From the Executive Director's Desk: Friends of FLATE-A Focus on Strategic Partnerships

FLATE will best achieve its mission in partnerships among other organizations locally,
regionally, statewide, and nationally.  We have active and ongoing partnership projects with a number of organizations – some big, some small, some narrowly focused and others crosscutting.  We use our FLATE guiding & operating principles to help determine if and how we should engage with other groups. We want our partnership projects to be richly meaningful, mutually beneficial to all involved and broaden FLATE’s impact on manufacturing education, outreach, professional development, and to strengthen our intellectual merit.  Our partnership projects have defined tasks, deliverables and projected outcomes that we would like to achieve.  FLATE also has non-specific project partnerships with a number of organizations.  These organizations have shared mission and visions, and we call on each other for events and activities which also have mutually compatible goals. You can read more about our current partner and partnership projects on our website at

2015 brought us several new and promising partnership projects as we secured and expanded upon other partnerships we had previously engaged in.   We regularly partner with other NSF ATE Centers and NSF grant projects, particularly those that focus on some aspect of manufacturing.  However, we have special relationships and on-going projects that more deeply connect us to some including those ATE projects and centers hosted by other Florida colleges. We also work closely with STEM, career and technical education organizations at all levels. 

Additionally, FLATE has a plethora of informal partners. Typically, these organizations are
woven into our fabric to contribute to FLATE’s color and texture. They are quick to reply to our queries, always have constructive input, usually surprise us with impromptu help, and are comfortable to request our help.  Thus, we also like to brag about them, and fondly and collectively call them “Friends of FLATE”. This long list includes:

  • Hundreds of manufacturers and their professional organizations that helped support Manufacturing Day in Florida
  • Florida school districts
  • Florida colleges
  • Many other stakeholders across the country

As we start 2016 and its technical and workforce development challenges, we look forward to continued interactions with all of our “Friends of FLATE”.

This year brings FLATE some emerging projects with new partners that we believe will help us reach more manufacturers and educators across the state and the country. We are excited about the possibilities and are anxious to begin engagement.  The first is FloridaMakes, the
state-based Department of Commerce’s NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) investment in support of manufacturing businesses in Florida. FLATE and FloridaMakes have reached a MOU to work together to define the technical training and education needs of industry; provide training and professional development to both industry and educators; and support Manufacturing Day outreach in Florida. More at

An exciting era in American manufacturing has begun in recent years with the funding of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes or NNMII.  Within these powerhouses of experts on various technological aspects of manufacturing, is the need for training a workforce with new skills and knowledge. FLATE, with five other manufacturing centers, is partnering with PowerAmerica, the National Innovation Institute of Wide Band Gap Power Electronics to define educator professional development need for the K-14 environment.  You can read about this initiative at, and about FLATE’s our current partnership projects on our website

Please enjoy the rest of the stories in this inaugural edition of the FLATE Focus for 2016. We look forward to working and hearing from you. Do send us your thoughts by jotting down a few comments below each blog post, or connect with us through our social networking platforms on LinkedIn, Facebook, and @Made_InFlorida on Twitter. From all of us at FLATE, Happy and Prosperous 2016!

Nominations Open for 2016 FLATE Awards!

FLATE and the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE) are working
together for the 2016 recognition program. FLATE’s Distinguished Manufacturing Service Recognition Program, hosted by FACTE, brings recognition to both secondary and post-secondary educators as well as recognizes key personnel for outstanding contributions to promote technology education and career awareness in support of manufacturing. This award includes nominees working in any manufacturing area such as economic development, industry, education and administration.

FLATE award winners are selected from submitted nominations from around the state. FLATE awards are judged by an awards committee made up of industry representative of our FLATE Industry Advisory Committee and FACTE.

Awardees will be selected under three criteria:

  • Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award 
  • Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award 
  • FLATE Distinguished Partner Manufacturing Service Award 
Awards Timeline
  • December, 2015: Awards criteria published at 
  • January 4, 2016: Nomination Open 
  • March 1, 2016: Online Nomination form I (To be completed by nominators) 
  • May 1, 2016: Online Nomination form II (To be completed by nominees) 
  • May 1, 2016: Nominations close 
  • May 31, 2016: Award selections are made by FLATE IAC-FACTE award Committee 
  • June 5, 2016: Award recipients and principal nominators are notified of their selection 
  • July 25-27, 2016 Awards presented during The 50th Annual FACTE Conference & Trade 
The awards will be held at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa in Orlando, Florida. For more information about FLATE Awards criteria visit FACTE’S award page.For more information visit, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at

2016 FLATE National Visiting Committee Meeting and Stakeholders Dinner

FLATE is hosting its 12th National Visiting Committee (NVC) Meeting in February. The Committee is
made up of leaders in industry, education, workforce and economic development from across the nation, with local representation, and is a required component for all NSF ATE large projects and centers to have a National Visiting Committee. NVC members serve as advisors working with the grantees and NSF to help achieve the stated goals and objectives. The committee also assesses the plans and progress of the project, provides advice to project staff, and reports both to NSF and the project or center leadership.

