Defining Ethical Expectations

During our planning grant for our NSF ATE Center of Excellence back in 2002, the FLATE 
leadership team identified the Baldrige Quality System as the evaluation model we would use.  Grounded in industry expectations, based on organizational excellence, and a data driven format were qualities of an evaluation model, which appealed to us and we thought would help us become a successful organization, develop reporting data that was meaningful and reflective of our impact on our stakeholders, and provide a model that our industry partners would know and appreciate. We struggled for a couple of years and were eventually brought back on track by the guidance of Phil Centonze, who now serves as our external evaluator. Many of our Florida based stakeholders know Phil and the impact he has had on manufacturing in our state. However, he has also had a similar impact on our FLATE staff and leadership team, and on our educational partners. One of the pieces of our organizational profile that Phil brought to us is our Guiding Principles, which serve as a basis for reasoning, action and organizational decision-making. They help us decide if opportunities we encounter align with our own mission and goals.  These seven principles have been extremely useful to us over the years, helping us keep our eyes tightly focused on our defining and achieving our goals.  Today, I’d like to focus a bit on the first of FLATE’s Guiding Principles:

 Does this (activity/involvement/event) meet FLATE’s ethical expectations? FLATE expects professionalism in all FLATE related actions and activities; an honest commitment to FLATE’s principles; and declaration of apparent and avoidance of direct conflicts of interest.

Our Ethical Expectations ( expects individuals directly or indirectly involved with FLATE to:

  • Demonstrate professionalism in all FLATE related actions and activities.
  • Demonstrate an honest commitment to FLATE’s principles. 
  • Declare any apparent conflicts of interest and avoid direct conflicts of Interest as related to all FLATE related actions and activities.

Many organizations have defined Ethical Expectations as they are considered a vital part of any business environment.  These guidelines about what is right and wrong from an organizational perspective provide clear articulation of the organization’s values.  Organizational personnel acting ethically when dealing with stakeholders endorses the organization’s social contributions which can secure public and stakeholder trust.  In addition to our own FLATE Ethical Expectations, FLATE’s staff and leadership are all bound by those of our host institutions, HCC, SPC and USF.  All three institutions have published platforms for conduct and behavior that focus on personal and profession integrity, academic honesty, and equity. 

Operationally, FLATE expects individuals directly or indirectly involved with FLATE to follow best accounting practices, exhibit ethical behavior, and demonstrate the highest respect for and support of a diverse workforce.  ( The start of a new school year is a good time to review the foundations our organizations are built on. Values and principles for organizational behavior evolve over time and organizations must change with them. We welcome your comments on this topic and indeed hope that our performance meets your ethical expectations.

I would also like to welcome Sasha Cameron to our FLATE team.  Sasha is USF Public Relations and International Studies senior who is working with us while Janice Mukhia is on an extended leave visiting family in India. You can expect to hear from Janice in the next two months in her foreign correspondent role.  She will be researching and reporting on technical education in India. And, welcome back to school to all educators and students. We hope every one of you had a wonderful and restful summer and are charged up for the challenges of the new academic year.  I am positive there will be many challenges for all of us.

Please take a moment to read our September edition of the FLATE Focus. This edition highlights STEM challenges in the educational system, and congratulating St. Petersburg College on their opening of the area’s first collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies.  You can also read more on where FLATE took 67 George S. Middleton High School students on their multi-facility tour. Don’t miss out on this month’s FLATE Focus.

2012 Florida Energy Summit – FLATE highlights Education and Outreach Efforts

The 2012 Florida Energy Summit combined with this year’s annual Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC) Summit and took place in Orlando on August 15 – 17. The Summit provided opportunities for the 500 participants (homeowners, businesses, local governments and energy producers) to explore how Florida can secure a stable, reliable and diverse supply of energy, as well as on realistic steps Floridians can take now to cut their energy costs and increase their comfort. 

At the summit, FLATE highlighted curriculum development and educational outreach efforts in partnership with FESC during the last year. In 2008, Florida’s legislature commissioned FLATE to partner with FESC to prepare and execute a technician workforce plan that will put an energy workforce into place on time. FLATE’s poster presentation, “Energy Education for Florida’s Future Technician Workforce”, described the past work of the FLATE – FESC partnership as well as outlining the new Industrial Energy Efficiency specialization for the Associate of Science (ET) degree and associated College Credit Certificate, designed to match training directly to industry needs. FLATE materials were also displayed on the FESC table in the Energy Summit Exhibit Hall.

Presentations by Florida's state-level policymakers focused on what’s next for Florida. During the 2012 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed its first, statewide energy policy in four years. This policy reinstates tax incentives for production of renewable energy and reduces burdens on businesses, as well as promoting energy efficiency. It also repeals the renewable portfolio standard mandate. During the summit, State policy advisors discussed how to implement this recently-passed Florida Energy Bill and what the bill means to Florida’s economy.

