From the Executive Director’s Desk. Mark Your Calendar for 2016 Manufacturing Day in Florida!

Friday, October 7, Manufacturing Day 2016, is a BIG day and is just around the corner! Do
you have a plan? We at FLATE do as we are excited to be planning for another BIG year of student tours to manufacturing facilities all across Florida. Why do we do this? To answer this question, it might be time to step back and reflect on what the “hype” is all about. For us at FLATE, it’s not necessarily about having the highest numbers of “events” in a state (although we love that when it happens and it has happened for the past three years!). It’s really all about providing our students with a rich and meaningful career exploration experience. Manufacturing Day has also been a great way to bring national attention to the industry in our state that directly supports nearly 350,000 Floridians with high wage, high skill jobs and careers. It also has been a great way to bring parents and communities across Florida together to learn about the manufacturing industry and its huge impact on our state’s economy.

Impact on the communities, parents and the world outside of Florida stems from the many and varied planned and spontaneous events across Florida, but particularly from the “Made in Florida” manufacturing tours our students take to celebrate MFG Day. For the past four years, FLATE has coordinated student tours around Florida in close partnership with colleges, regional and statewide manufacturers, manufacturing associations, economic development organizations and independent individuals who have stepped in to help get our youth exposed to the manufacturing industry. Last year, FLATE and its many regional and statewide partners provided “Made in Florida” Manufacturing Day tours for over 5,000 Florida students (read more about the impact & data on

Post even survey responses from over 2,000 of those students endorse the effort as being impactful. From a national perspective, a recent report by the Manufacturing Institute, SkillsUSA and the Educational Research Center of America reinforces the results of our student tour surveys. This report reveals that a whopping 64% of student respondents (N >20,000) said that their own interest/own experiences was the #1 influencer on their career pathway. You can view the full report online.

FLATE promotes the following “recipe” for successful “Made in Florida” student tours, and provides opportunities for everyone to support our students’ experiences in various ways:
  • Manufacturers/MFG Companies can host student tours, provide pizza lunch and giveaways, provide job opportunities, and sponsor MFG DAY-FL T-shirts 
  • Schools and school districts can identify schools and programs, underwrite bus transportation and provide teacher substitutes 
  • Regional Manufacturers Associations & Other organizations can help identify manufacturing tour hosts, sponsor MFG-DAY T-shirts, help with government proclamations 
  • EVERYONE can promote MFG DAY in all media venues 
  • Teachers/Educators can provide manufacturing lessons before and after tours 
  • FLATE helps to coordinate companies and schools, responds to inquirers, distributes, collects and analyzes student tour surveys; develops student t-shirt design and organizes shirt sponsors, posts news stories and events, posts tour host tips and provides one-on-one help for new company hosts
Buy-in for this statewide celebration of manufacturing has been amazing. Awesome events and
contagious enthusiasm all amplify the impact on our student “tourists”. If we want to help fill the skills gap, we need to continue to encourage our youth to explore a “path less taken,” and consider becoming manufacturing STEM professionals. In 2016, Florida now has a variety of robust career pathways that start at the middle and high school level, and continue in our technical, state and community colleges as well as our four- year universities. The A.S. degree in Engineering Technology is the key connector of many of the pathways and is offered in 19 of our two-year degree granting institutions. Additionally, many manufacturing education programs now offer some kind of workplace experience as a required, or elective component/class.

Join us in the celebration! Start with a tour of our websites where you will find Florida-specific resources and information: and Download a high resolution image file of our logo here; and a Printable MFG DAY-FL posterL24’x36”) here. You can also contact me, Marilyn Barger at, or any of us on the FLATE team (Danielly Orozco-Cole, and Janice Mukhia, Also take a moment to read the rest of the stories in this edition of the FLATE Focus.

Focus On FLATE Operations – A Closer View: SIPOC is not a Mythology Monster, Its A Nationally Recognized Evaluation Tool

Last month we touched upon this topic with a focus on the operational aspect of FLATE and what it takes to establish an effective/seamless organizational structure. This month we take a look at the same topic from an evaluation standpoint. The Florida Sterling Model (the Baldridge Model in Florida, drives FLATE’s Evaluation Plan. The path for FLATE’s success is an evaluation structure that keeps FLATE off of the winding yellow brick road, but straight on a route to accomplishing FLATE objectives successfully. The SIPOC, or the Supplier, Input, Process, Output/Outcome, Customer/Stakeholder tool is FLATE’s key tool for that journey.

