partnerships to grow the 2-year advanced technology technician workforce in the United States. Qualified, talented advanced technicians that also meet employer’s needs is ATE’s high level goal.

The webinar's recording offers many rich examples of various internal and external partnership situations and just how these work in the “real world”. It also explores just how to get partners to “commit” and what does commitment mean at that stage of a partnership. I recommend that anyone considering submitting a grant to NSF ATE in the fall 2017 review this webinar and the rest of the series early in your proposal preparation phase. The recordings and slide decks can be found on the 2017 recordings here:

Good luck in your exploration of partnerships! If you have any questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Here at FLATE, we are proud of our many partnerships and collaborations that exist in a tangled web of complex multilevel relationships as well as singularly focused 2-party, deliberate working partnerships for singular tasks.

I now invite you to read the rest of the stories in the April Edition of the FLATE Focus. This month we have an article highlighting several outreach events FLATE has participated in this spring, as well as information regarding upcoming robotics events. Please send us your thoughts by emailing or commenting below each story in this blog. Also, please connect with us via social media on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Robotics Events this Spring

Robotics Open House 

To celebrate National Robotics Week (April 8-16) FLATE is hosting a robotics open house at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon. The open house will be on Thursday, April 13 from 3-6 p.m., and will feature a number of activities and stations geared to spark local students’ interest in robotics and STEM education and related career pathways.

Featured activities include: programming a robotic arm and EV3 robots, learning to operate a 3D printer, watching a demo of an electric car, meeting local robotics teams-including a demo of a 6ft humanoid robot, learning about the engineering technology program at HCC and other Florida colleges, meeting local manufacturers- including members from FIRST VISTA, and getting up-close and personal with Jane, FLATE’s humanoid robot. Plus, enter a raffle drawing for a chance to win a FREE week of the FLATE robotics summer camps!

To RSVP for this FREE event visit our Eventbrite page, or contact Janice Mukhia, FLATE’s Project and Outreach Manager, at

Summer Camps 

STEMtastic Summer is right around the corner, and FLATE has new and exciting camps available for middle and high school students this summer! The summer camps will run Monday- Friday from 8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m., and will be hosted at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Brandon campus in the Student Services Building, room 218 (BSSB 218). There will be three different camps:

June 5-9: Intro EV3 Robotics Camp for middle school.

June 12-16: Intermediate EV3 Robotics Camp for middle and high school.

June 19-23:
Engineering Technology Camp for high school.

At the Intro and Intermediate EV3 Robotics Camps, students will have the opportunity to build and program the all new LEGO MINDSTORMS® EV3 Robot system, participate in team challenges, tour an advanced manufacturing facility, and learn about the science, technology, engineering and math used in today’s high-tech industries. At the Engineering Technology Camp, high school students will have the opportunity to use 3D modeling and CAD to design a functional robotic device, engage in 3D printing process using additive manufacturing techniques, and tour an advanced manufacturing facility. In addition, students will be able to keep the Arduino microprocessors and servo motors.

The Intro and Intermediate EV3 Robotics Camps will cost $175 per week. The Engineering Technology Camp will cost $200 per week. Registration forms can be downloaded here. For more information, visit FLATE’s 2017 Robotics Camps webpage here.

For more information about all upcoming Robotics Events please 
contact Janice Mukhia, FLATE’s Project and Outreach Manager,
at or 813-259-6581,
or Dr. Marilyn Barger, FLATE’s Executive Director, 

Don’t miss out on FLATE’s Engineering Technology (ET) Experience Tours

FLATE offers several outreach initiatives that are designed to spark students’ interest in STEM and manufacturing. One of FLATE’s ongoing efforts to reach out to local students is through Engineering Technology (ET) Experience Tours. These tours place an emphasis on hands-on problem based learning, and strive to capture students’ interest in STEM and robotics, give them a realistic view of the skills needed in high-tech manufacturing jobs, and motivate them to pursue high-tech and high-paying careers.

This spring, FLATE will be hosting ET Experience Tours at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Brandon Campus. Most recently, students from Burns Middle School participated in an ET Experience Tour on March 28. The 8th grade class that visited was part of an Aerospace Technology program. This program gives the students high school credits while they are still in middle school. This was the first time Burns Middle School has participated in an ET Experience Tour.