This year FLATE is hosting its NVC meeting in Tampa. Of special interest is the Dinner Meeting for FLATE's 'invited list' of stakeholders and guests. The Dinner will be held Feb 4, 2016 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Columbia Restaurant (2117 E. 7th Ave.) in historic Ybor City in Tampa, and will provide FLATE's invitees an opportunity to meet NVC members.

Program agenda for the three hour event includes:
  • Networking & FLATE Overview (Past and Present)
  • Introductions & Welcome: Dr. Marilyn Barger & Dr. Celeste Carter, NSF
  • Dinner Speaker: Leo Reddy, President & CEO, MSSC
  • FLATE Future: Dr. Richard Gilbert (stakeholder input period)
  • Closing remarks: Dr. Marilyn Barger
Meeting discussions will center on manufacturing education, training issues and ideas with 
member(s) of the National Visiting Committee, the Florida Department of Education, Industry and CareerSource Florida. Dr. Celeste Carter, Program Director for the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., and Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE will welcome all guests to the meeting. Leo Reddy, Chairman and CEO of the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council in Washington, D.C., will be the special guest speaker. “It is an exciting time for manufacturing here in Florida and across the nation” said Dr. Marilyn Barger, who noted FLATE’s role in leveraging manufacturing excellence across Florida. “For the past 12 years, FLATE has been ‘the go-to’ organization for manufacturing and advanced technical education in Florida,” and FLATE is excited to continue making an impact and building on a community of practice to support high performance skilled workforce for Florida’s manufacturing sectors.

Invitees are asked to register for the Dinner at The last day to RSVP and confirm attendance is January 25, 2016. For more information about FLATE’s National Visiting Committee and upcoming Stakeholders Dinner visit, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at

MSSC is Coming to Florida!

MSSC is coming to FL!  Leo Reddy, CEO of MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) will
be in Florida this winter.  Together with Neil Reddy, MSSC Executive Director, or alone, Leo will be attending a number of Manufacturing events across the state. With the goal of engaging more industry with MSSC and broadening industry knowledge and endorsement of the credential and other industry validated credentials as important parts of the technical education process.

Florida ranks number 2 in the nation for the number of MSSC CPT (Certified Production Technicians) certified workers. FLATE initiated this journey in Florida with the alignment of the A.S. Engineering Technology technical core to the MSSC Skills and submitting the first statewide articulation agreement (as defined by the CAPE act) to the FL DOE back in 2007. Today, 19 colleges offer the ET Degree and nine high schools, one tech center and one college (as a PSAC program) offer the Automation and Production Technology (APT) High School Framework (also aligned to MSSC). According to the latest data provided by MSSC, there are currently 1665 CPT certified candidates, 15 full CPT authorized instructors, and 75 testing sites in Florida. Outlined below is a snapshot of total MSSC certificates that were issued for the state of Florida for CPT.

Anyone, including students in this technical high school program in Florida, can articulate 15 credits in the ET degree for a current MSSC certification.  The MSSC CPT also articulates to other A.S. degrees in Florida; please check the statewide articulation agreements available on the Florida Department of Education (FL DOE) website. Collateral benefits to this existing FLATE envisioned education infrastructure include MSSC training in non-academic programs as supported by grants from the Department of Labor. Many of these training-focused grants were awarded in Florida based on industry’s value of the certification as well as the clearly defined articulations of the training to credit-bearing academic programs that FLATE put into place throughout the state.

FLATE is arranging venues for Leo and Neil Reddy to speak with manufacturers and educators around the state.  Here are the starting entries for the list. Do mark your calendars for the dates and venues outlined below. 