Many energy-related innovative research efforts at universities and colleges throughout the state were spotlighted during the summit. The Florida Energy Systems Consortium revealed the latest emerging technologies, impacting future energy production and local communities reported on what they are doing to lay the foundation for alternative transportation fuels and technologies. Florida’s investment in FESC 4 years ago has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars of investment and grants into the state’s alternative energy technology sector, helping to bring many new technology innovations into the marketplace.

As the nation’s third largest consumer of energy, it is imperative that Florida’s energy policy creates an environment that fosters the development of affordable, clean energy supplies to meet our state’s long term needs. This summit provided a valuable forum for discussions and dissemination of information about Florida’s energy future as work continues to expand energy sources and production, increase energy efficiency and move forward with energy policy.

“Year of Manufacturing” Outreach Initiatives Connect High School Students with Summer Jobs

In keeping with FLATE’s “Year of Manufacturing Awareness” theme, and encouraged by partners to expand Industry Day offerings, FLATE provided an Industry Day multi-tour experience to George S. Middleton High School in order to support the engineering program offered at the Tampa magnet high school. The magnet school programs at Middleton are designed to help students enter career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Since the objective of the magnet programs is to give students a balanced and rigorous curriculum leading directly to industry, technical school, or college programs, making the practical connection between STEM subjects and college and career pathways in engineering technology and advanced manufacturing is a great fit for FLATE’s student tours to advanced manufacturing facilities. Tampa Armature Works, Vulcan Machine, MITRE, Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT), and Plasma Therm industries all opened their facilities and provided 67 students with firsthand knowledge about advanced manufacturing careers and the education needed to obtain these careers. 
FLATE’s “Made in Florida” traditional one-site tours are designed to connect classroom-based knowledge to real-world innovation and application, and easily translated into the multi-tour Industry Day event. Roy Sweatman, President of SMT shares that he had received “20+ calls asking about a job in manufacturing from high school students who visited the facility,” and hired a couple for part-time work during the summer. In fact, FLATE research shows a 13% positive change in agree responses from students interested in a career in high tech manufacturing who were surveyed after participating in a tour (3,777 students have participated in tours since 2005). But, we need to do more to ensure teacher and parent buy-in for manufacturing careers since parents and teachers are major career influencers.

One way to aid in this connection is to support school-site “Expo Style” Industry Day events. To aid this initiative, FLATE provided all Florida RMAs with an outreach pack in late December 2011 to be ready for use in 2012. Each pack contained the award winning “Made in Florida” video, copies of FLATE best practice pamphlets for offering summer robotics camps and tours to high tech industries, a postcard size “Made in Florida” promotional handout designed to appeal to students, the new “Hire a Graduate” promotion which networks industry and workforce needs with college programs and their graduates, a resource sheet for online FLATE products and services, career pathways worksheet for students (available online to parents, teachers, career counselors), and annotated presentations which can be used for Industry Day and Industry Expo events. Items were provided as paper copy as well as bundled onto a robot jump drive for ease of access, printing and portability.

After receiving their outreach kit, Marion Regional Mfg. Association (MRMA) referred Suzanne Mills, Director of Human Resources at A & N Corporation, to FLATE for career fair resources. A & N Corp. is a manufacturer of high vacuum flanges, fittings, and chambers in Williston, and Ms. Mills wanted her Career Fair presentation at Williston High School to be representative of the local manufacturing industry. FLATE sent the “Made in Florida” DVD, pencils, FLATERS (FLATE’s robot mascot), and handouts to support this event. Suzanne reported that this event generated “lots of interest.” In fact, A & N Corp. received nine hard applications and over 18 employment inquires from high school students after seeing the A & N display and watching the “Made in Florida” presentation at the March 2012 Williston High School Career Fair.

Do you have an “Industry Day” story to share? We would love to hear from you! Contact Dr.Marilyn Barger at .


STEM challenges are Best Addressed by STEM Professionals

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy proposed what might have seemed like an amazing challenge.  The United States would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade.  This was not an engineering, nor technology, nor science, nor mathematics challenge; it was a STEM challenge that required STEM professionals to meet its rigors.  At that time there were very few, if any, STEM professionals and it took the entire decade to really start to produce them.  Of course, we made it to the moon and it was teams of science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals that collectively produced the STEM expertise required.
  The Manhattan project demonstrated the effectiveness of a team approach to solving a STEM problem.  The launch of Sputnik awakened our attention if not shocked us into altering the way science and engineering is taught. However, one of the many giant leaps from the space program was the identification of the need for the STEM professional.  Granted, the term STEM was still in the future but by 1970, the fact that we need people that can use the tools of science and mathematics to engineer a new technology was evident and the impact of such people on medical science and technology is now very clear.  So, what's the problem?