The tour began with students being welcomed by Dr. Marilyn Barger, who gave a brief introduction of FLATE. After Dr. Barger’s opening remarks, students watched a video titled “Why Not Me,” which discussed why manufacturing careers are so great and in high demand. After the video, students were separated into two groups for a tour of HCC’s ET Lab. During the tour students were very engaged as they saw demonstrations from a 3D printer, programmed a robotic arm to conduct simple tasks, and spoke with students currently enrolled in HCC’s ET program. The students learned about the mechanics and real-world applications of these devices and machines in high-tech manufacturing operations.

Following the hands on and interactive learning, Shirley Dobbins, one of HCC’s ET program instructors, led a discussion about manufacturing careers and educational credentials. Students also watched a presentation that focused on items that are “Made in Florida.” The activity showed students a real-world view of manufacturing companies and the products are made right here in the state.  

At the end of the day, one Burns Middle School student stated that attending the ET Experience Tour will help them with STEM coursework in school because “now I’m interested in manufacturing and engineering so I will focus more in class.” Another student commented that the ET Experience Tour “showed the importance of STEM and what skills are needed in the future,” and stated that the tour was “great and fun, and very informational.”
Information gathered from surveys completed by Burns Middle School students after the tour showed that 100% would recommend this ET Experience to other students. One student commented that they would recommend this to other students “because technology is going to be a big part in our future.”

Middle and high schools in Hillsborough County with Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs are invited to visit HCC’s ET labs and learn about the college’s ET degree program. All ET tours are hosted by FLATE staff and HCC faculty and last around two hours. All costs are covered by a grant from Hillsborough County. The ET Experience Tours are a great follow-up to the Manufacturing Day tours in October. 

If you would like more information on ET Experience Tours or are interested in scheduling a tour for your students this spring please contact Janice Mukhia, FLATE’s Project and Outreach Manager, at or 813-259-6581, or Dr. Marilyn Barger, FLATE’s Executive Director, at

Send in Your Nominations for the 2017 FLATE Awards

FLATE and the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE) are working together to coordinate the 2017 FLATE Awards and recognition program. The FLATE Awards are geared to recognize secondary and post-secondary educators, and industry professionals for their outstanding contributions to promote and support technology education and career awareness in manufacturing. Awardees are recognized under three separate categories and include individuals in many manufacturing areas including economic development, industry, education and administration.

FLATE award winners are selected from nominations submitted from across the state. Nominees are judged by an Awards Committee made up of industry representatives from FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee and FACTE. The Awards Committee reserves the right to select award recipients that do not meet FACTE’s membership requirements.

2017 Awards:
FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
FLATE Distinguished Partner Manufacturing Service Award

2017 Awards Timeline:
April 15 – Online Nomination form I closes. (Completed by nominators.)
May 1 – Online Nomination form II closes. (Completed by nominees.)
May 31 – Award selections are made by FLATE IAC-FACTE award Committee.
June 5 – Award recipients and principal nominators are notified of their selection.
July 17-19 – Awards presented during The 51st Annual FACTE Conference & Trade Show.

Past winners of the FLATE Awards include:
  • Mike Ennis, of Harris Corporation, won FLATE’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009.
  • Aubri Hanson, Assistant Professor of Technology at GCSC, won Post-Secondary Educator of the Year in 2014.
  • Elizabeth Simpson, Lead Teacher of Magnet Programs at Middleton High School, won Manufacturing Secondary Educator of the Year in 2016.
  • Kevin Finan, Machining Instructor at Atlantic Technical College and Technical High School in Coconut Creek, won Post-Secondary Educator of the Year in 2016.

For more information about FLATE Awards criteria visit the 2017 FLATE Awards webpage or FACTE’S award page, or contact Jesse Kokotek, Curriculum Coordinator for FLATE, at, or Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at

Spring STEM Outreach

 So far this spring, FLATE has been involved in several STEM outreach events in our local Tampa Bay community. While all these events were different, they all had a similar goal: to encourage participation in STEM fields. 