If you are interested in hosting a MSSC discussion and/or presentation in a meeting (of any type) setting let us know. Leo and/or Neil Reddy are happy to engage manufacturers (primary audience), educators and other stakeholders. For more information contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at, or visit

Answer sTEm–at-Work Puzzle #50: Special North Pole Addition

The requirement on Rudolf's nose is straightforward; it has to meet a brightness minimal value so a good
polish is the first step to achieve that requirement. The only complication? The measurement indicated that Rudolf has a touch of blue in the glow of his red nose. Nevertheless, the elves expect their best practice polishing procedure will still let everyone say that it really glows.

From a learning perspective, the only (and admittedly missing in the original puzzle graph) information required is which of the spectrum peeks is the red light. That background knowledge needed is the fact that blue light is a higher frequency light. Of course, besides forcing the students to deal with a "double negative" answer, the puzzle provides another opportunity to review the properties of light which is always a valuable exercise for students to do.

Rudolf’s nose does not have to be polished.  Yes or No  

Answer: NO                                                                       

New Engineering Technology Faculty Spotlight: LSSC Professor Enhances Student Engagement & Learning through His Passion for Engineering Technology

Educators be it at the secondary, or post-secondary level, leave a deep imprint and impact on a student’s academic journey. They serve as the guiding light for their students as they maneuver to secure targeted academic goals and achieve success along the way. Last month we brought you two stories focusing on women in STEM education.  We continue this endeavor this month, with a spotlight on Bob Frank, associate professor of engineering technology at Lake Sumter State College.

Frank’s educational credentials include a B.S. degree in industrial engineering technology from Kent State University, an M.S. in Industrial Engineering Technology from Youngstown State University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate for education at Walden University.  His foray into teaching started a long time ago. He grew up in Pennsylvania where he was the first in his family to ever seek a degree, or attend college. Frank brings a wealth of academic as well as real-world expertise in the classroom, as he’s spent most of his career working as an engineer in the steel industry for the last 20 years, 13 of which have directly been related to education.

Frank has always been fascinated with engineering technology, specifically the applied side of
engineering. His teaching career started in 2005 when he moved to Florida and started teaching at Central Florida College. At CFC he climbed the ranks from a faculty member to program director for the engineering technology-quality specialization degree at CFC, where he was an integral part of the curriculum development team in the engineering programs. Thereafter he switched gears to work on the ‘Open Entry/Exit’ initiative at Polk State College where he developed company-based curriculum for the engineering core courses, and courses in the advanced manufacturing track in engineering technology. “I enjoy starting new programs and the development, design and implementation of new processes” said Frank which brought him to Lake Sumter State College (LSSC) in Sumterville, FL to build a Power Relay Technology program with an engineering technology foundation. Course offering for the new program started this Fall, and have 20 students enrolled in the first semester. “I am really excited about this new program and am looking forward to see this first group of students through graduation” Frank said.

Frank’s passion in the classroom stems a great deal from the experiences he’s had as an engineer. “Everyone looks at engineering as a field that is too complicated, or too difficult.” He is teaching four online quality specialization courses at College of Central Florida, and has taught all the advanced manufacturing courses and quality specialization courses as well. At LSSC he currently teaches six core courses of the engineering technology program at LSSC. “These courses prepare students for the workforce through hands-on labs and application research” said Frank. The curriculum in these courses are a direct reflection of the advisory group’s recommendation and requests as well as integration with the Florida Department of Education learning outcome requirements. “Engineering is not easy, but it is obtainable with the right combination of skills sets” said Frank. To that end, he states a student that embarks on an engineering technology as his/her chosen career path must be dedicated and willing to be a hard worker. Students also need to have excellent study skills and be detail oriented, which as Frank states is “the key to being a successful engineer.”

Frank’s teaching philosophy is heavily based on students and their learning styles/strengths. “Striving
to relate to every students is the first and foremost responsibility of a teacher.” He searches for a common ground of understanding that “opens a channel of communication” that both he and his students are comfortable with.  Being an educator, he says is a very demanding position. “I rely heavily on our advisory groups and corporate partners” as educators are constantly challenged to keep abreast with new technologies and practices in industry, and to ensure what they are teaching is accurate and relevant. To that end, Frank makes effort to discuss educational goals at a personal level and establishes a relation with each student by sharing his continuous learning experiences and how he’s mastered subjects through continuous learning.  He entices students with technologies of the future while training them in the technologies that will help them obtain gainful employment. “I use these incentives to help students better their lives through education” and emphasize how putting in the time and effort will help them succeed academically to become a better person.