Well, it's not so much a problem as it is a bit of lost vision.  In today's press and public arena, if STEM is the topic, then student science, math and to some extent graduation performance quickly becomes the target of that discussion and the poor scores in various standardized math and science test the focus of concern.  Thus, STEM education initiatives quickly boil down to improved test performance, some increase in the K-12 teacher science and mathematics knowledge and increased pressure on schools to perform.  These objectives are valid and improvements in each is important but equally important is to keep the distinction between producing people that are skilled in science, technology, engineering or math and a person that has skills requiring integration of all four. 

If you wish to make an argument that we need more professionals such as biochemists for cancer drug development or engineers to rebuild the nation's infrastructure or, for that matter, any professional in a STEM subject area, it is also important make sure that the country understands the need for more professionals to create the new technologies that will, as all new technology does, drive tomorrow's economy.  In the 21st century these new technologies will certainly need people with an inventive spirit as well as professionals with the individual STEM subject expertise but the focusing factor will be provided by people that are proficient in all four of the STEM areas who blur and blend these separate knowledge areas into a unified effort addressing the STEM challenge at hand.  Thus, the current wave of educational funding should be primarily directed to the integrated STEM objective.  If we do this, objectives such as better tests scores, more knowledgeable teachers, etc. will also be satisfied.  

One career path that is and will continue to need STEM professionals as distinguished from a professional in a STEM subject area, is the technician working within an advanced manufacturing environment.  Directing STEM resources into the A.S. programs responsible for this technician workforce is essential.  In today's manufacturing facilities, there remains a need for traditional factory skills but there is a growing demand for workers that merge those traditional trades with science, math and engineering skills that support  the complicated technologies that can, for example, fill soft drink bottles faster than the eye can see.  So, as we push on with strengthening the science and math curricula at various educational levels, it is important that we include the integrating component that will produce students that can work as STEM professionals and insert this component in career pathways that produce tomorrow's scientific and technical workforce.

St. Petersburg College Opens the New Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies - CCET.

The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) congratulates St. Petersburg College (SPC) for its latest addition. The Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies (CCET) is the area’s first center for emerging technologies created to reinforce hi-tech education training of tomorrow’s engineering technology, and manufacturing employees.

Brand Jenkins, Dean of Engineering Technology 
at SPC and co-PI of FLATE and 
Danielly Orozco, Curriculum Coordinator of FLATE.
“The college developed the center in partnership with local employers and industry to re-create a manufacturing factory work environment where students will be able to simulate skills needed in emerging technologies. The Center will specialize in rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, advanced testing and measurement, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing processes,” says Brad Jenkins, Director of Engineering Technology at SPC and co-PI of FLATE. In addition, CCET will offer industry recognized certifications including the Manufacturing Skills Standard Council’s (MSSC) Production Technician Certification, Rapid Prototyping and Design Certification, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Six Sigma Black Belt, and the Computer-Aided Drafting and Design certificate.

From left to right: Brand Jenkins, 
Dean of Engineering Technology at SPC,
Randy Hanna Florida College Chancellor,
 Dr. Bill  Law president of SPC,
and Florida House of Representatives Ed Hooper. 
Mr. Jenkins together with SPC team worked exhaustively to have the Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies ready for its grand opening on August 17 at the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College. Guests from all over Florida were present in this great event including the Florida Colleges Chancellor Randy Hanna, and Florida House of Representatives: Larry Ahern, Florida and Ed Hopper.

Special acknowledgement to local employers and Industry business partners for helping transform this dream in reality: Bovie Medical, Cavaform, ConMed Linvatec, Draper Laboratory, GE Aviation, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Motion South, Raytheon, TSE Industries.  Florida's manufacturers are a powerful engine for the state's economy making a huge impact on supporting education and creating more jobs. With a significant number of manufacturers in the Pinellas area, St. Petersburg College will help grow this local employers and industry sector by making sure that people have the right skills to fill the jobs that are open in manufacturing and therefore helping our state economy changing the lives of all Floridians. For more information, contact Brad Jenkins (

sTEm–at-Work Puzzle 29: Voltage Response of Photovoltanic panels systems

    A technician’s assignment is to determine the efficiency of photovoltaic panel systems manufactured at the “we-make-em” alternative energy manufacturing facility.  The data collected from these pilot plant studies are arranged as ordered pairs.  One of these two values is the voltage measured from the photovoltaic panel while the other data point is the value of the temperature of the panel.  The technician knows that the voltage values from each of the two photovoltaic panels involved in this pilot plant study is linearly dependent on the temperature.  The technician determined the model equations for these two different photovoltaic panels to be:

(a)  Photovoltaic Panel #1  (PP #1) model equation:  (volts) = -2.0 (temperature) + 2.5
(b)  Photovoltaic Panel #2 (PP #2) model equation;  (volts) = -2.0 (temperature) + 3.5

For the final report, the technician is preparing a graph of these two plots.  The current graph preparation stage of the two plots is shown below.
1) Are two plots are correctly identified?   Yes or No

Submit your answers below the blog post, or on