March 8: USF Women in Entrepreneurship Breakfast

Hosted by USF CONNECT, the Women in Entrepreneurship Breakfast is Tampa Bay’s
premier forum developed to inspire and empower women to reach their entrepreneurial goals. Around 170 individuals attended the event, which took place on International
Women’s Day and offered great networking opportunities for FLATE. The FLATE team met a great group of females from around Tampa Bay and several other Florida communities, and distributed information regarding women in manufacturing. The event provided inspiration from a panel of female professionals as they shared their experiences, trials and errors, and offered insight into the world of business.

The panelists included three very successful University of South Florida alumni who
presented their insight and achievements as female entrepreneurs. They were: Jacqueline Darna, CEO and medical inventor of the NoMo Nausea Band; Jordann Windschauer, founder and CEO of Base Culture; and Maha Sallam, Ph.D., founder and President of VuEssence Inc. The panelists discussed several topics including: finances and how all three practiced “bootstrapping” to make ends meet, marketing strategies and how to “know
your customer”, how they knew when it was time to quit their “9-5” job, how they gained inspirations for their products and businesses, how they knew who to trust with their ideas, and how to use social media. The speakers closed the event with some words of advice to hopeful entrepreneurs:

Jaqueline Darna said “Business is the business of people, not products and services.”

Jordann Windschauer said “Don’t ever be the smartest person in the room, because then you are never learning.”

Maha Sallam said “Never assume anything and always take leaps of faith.”

March 10: Greco Middle School Career Expo 

Greco Middle School’s Career Expo was the first of its kind. This all-day event was designed to expose middle school students to different jobs and careers. It was held in conjunction with a student project that was targeted to help students explore their interests and talents.

During the event, students and teachers were given flyers and information on FLATE summer robotics camps and the engineering technology tours, and other FLATE online resources. Several educators, parents and students showed interest in both the programs. FLATE was among 30 local business and industry personnel to attend the Career Expo. Other exhibitors included companies like GTE, City of Tampa, and Grow Financial.

FLATE was also able to share information with teachers and administrators about the Engineering Technology program at HCC and colleges across Florida. Additionally, Made in Florida curriculum was distributed to some educators. Around 800 students from Greco Middle School visited the expo hall and tables in groups separated by grade level. The students showed a wide variety of interests, with some being especially interested in manufacturing and robotics.

March 30: Middleton High School Seventh Annual STEM Professional Association Event 

Middleton High School’s STEM Professional Association event is held on an annual basis, and connects students, parents, educators and professionals in Tampa Bay. This year marked the 7th annual event. The goal of the event is to encourage student interest in STEM careers and share local professional resources.

FLATE was one of several organizations invited to join. Other local organizations that attended the event were Bay Area Manufacturers Association (BAMA) and Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Tampa Bay. During a networking opportunity at the beginning of the event, FLATE was able to share information regarding our robotics open house and summer camps, and share curriculum with teachers. Both teachers and students seemed genuinely interested in FLATE’s upcoming programs and resources.

After a networking opportunity, the STEM Professional Association event began. The event started with a presentation by Middleton High School robotics club students. The students presented a PowerPoint which discussed the basics of their club and their Electrathon car, and then they demonstrated their car. The Electrathon car is completely designed and built by the students, and then raced at events throughout the state. 

After the Electrathon car presentation, the keynote speech was given by Dr. Kim Moore, principal of Middleton High School. Dr. Moore presented on the topic of “Diversity and Inclusion in STEM Education.” Dr. Moore began her speech by saying “education is the gateway for the future for our students.” However she then presented some troubling information: the workforce demographics of STEM fields have not changed much in over a decade. She stated that this problem must be changed, because “to remain competitive in this field, we must remain diverse.” Her presentation examined recent research, which especially targets overlooked talent in schools. Dr. Moore also discussed the best practices in creating diverse and inclusive STEM opportunities, especially in secondary education. 

After Dr. Moore’s speech, the event was closed by a second robotics demonstration conducted by Middleton High School robotics club students. They students had the opportunity to show several projects they have been working on, and showed projects that helped them win the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Florida State FTC Robotics Championships. 