Imbedded within the SIPOC is FLATE’s Strategic Hierarchy (Click here for more info). This Hierarchy defines Sterling’s Activity, Program, and Organization levels in ascending order. The base level, Activity Level, is where all of FLATE’s projects are executed, and monitored. Project governance is within the Program Level. The centrist role belongs to the Organization Level. This Activity Level through Program Level to Organization Level hierarchy directs all of FLATE’s energy and resources toward success with the Center’s goals. Effectiveness Measures quantitatively indicate project impact (Click here for more info ). This Sterling structure also comfortably houses FLATE's Logic Model.

FLATE's Logic Model is an EvaluATE style model that is included in FLATE’s SIPOC tool. (The tinted four columns rectangular “frame” within the SIPOC figure illustrated above.) Inputs from FLATE stakeholders enable FLATE work systems (processes) as evaluated from effectiveness measure data to produce outputs that lead to the successful Outcomes (grant goals). Logic Model Outcomes also provide specific and global information for the Leadership Team and NSF-ATE’s program manager to assess the ultimate impact of all grant Outcomes.

In summary FLATE’s Sterling structured Evaluation Plan guides the Center by providing:

  • A data analysis and information structure that evaluates process and performance improvement activity for 
    • Greater effectiveness in accomplishing strategies and meeting goals.
    • Higher satisfaction in meeting customer and stakeholder needs and requirements.
  • A factual basis for determining performance in all aspects of operations.
  • A foundation for decision-making aligned with FLDOE, FLATE and NSF objectives.
There are 2 interdependent elements associated with FLATE’s evaluation: 
  • Implementation Evaluation, which analyzes operational strengths and weaknesses of the FLATE organization and its capability to accomplish its strategies, objectives, and goals. 
  • Impact Evaluation, which analyzes various types of data collected at Activity, Program, and Organizational levels to validate FLATE performance with respect to goals and objectives to strive for improvement in work streams, systems, and processes.

Camp Hones High School Students’ STEM & Entrepreneurial Skills

FLATE’s high school camp, which marks the end of the summer camp season, ended on a high
note with campers raving about the knowledge they gained during the camp. The high school camp traditionally follows a very different format in terms of the curriculum and structure when compared to the intro and intermediate camp. The Camp affords high school students a much wider and in-depth perspective about STEM concepts, and how it is integrated and applied in everyday high-tech manufacturing operations using 3D printers, programming, and robots. “I know massive amounts of programming, but this camp still challenged me” said Ian Cooper. Cameron Willson another camper agreed in that he stated “I have learned MORE in this camp than I ever learned in the three years of high school robotics.”

A key and defining aspect of FLATE’s high school camp, and what made it remarkable for

campers, wasn’t only the challenges, or the programming, or using 3D printers, but a strong emphasis on the business side of manufacturing. Since 2015, FLATE has been partnering with Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs, a nonprofit foundation offering manufacturing camps, scholarships for students and grants for STEM educators, to formulate a curriculum that showcases the connection between the business aspects of manufacturing and how manufacturers can and/or are already using expertise of STEM professionals to market lucrative products and ideas. This year the Manufacturing Alliance of Hillsborough County also partnered with FLATE to offer scholarships for FLATE campers. Allan Dyer, high school camp instructor who played a leading role in formulating the curriculum for FLATE, stated the camp once again served a critical role in connecting the dots between robotics, additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

The five day camp took students on an in-depth exploration of some of the hottest

technologies used in high-tech production environments. For students like Jessica Clavell, who was one of two girls in the high school camp and aspires to be the first woman archaeologist in Mars, the challenges and exercises fired her innate interest in STEM and robotics. Students worked in teams to “figure out” how to program an Arduino microprocessor to operate servo motors and used additive manufacturing processes to design a functional robotic arm. They also brainstormed ideas about the “manufacturing process” and what really goes into “manufacturing a product.” The ultimate goal was to design a prototype of a robotic arm that could potentially be marketed to companies like SpaceX that are invested in space explorations and futuristic colonization plans in space. Thanks to the NBT Grant, campers also got to keep the Arduino microprocessors and the 3D printed components and servo motors.

To get a first-hand perspective on how some of these 3D printing and additive manufacturing 
technologies that are being used in real-world settings, students viewed an online presentation from Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Students also toured the Tampa offices of EMS-USA, a leading full service provider of commercial 3D printing and 3D scanning solutions to customers across a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, military, consumer goods and more. (Source: EMS). “The 212 mile drive from Jaxville was definitely worth it” said Neel Mistry. Prior to coming to this camp, Neel stated he had only seen a finished product made in a 3D printer, but attending this camp and getting first-hand experience on how a 3D printer is programmed and can be used to manufacture an actual product made it more exciting for him. Alyssa Ramos, who was one of two girls in the high school camp also stated that she was always interested in engineering, but the camp reinforced her interest in the field.

The high school camp provided a 360 degree perspective about manufacturing and the
technologies at play in making of a product. A preliminary oral interview conducted by FLATE revealed highly positive responses from campers. “The camp has definitely changed my opinion of manufacturing and to explore a career in that field” said Ian Cooper. Another camper, Jessica Clavell, who aspires to be an astronaut, stated the camp gave her a better perspective about the processes and infrastructure in manufacturing a product, and she sees herself being involved in manufacturing at some point in her career. “I wasn’t sure about a career in manufacturing, but attending this camp has solidified my decision about going into manufacturing” said Cameron Willson. A summary of the final data and impact of the camps on students will be provided in a subsequent issue of the FLATE Focus. Stay tuned for those updates including data analysis/impact from statewide camps. 

For more information on the high school camp contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at You can also visit, and, or the FLATE Wiki to access other educator/student resources. 

FLATE High School Robotics Camp Serves as a Model for North Carolina Educator to Emulate

FLATE’s robotics camps have served as an effective Segway to stir students’ interest in Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. While the central focus of the camps are surely on middle and high school students, the Camps have also served as a best practice for many educators and educational institutions to replicate and follow. Over the years FLATE has been contacted by various STEM professionals and educators inquiring about our model. Earlier this summer FLATE was contacted by Constance Keen at Wake Technical Community College (WTCC) in North Carolina.

Keen, who is the instructor for electronics engineering technology in the Applied Engineering Technology division at WTCC, has been hosting a summer robotics camp for middle school students for the past two years, but was looking to expand the program to include a curriculum for a high school robotics camp. That’s when she stumbled upon the FLATE robotics camps, and was on site at FLATE in July. Here are some of Professor Keen’s observations and how she plans to implement the program at WakeTech.

I observed the last day of the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs high school robotics camp. Using a robotic arm built from four 3D printed pieces, three servo motors, and an Arduino Uno microcontroller board, students were introduced to mechanical design with Solidworks, electronic control through Arduino programming, and project management through a “funny money” budget by which they had to account for each screw, wire, and zip tie they used in their project. The robot arm, which was designed by a group of engineers at St. Petersburg College, is an elegantly simple solution to the problem of a robotics project that represents the variety of disciplines involved in robotics and is also interesting, challenging, and doable for high school students in a five day camp.

Each student had a robot arm to build and program, but worked in groups of two

to build two arms. The basic challenge was to have the arm pick up and move a ping pong ball from one spot to another, but after students conquered that, they had the challenge of passing the ball from one arm to another, which added a whole new level of design in getting two controllers coordinating operations. In addition to the robot arm project, the students toured a 3D printing company (EMS) and learned about entrepreneurship.

I was impressed by the quality of the activities and teaching in the camp. I also was impressed by the level of industry and community support, as evidenced by the sponsor logos on the camp T-shirts and by Mr. Allan Dyer, high school robotics camp teacher’s, listing of tours, speakers, and support work provided to the camp through the years. Thank you to Alan Dyer for graciously sharing his time and experience in the camps with me. Thank you to the FLATE staff for the newsletter that I have been reading for the past year that prompted my visit, and for their kind response to my request. I am returning to North Carolina eager to implement ideas I saw in action here. 