Engineering Technology is a very fascinating field, and anyone who decides to become an engineer can develop the necessary skills to do so. “I love the field I chose to work in” says Frank. He summarizes his role as an educator in being able to take his experiences, knowledge and education to help someone else achieve similar goals. Doing so, he says, has been very rewarding.

For more information on Bob Frank and his professional portfolio and endeavors, and the courses he teaches at LSSC write to him at, or contact him at 352.568.0001 ext. 1024. For information on the two year, A. S degree in engineering technology at LSSC visit For information on the statewide engineering technology degree at community and state colleges across Florida visit, or email Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at  

FLATE Wiki....Check Out What's NEW & of Interest to You!

If you have not visited FLATE’s wiki – you might be missing out on some great, NEW resources
for STEM education and STEM outreach. While originally FLATE’s Wiki was a place for educator lesson plans for manufacturing education, it now hosts most of FLATE’s curriculum, outreach and professional development materials and resources.  Let’s look at what’s new and of interest in 2016!

In 2015, several additions were made to the Modules for Advanced Technological Education section. This section hosts a variety of curriculum modules from various sources that are useful primarily for teaching in postsecondary education environments. Below is the menu noting what is new in 2015.

We added classroom support for the ET technical CORE courses and some of the ET specialization tracts.  We also added resources from a variety of sources including the HiTEC conference sessions, the National STEM Consortium which has a comprehensive portfolio of classroom-ready resources for a solid Mechatronics program. The latest addition to this section is under Machining, where we posted our newly developed NIMS – FLDOE Machining
Technology crosswalk and alignments with recommendations for which NIMS assessments students will be ready to take in each high school, PSAV (post secondary adult vocational) and A.S. Engineering Technology Mechanical Fabrication and Design specialization and certificate programs.  This great resource will help our Florida machining educators integrate this national credential into their growing programs.  Several NIMS credentials have recently been added to the CAPE funding list, but they do not yet have statewide articulation agreements for college credit. These crosswalks and alignments should help this effort as well.

Our STEM Summer Camps section will soon (by February 1, 2016) host FLATE’s, Introductory
Robotics Camps curriculum.  The curriculum is for use with Lego Mindstorms EV3 robots and supports a five-day (8 hour/day) summer camp.  The Camp pack includes a block schedule; worksheets, presentations, web resources, and the main project-based challenges that make up the bulk of the camp experience.  We are excited to have formalized this important resource, which informally is being used in many camps across the state and elsewhere.

Earlier this year, we added a new section and pages with resources to support the new “Made in Florida 2015:  Do you know what is made in Your Backyard?” video and related classroom curriculum.  This section links to the streaming video and hosts the downloadable Teacher’s Guide for the video.  To accommodate a typical classroom, all student worksheets can be downloaded for printing, or projecting. The lessons
are great ways to take a guided tour of Florida manufacturing, and focus on important career pathways, or the amazing technologies of manufacturing and the facts – what actually is “Made in Florida”.  These resources have been distributed to over 500 educators in Florida and over 100 teachers have attended a guided workshop to learn how to use them.

Please visit FLATE’s wiki to explore these new resources. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at, and FLATE Curriculum Coordinator, Danielly Orozco at

Regional Robotics and STEM Events in Florida

Spring is a great time when STEM enthusiasts across the state take an active role in participating in regional and statewide competitions and events. This season in Florida there are 685 FIRST LEGO Robotics teams (grades 4-8), 146 FIRST TECH CHALLENGE Teams (grades 7-12), and 85 FIRST Robot Challenge teams (grades 9-12). “As the Florida state legislature tackles whether, or not computer science should be allowed to replace the traditional foreign language high school credit, school administrators and legislators are taking sides” said Desh Bagley, FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Affiliate Partner for the Central West Region. The common denominator, Bagley notes, is that both sides agree computer science is important and should be learned by Florida’s students. More info about this on the Education Week Blog.

Thankfully, the robotics programs in Florida’s schools are hitting the mark. Robotics programs

exist for students in grades 4 – 12 throughout the state. This season in Florida there are 685 FIRST LEGO Robotics teams (grades 4-8), 146 FIRST TECH CHALLENGE Teams (grades 7-12), and 85 FIRST Robot Challenge teams (grades 9-12). Duval County and the city of Jacksonville have seen the most growth of robotics teams. The school districts, corporations, and universities have partnered to give students amazing opportunities to participate in robotics teams. Every elementary, middle and high school in Duval County boasts of a FIRST program. The president of FIRST, Don Bossi, will attend the Northwest Florida FIRST LEGO League Championship on January 16th at the University of North Florida.