If you are interested in getting involved in outreach activities with FLATE, please contact Janice Mukhia, Project and Outreach Manager for FLATE, at or Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director for FLATE, at

sTEm-at-Work Puzzle #59: Monitoring devices in miniature surgery

Analysis: Data from a test evaluation of a miniature implanted pump, pump DP-3ml, for insulin delivery was obtained by a biomedical technician. In its normal implanted operation mode, power consumption (energy use) is an important characteristic of the pump. For this particular pump design, the pump is expected to use a total of 0.70 Joules of energy upon completion of the 3.5 second test. The technician knows that the energy used is the product of the power (joules per second) and the time (seconds) the pump is operating. Thus, the technician can examine the data collected and determine if the pump meets the test design criteria.

The question: Does pump DP-3ml meet test criteria? YES or NO?     

Submit your answers below this blog post, or at Answers will be revealed in the May edition of the FLATE Focus.

From the Executive Director's Desk: Deeper Dive into the Manufacturing Ecosystem

Last month FLATE Focus introduced the idea of a manufacturing ecosystem particularly focused on workforce elements of the ecosystem. Successful manufacturing workforce development systems require detailed attention to components of the “talent pool pathway” with different ecosystem entities focusing on select components from different perspectives and with varying intensity depending on their mission. As a reminder (but not a test), the four components, or attributes, are: work-based learning; internships and apprenticeships; skill certification; and talent pipeline development.

FLATE has also identified four organizations that have overlapping missions around the development of Florida's manufacturing workforce. These are: the Florida University System, the Florida College System, the Workforce Agency (CareerSource Florida) and FloridaMakes, the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Service (MEP). This month the ecosystem connection points between FLATE and the University of Florida Innovation Station Sarasota are reviewed.

The University of Florida’s Innovation Station in Sarasota has a focused economic development mission for the Sarasota bay region in Florida. Their strategy is to unite economic development efforts with the State College of Florida and the University of Florida to optimize technology and manufacturing investment in the region. One platform of that strategy is to increase the number of engineers that are from and come back to the greater Sarasota area to enhance the local business and industry. This increase in the manufacturing talent pool also includes the development of the required support technical workforce.

An important goal for the Innovation Station is to strengthen the presence of engineering education in the State College of Florida (SCF). Their approach is to establish a strong physical presence on the SCF Venice campus. This includes a standalone building that provides advising and engineering career promotion events. The program will identify students for a cohort and then provide mentoring, industry interactions, and cohort study and social opportunities. Cohort members are also simultaneously enrolled in the University Of Florida Engineering College with all of the privileges and academic responsibilities of any engineering student enrolled on the UF campus in Gainesville.

The Innovation Station attributes presented above represent the "what's in it for me" element of their organization. The key to a strong ecosystem is to have each partner organization keep their "for me" components and then add important "what's in it for us" elements. It is not necessary for every organization in the ecosystem to have "in it for us" for every ecosystem partner, but collectively all of the "in it for me" components advance the goals of that ecosystem.

The illustration below 
demonstrates this concept. It highlights FLATE and Innovation Station "in it for me" qualities. However, the important idea that projects from the graphic is the overlapping qualities. In this case FLATE and the Innovation Station will both benefit if we share resources that address many project activities. This list includes: new apprenticeship initiatives, industry recognized credentials (MSSC for example); high school graduates directed toward technical careers; and various K-12 STEM outreach initiatives.

The graphic highlights only some of the mutual interactions. It suggests that the State College Partnerships connection is toward FloridaMakes. This is the case since the SCF Venice campus is also the home of the SCF A.S. Engineering Technology degree program. The Innovation Station engineering career pathway activity complements the manufacturing career options and pathways of the A.S. ET degree as well. One exciting part of this FLATE/Innovation Station connection is the Innovation Station intention to expand the interactions between engineering and technology students and the technology program’s extensive "hands-on" laboratory space. This activity is a specific example of a high benefit partnerships activity that easily fits within the Manufacturing Ecosystem model. 

For more information on UF's Innovation Station, please visit their webpage here.

I now invite you to read the rest of the articles in the March edition of the FLATE Focus. We have a special story highlighting MSSC CPT Training in Florida, and several new additions to our "Announcements" sidebar. Please send us your thoughts by commenting below each blog post, or connect with us on our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn