From the Executive Director's Desk: 2017 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards

The Florida Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs) met last week at the 25th Annual Florida Sterling Conference. The conference is recognized as one of the best in the nation for practical learning in all areas of leadership and management systems. The RMA’s half day meeting and workshop was facilitate and hosted by FloridaMakes. FloridaMakes is a public private partnership supported by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) within the Department of Commerce with the mission to strengthen Florida’s manufacturing companies. The meeting focused on values and strengths that could be shared and leveraged amongst the associations to grow their organizations. Association directors, business advisors, and current officers worked and networked with one another together and with the FloridaMakes staff. Summaries of strengths and action items will be distributed and the RMA’s will use them for focus topics at their monthly conference calls.

FLATE works closely with the RMAs for community and educational outreach and provides
information about the manufacturing educational programs at High Schools and State/community colleges in their areas. This new and evolving community of Florida’s RMAs will be yet another integral part of Florida’s manufacturing ecosystem and therefore be linked tightly to our ET Forum, community of colleges offering programs that offer the ET degree. FloridaMakes and the Florida RMA’s are critical partners in FLATE’s sustainability plan as the key organizations to continue FLATE’s work to build a sustainable talent pipeline within Florida’s Educational system. This work includes outreach activities like student tours for MFG DAY, providing professional development for STEM educators and working with the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) on curriculum development, review and credential alignment to keep the school and college programs focused on preparing the manufacturing workforce.

Many of the workshop attendees stayed for an evening reception for the first ever Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards (MBE). This rigorous Award system starts with company nominations, which are open to all Florida’s manufacturers from anyone. All nominees are asked to submit a small portfolio of facts and figures. All companies that submits a complete portfolio have a screening call with a panel of judges and examiners. The 30-minute screening call leads to some being recommended for half day site visits. The sit visits narrow the field to the finalists in categories in company size groups. A single lead judge, Mr. Phil Centonze, organizes the calls and site visits and manages the volunteers for each call and each site visit. Eventually, over 40 judges and examiners worked on a three hour conference to review the results of the site visits to recommend the finalists and, ultimately the winners. FLATE was there to celebrate with many of their manufacturing partners from around the state that were finalists in one of the four 2017 categories. All are winners and will enjoy increased statewide exposure and feedback from the review process to continue to improve their businesses. I am pleased to share the winners with our FLATE readership!

Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards

Up to 40 employees
Under 100 employees
EEI Manufacturing Services
Under 200 employees
Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Inc.
Over 200 employees
Nautique Boat Company
National companies up to 500 employees
Rayonier Advanced Materials
Fernandina Beach
National companies over 500 employees (TIE!)
Johnson & Johnson Vision, Inc.
Lockheed Martin

If you recognize a winner in your region, reach out to them with a congratulatory note!

FLATE also announced its annual Manufacturing Educator awards this week. We are proud of these educators who work tirelessly in their classrooms to develop the talent pipeline Florida manufacturers need. Stay tuned for an article about those champions of Manufacturing and STEM education!

I now invite you to read the rest of the articles in our June newsletter. In this edition, we have a story highlighting Middle and High schooler's involvement in STEM, as well as information regarding upcoming webinars and teacher's workshops. We hope you enjoy, and from all of FLATE staff, Have a STEMtastic Summer!

Join FLATE’s Lego Mindstorms Workshops and FANUC Robot Training for Teachers

FLATE offers several professional development opportunities that are designed to strengthen teachers’ skills and provide them with educational resources for their students. This summer, FLATE is offering hands-on training workshops for middle and high school teachers. These workshops will cover Lego EV3 processors, functional robot building instructions, programming with EV3 software, programming with EV3 sensors and logic, and NAO robot programming demonstrations.  All workshops are free of charge.
The first workshop for teachers was hosted on May 31 and was an introductory lesson in Lego Robotics. The next teachers workshops will be on July 13 (Intro to Lego Robotics), and July 14 (Intermediate Lego Robotics). All workshops will run from 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. and will be hosted at Hillsborough Community College Brandon Campus in room BSSB 218. Teachers located in Hillsborough County may register for the workshops on the district website, and teachers outside of Hillsborough County please contact Dr. Marilyn Barger to register.

Additionally, FLATE will be hosting FANUC Robot Training for teachers on June 15 and 16 at Central Florida College. This workshop is also hands-on and will provide basic training, specifically with FANUC industrial robots.  This is a great opportunity for teachers that have these robots in their schools to learn more about these amazing tools and how to use them in their classrooms.  Teachers will also learn about local resources and network with others that have this equipment.

If you are interested in participating or would like more information on the Lego Mindstorms Teacher Workshops or FANUC Robot Training, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at For more information, visit FLATE's Teacher Materials webpage here or Made in Florida's Educator's Page here.