The FIRST Robotics Challenge kickoff is on January 9, in which high school robotics teams will 

find out about this year’s challenge. Tampa teams will attend the KickOff at the DooLittle Institute in Ybor City at the Sofwerx Facility. Students will tour the facility and meet with engineers who will help them plan, design, and build their robots for the season. It is the hope and the goal that all Florida school districts will take a leading role like those in the Northwest region. “Perhaps computer science won’t be an acceptable foreign language requirement, but the opportunities to learn computer science and robotics in the state should abound” said Bagley. 

Here in Tampa, Hillsborough Community College will sponsor the FIRST LEGO League Championship for Central West Florida on February 13, at the Trinkle Center on the Plant City Campus. The FIRST events are open to spectators and free of charge. The statewide championship for FIRST Tech Challenge will be held on February 13th at St. Leo University. There will be 28 teams from the state seeking bids to the Super Regional in San Antonio, Texas. For more information about FIRST robotics, contact Desh Bagley at

In addition to the regional robotics competitions, Electrathon of Tampa Bay (ETO) is also
hosting several events this Spring with three major events and monthly races planned at the USF Engineering Expo in February, at the Florida State Fairgrounds in April, and the Florida Solar Center's Energy Whiz in May. The next race is scheduled for January 16 at Wharton High School, in conjunction with a robotics competition being held there on the same day. Also associated with our ETO activities is the Junior Solar Sprint group that conducts its races during ETO’s two-hour intermission on race days, and are part of its awards ceremonies as well!

Currently there are five high schools actively racing, with two more scheduled to join later this year. Both HCC and USF are racing, along with four ‘Open Class’ hobbyists from across Florida who join for each of the race days. Most of our races include about 10 - 13 cars, racing in three classes.

For more information on Electrathon of Tampa Bay visit, or contact Fredi Beck, assistant department manager for strategic marketing for Hillsborough County Public Schools

For educators looking for professional development opportunities, Suncoast Technical College 

of Sarasota and HFO-Tampa are hosting the 1st Annual Florida Haas Technical Education Center HTEC - CNC educators conference in March. Join educators to share and learn about the latest tools and trends in CNC and Manufacturing education and partnerships. This conference is open to manufacturing educators and administrators including High School, Technical College, Community College and Universities. All schools with all CNC brands can participate in the conference. A free Haas table top CNC simulator will be given away with a special appearance by Jeremy Bout from Edge Factor. Guest speakers will include Career Edge Funders and Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE). Also discussion sessions on FL DOE frameworks, NIMS and Skills Florida, and tours of the STC Precision Machining & CNC Automation program will be offered throughout the day. For more information visit, or contact Ed Doherty, precision machining and CNC instructor at STC at, or visit

Congratulatory Note: Dr. Alessandro Anzalone to Serve as Interim Dean of A.S. programs at HCC Brandon

Congratulations to Dr. Alessandro Anzalone, who will serve as the Interim Dean of Associate of Science degrees at the Hillsborough Community College Brandon campus. Dr. Anzalone has been at Brandon since 2009, and has served as the Program Manager and Instructor of the Engineering Technology program.

Accomplishments under his tenure have been numerous and include:

  • Growing the program from 2 students to over 180 annually 
  • Implementing a state-of-the art laboratory in Engineering Technology that is ranked at the top statewide 
  • Serving in a leadership capacity on local and state manufacturing associations, forums and committees 
  • Leadership in workforce development in engineering and manufacturing technology 
  • Serving as co-Principal Investigator for FloridaTRADE and providing technical expertise to FLATE 
  • Serving in a leadership capacity for the Hillsborough County Manufacturing Academy 
Dr. Anzalone earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Nacional Experimental Polit├ęcnica in Venezuela, an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Florida. Dr. Anzalone also performed Postdoctoral Research at USF in Materials and Biomaterials. He has over 22 years of experience in teaching and administration in higher education at four different institutions. He has been Chair of Chemical Engineering, Founding Director of a Sponsored Research Office and Program Manager for Engineering Technology. He has also been President of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) Puerto Rico Chapter and standing Co-Chair of the Engineering Technology Forum. He has taught over 36 different courses at the Associate, Bachelor and Master level, and has participated in curriculum reform in several institutions.

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Dr. Alessandro Anzalone to his new leadership role at Brandon and HCC!