For more information on the FLATE robotics camps contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at, or visit and

First Robotics Camp at NFCC & Regional Camps Kicks off to a Great Start

North Florida Community College recently hosted their first robotics camp for middle school
students, modeled after the FLATE robotics camps. NFCC was the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant in spring of 2016. The grant’s principal focus, according to Bill Eustace, instructor of the Automation & Production Technology program at NFCC, was to promote and offer dual enrollment opportunities for juniors and seniors from regional service district high schools into the Automation and Production Technology program offered at NFCC. One of the portions of the grant was also to involve students with summer camps/workshops. “Our goal is to have students completed with the course curriculum and have the opportunity to earn the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential by the time they graduate” said Eustace.

Kick off for the first robotics camp at NFCC using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robot core kits was

July 25. “Being very new to these robotic kits, this was key to our being able to put on a very successful camp” said Eustace. A total of 12 campers worked in teams of two. Students learned about working as a team, respect for others, collaborating and sharing ideas, math and engineering principles to determine how far a robot would travel with one wheel rotation, problem solving to initiate turns with the robots, and many more skills they would need to make them successful both during the camp and in their daily lives.

Following the camp several students also signed up for the dual enrollment opportunities offered this semester at NFCC. “We are off to a great start, and I feel confident that future camps will be as fun and educational as this summer’s camp” said Eustace. For more information on the NFCC robotics camp email Bill Eustace at

In addition to the robotics camp at NFCC, the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

(IHMC) Center in Ocala, which has hosted camps for many year modeled after the FLATE program, offered three summer camps for middle school students, two at the intro level, and one at the intermediate level. IHMC in Pensacola also hosted a similar camp for the FIRST time earlier this summer. 

Dale Toney at Marion Technical Institute and Steven Roberts from Liberty Middle School, hosted a robotics camp for 14 middle school students at Marion Technical Institute in Ocala, Fla. During the camp students learned about remote control robots, how to solder circuit boards, made their own 3-D coins. They also took a field trip to E-One, attended the Marion Regional Manufacturers Association¹s monthly meeting, and toured the College of Central Florida¹s Engineering Department. Other regional camps included one at St. Petersburg College, and the Peterson Academy in Jacksonville.

For information on the FLATE robotics camps and STEM related programs for middle and high school students contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at, or visit and You can also refer to the FLATE Camp Best Practice guide to get tips on how to start your own robotics camps in your region.

sTEm–at-Work Puzzle #54: Signal Analysis for a Resistance based Temperature Sensor

A Mechatronics Tech has a strong background in electrical circuits and knows what to expect when AC signals are used to measure sensor response data, or send signals to control a motor. The illustration below shows the typical practice of presenting three different AC signal forms related to the sensor performance on the same time axis. The Tech knows that one period of each of these sine wave signals is 4 seconds. The Plot Legends indicate that the red dotted curve represents the current and the blue curve in the middle is the voltage signal. The Tech knows that the top purple curve could represent the power calculation for the voltage and current signals shown. The Tech also knows that a specific power value is the product of the current and voltage value at that specified time. In the specific situation below, the Tech knows that the three plots are in phase; the current measured values are identical to the value of applied current (values not shown) through the sensor; the current and voltage values are positive between 10:01:01 AM and 10:01:03 AM; and the temperature changes if the sensor's resistance value changes. Therefore, the Tech also knows that in this situation, the temperature being monitored is constant. 

Do the three plots below represent what the Technician expects to see in this constant temperature situation? Yes or NO

Submit your answers below the blog, or on

Nominate a #MFGWoman Today for the 2017 STEP Awards

It is that time of the year when you can nominate prominent women in STEM for the
Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead Awards. Nominations will close October 7, 2016. Click here to submit a nomination today! The STEP Ahead program, now in its fifth year marks, “an incredible milestone in encouraging women into manufacturing careers.” This national honor identifies the ‘best of the best women’ in manufacturing, said Jennifer McNelly, Executive Director of the Manufacturing Institute who also heads the STEP Ahead Awards program.

Here in Florida, since the advent of the STEP Ahead awards there has been a significant number of STEP Awardees who have continue to serve as a beacon and role model for Florida's young women who are interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing and/or at STEM-related field. Over the years, FLATE has taken an active role in partnering with the Manufacturing Institute to promote the program in Florida. To that effect FLATE has published several articles in the FLATE newsletter blog highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of these remarkable women in STEM, and their role in paying it forward to the next generation of women and girls in STEM. This year, the STEP Ahead theme will focus on impact and how the program has managed to build an army of 500+ women making a difference within the industry. “By sharing these stories, we bring awareness to the opportunities within manufacturing and the progress we’ve made the past 5 years” said McNelly. It further encourages women to mentor and support the next generation of female talent to pursue manufacturing careers.

The Manufacturing Institute launched the STEP Ahead initiative in 2012 to celebrate women in
manufacturing that are making a difference through advocacy, mentorship, engagement, promotion and leadership. The STEP Ahead Awardees are part of a network of women ambassadors who serve as leading examples of women in manufacturing. Don’t miss the opportunity to recognize a leading woman from your company. Nominations will close October 7, 2016. Click here to nominate today!

For more information on STEP Awardees visit the Manufacturing Institute’s Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead program page. For FLATE’s STEM-based programs for women and girls contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at, or read the “Recruiting & Retaining Girls in STEM” Best Practice guide.

Manufacturers Mixer Offers an Innovative Approach to Finding Fresh Talent

The writing is on the wall. Manufacturers here in Florida and across the nation are constantly
on the lookout to find skilled workers. Recent headlines are increasing focus on the aging workforce and its overall impact on the manufacturing industry. Given this ongoing quest to recruit and retain fresh talent, Kelly Engineering Resources here in the Tampa Bay region recently came up with an innovative approach to possibly build a crosswalk between potential hires looking for jobs and manufacturers looking to fill new positions. Dubbed the “Kelly Intern Mixer” by Kelly Services, a national workforce and staffing solutions company, the model mimics many “speed dating” shows that infest primetime television of late. Nevertheless, the event provided a new approach to finding fresh talent for local manufacturers here in the Tampa Bay area.

The Intern Mixer was attended by 17 local manufacturers and manufacturing organizations, and attracted approximately 75 students, mainly graduates and soon-to-be graduate students, from the University of South Florida (USF), USF Polytechnic in Lakeland, Hillsborough Community College, Pasco Hernando State College, St. Petersburg College, University of Central Florida, and even engineering students at Middleton High School. FLATE Principal Investigators, Dr. Marilyn Barger and Dr. Richard Gilbert were also present at the event, and got to meet local students face-to-face to provide insight about the A.S. degree in engineering technology, and the educational and career pathways available to them once they graduate from college. “It’s a simple format” said James Shedden, Engineering Products Manager at Kelly Engineering Resources in Tampa. The event is hosted twice a year, in Fall and Spring, and is sponsored by professional engineering organizations and represents a cohesive partnership between Kelly Engineering Resources and organizations like ASME, IEEE and SME.

The lightning round of the event focused on manufacturers meeting one-on-one with a student
to provide an overview of the company and a profile of jobs available to them that matches their skills set. The students in turn got to meet manufacturers/potential employees face-to-face, network with them, and get a first-hand perspective on real-world jobs and skills that employers and manufacturers are looking for once they graduate, or they could focus their attention on while in school. “Sometimes the discussions culminate into a job/internship offer and each year we have two-four job offers” said Shedden, but the overarching idea is for students to network with industry professionals.

Metrics for success were gauged not only by strength in attendance, but also by the “quality
time” each student got to spend with each manufacturer. “It’s not a job fair” said Shedden, rather it’s more intimate whereby every manufacturer gets to meet and talk with four students individually. The biggest takeaway for students was the opportunity to meet industry professionals who have a stake in the engineering community, and want to give a hands-up to engineering students as they seek to pursue/complete their engineering degree. “Our hope is that industry and students alike saw the value of networking…as there are surprising number of engineering students who are still un/underemployed, and getting their first job offer is vital to their success” Shedden said. He also looks forward to building inroads with organizations like FLATE and Hillsborough Community College’s engineering technology program in leveraging the effectiveness of Kelly’s Engineering Future’s Project that matches recent and underemployed engineering graduates with local manufacturers. “Many of our customers are looking to hire someone with hands-on experience” said Shedden. To that effect, he sees a promising opportunity to work with FLATE and the Engineering Program at HCC in hiring ET graduates…a win-win situation for students and prospective employees/manufacturers.

For more information on Kelly Engineering Resources contact Engineering Products Manager, James Shedden at For a portfolio of FLATE’s industry-education partnership resources refer to the FLATE Partnership Best Practices Guide at, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at