MSSC Partnership Workshop Gives Educators Chance to Collaborate on Curriculum Opportunities

On May 11 and 12, FLATE hosted a Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Partnership workshop which was designed to give educators from across the state and MSSC members the chance to collaborate on curriculum opportunities. The two day teacher workshop was very informative. Nine instructors from high schools and colleges across the state participated. FLATE’s Curriculum Coordinator, Jesse Kokotek was the workshop facilitator, with three guest speakers which included Ted Norman, State Supervisor for Engineering & Technology Education Neil Reddy Executive Director of MSSC, and Steve Meints Service Department Manager at DC Jaeger Corporation. The educators were also engaged in hands on activities around measurements, precision and accuracy led by Danielly Orozco, FLATE's Associate Director, which they can take back to their classrooms. Quality and measurements are challenging for many students and often require regular practice but is very important skills in all manufacturing processes.

At the conclusion of the event, the instructors gave positive responses about the workshop. The instructors said that receiving their Certified Production Technician (CPT) certification will lead to better outcomes with student testing scores. In addition, the information they received during the two day workshop helped identify and create solutions from the various types of challenges that go along with teaching inexperienced high schoolers (hands-on activities and teaching strategies). Another benefit from the workshop was the networking opportunities and getting to meet with other instructors.
Shirley Dobbins, an engineering technology instructor at Hillsborough Community College, stated that the workshop was a good way to meet high school instructors and “hear about their programs and learn about the challenges they face, and how that compares to our college programs.” Ms. Dobbins will also be taking the MSSC CPT certification exams as part of this program.

FLATE is working with educations and industry across the state to increase implementation of the MSSC CPT certification in high schools, technical colleges and the workforce as a strategy to improve the state’s entry level manufacturing workforce. In Florida, the MSSC CPT also provides an accelerated pathway for the Associate in Science Engineering Technology Degree. Current MSSC CPT credentials articulate for 15 credit of the 60-credit degree. The Engineering Technology Degree is offered at nearly every state and community college in Florida and supports manufacturing industry with manufacturing technicians with strong technical skills.

For more information about FLATE and MSSC’s partnership, please contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at

EDC Showcases What’s “Made in Brevard” During Annual Expo

FLATE recently attended The Economic Development Commission (EDC) of Florida’s Space Coast 4th Annual Made in Brevard Expo on May 17. The Expo promoted and celebrated companies and products “Made in Brevard County,” and highlighted the contributions of the county’s over 500 manufacturers to the local economy. The expo historically offers targeted events, presentations and advertisements, enhances individual marketing efforts and fosters a sense of community pride for the diverse products created in the Space Coast.

This year’s Made in Brevard Expo was very well attended, with approximately 400 visitors. There were several community and local small manufacturers looking for jobs, or to buy or invest in their products. The EDC is dedicated to attracting new businesses and investors, and expanding existing industry throughout the Space Coast. They also look to promote the Space Coast, influencing change on government laws and regulations, supporting efforts of Space Coast military installations, and creating new programs and procedures to assist manufacturing and high-tech companies. The EDC is a private, not-for-profit coalition whose stakeholders are business leaders committed to the economic growth and stability of Florida’s Space Coast. During the expo, local manufacturers receive awards for outstanding achievements.

This year, Embraer Executive Jets was awarded 2017 Manufacturer of the Year award.
Embraer is one of the world’s leading executive jet manufacturers, with over 1,100 aircrafts flying around the globe. Offering the broadest business jet portfolio, Embraer has invested significantly in this market. The company has delivered nearly 250 business jets from Brevard County and soared to nearly 700 employees locally in just six years. With plans for over 500 more employees by 2020, Embraer is an exemplary choice for this award. Embraer also works closely with many schools and colleges in Brevard County to help build their technical talent pipeline.

Novel Engineering, Inc. was awarded 2017 Innovation Company of the Year. Novel Engineering is the leading research and development of a virtual reality project and is competing in NASA’s Cube Quest Challenge, which helps to create an advanced cube satellite and send it into orbit. Through its next-generation solutions for aerospace, transportation, controls and government relations, Novel Engineering has demonstrated a continued drive for innovation and progress in Brevard, ambitions which are worthy of such recognition.

Brevard County started the Manufacturing Association of Florida's Space Coast (MASC), which is one of the networks of Manufacturers Associations around the state. FLATE works directly with these organizations on community and educational outreach about manufacturing careers as well as to helps connect the schools directly to the organization and manufacturing members.

For more information on FLATE’s involvement in professional development, please contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at For more information on the annual Made in Brevard Expo, please click here

Register today for ManufacturingUSA and FLATE Webinar

This summer, FLATE and Manufacturing USA are hosting a two-part webinar series about the federally funded ManufacturingUSA Institutes! These multi-million dollar public-private partnerships are focused on moving cutting edge technologies from research labs through production into our hands.

The first webinar, hosted on May 16, was a panel of education and workforce leaders from the Institutes who gave the audience a snapshot of the futuristic technologies they are working on as well as a high-level overview of their workforce development plan as a backdrop to more details about their activities focused on technician education and training. If you missed this webinar or just want a chance to review it, you can catch up by listening to a recording on Youtube here

Part two of the webinar series is happening on June 14, and you won’t want to miss it! This webinar will host a number of NSF ATE funded projects and centers that currently have working relationships with one or more of the ManufacturingUSA Institutes. This panel will present opportunities for community colleges as well as funded projects and centers to work directly with the Institutes to learn about and better understand the future technician workforce skill needs. Click here to register for the June 14 webinar! 

For more information on the webinars, please contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at

Tampa Bay Students' Capstone Projects Showcase Proficiency in STEM

Greco Middle School Capstone Presentation- Shark Tank

Every year, as part of their Capstone project, the 8th grade STEM students at Greco Middle School are tasked to exhibit technical expertise to solve challenging problems by producing ideas and products that have the potential to be marketed in the real world. FLATE was invited to serve as a potential investor, or “Shark.” The Sharks’ role was to evaluate the teams’ presentation of the final products, research methodologies, prototypes and business modules/plans. The groups presented their products and deal with the Sharks. It is up to the Sharks whether to invest their money into the business or keep their funds for another opportunity. 

Students were required to write a concept paper that described the product, the target market, business and marketing strategy, and compile answers to an “essential questions” worksheet; create an outline of the budget; and make a product prototype. This year there were a total of 10 student teams and 12 Sharks evaluating the projects. The Sharks had $500,000 at their disposal to invest in these projects. Given the age level of students, the concept and integration of STEM concepts and ideas into the projects, was highly impressive. 

Some examples of projects this year included solar powered air conditioner for cars, prescription reading glasses made of Gorilla Glass with battery powered wipers, a football containing material that slows down the rate of deflation and also contains a GPS sensor to help field location, and a waterproof backpack with posture-correcting sensor, built-in massager, and music capabilities like an earbud port and speakers.

“The students had put in a lot of time and effort into compiling an impressive portfolio of projects that reflected an integration of STEM concepts and how it can be used in a business setting to market a real product” said Janice Mukhia, FLATE’s Outreach Manager, who served as one of the “Sharks”. 

Comprehensive design projects help students to integrate the many STEM concepts they have learned, practice their teamwork, express their creativity and innovation as well as begin to develop their presentations skills. They can be an important component of middle and high school STEM programs at any level. Mentoring and /or judging these projects is a great way for industry partners to get connected to school programs related to their industry. FLATE encourages all working professionals to consider participating in school projects like the one at Greco middle school and Middleton high school. 

Middleton High School Final Projects: “Project Lead the Way” - Pathways to Engineering 

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) provides a comprehensive approach to STEM Education focused on Engineering. Through activity, projects, and problem-based curriculum, PLTW gives students in high school a chance to apply what they know, identify problems, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning. The implementation of this program provides tools to empower students and transform the classroom into a collaboration space where content comes to life.

As judges of this pre-engineering design event, the objective was to constructively critique and evaluate the projects as though this was a project under development in industry. This type of event is a great opportunity to promote STEM and Engineering Technology targeting high school students. 

This year, 17 students presented final projects. In comparison to last year, this year the Engineering and STEM level of knowledge has increased significantly, and the quality of projects increased. The engineering process for each group was to first determine a problem that they wish to solve through either innovation or invention. Through the course of the year they have justified their problem, brainstormed solutions, and digitally designed their prototype, along with building and testing to various levels of success. 

Some examples of this year’s final projects were a robotic automatic storage retrieval system for small businesses, a timer that reminds you to eat the leftovers in the fridge, a dual flush system to optimize water use in a toilet, a plier-place holder, and a tool to remove burs from pets. Elizabeth Simpson, Lead Magnet Teacher at Middleton High School says that they work hard each year to improve the program given feedback from their industry and community judges and mentors. Its so important for the students to be given the opportunity to express themselves using the tools and develop self confidence in what they have been learning in a more static environment.

For more information, please contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at FLATE has a number of STEM resources for middle and high school students that can be accessed in our websites- click here for FLATE’s Wiki Curriculum page and here for Made in Florida’s curriculum page.

s-TE-m at Work Puzzle #60: Pump Part selection for thick fluid applications

Analysis: A new technician at a pump repair company is asked to rebuild positive displacement pumps for a customer that uses their pumps to transport viscous fluids.  The technician knows that for constant viscosity (constant thickness) fluids; a higher pump pressure applies a higher stress on the fluid; the Shear Rate of the fluid always increases linearly with Applied Stress; the fluid's Shear Rate value multiplied by  the fluid's viscosity value always equals the Applied Stress value.  The Tech knows this customer always uses their pumps to move a fluid that gets thicker when the pump applies more pressure on that moving fluid. The tech also reviews the graphic at the red and green data points and, even though there are no values provides on the ordinate (y-axis) or the abscissa (x-axis), is absolutely positive which Repair Kit to use. 

The question: Does the Technician select Repair Kit #440? 

YES or NO                      

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.