FLATE’s Executive Director Discusses the Role of Innovation in the Workplace

On November 9, 2017, FLATE partnered with the Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and
Economic Education at the University of South Florida (USF) to present a workshop focused on the role of innovation in the workplace for all members of the workforce. The workshop program was entitled “Design Thinking and Decision Making: Creating the Entrepreneurial MINDSET Students Need to Succeed in the Global Economy.” A panel of six of FLATE’s Tampa Bay industry partners shared how and why their companies encouraged creativity and innovation for all employees and what businesses in the 21st century expect from all workers. The panelists started with brief introductions about themselves, their companies and products they make, or services they provide to industry. Following those introductions, the 30 plus K-12 educators from the Tampa Bay region eagerly quizzed the panel members about what their students could expect in the modern workplace, how much and how they used 3D printing, and how employees work together. They also asked for tips on how to help students acquire these kinds of skills.

All the panelists emphasized that employees, up and down the company’s organizational chart

are expected to contribute to “continuous improvement” by thinking “outside the box” and finding solutions to both simple and complex problems. Students from a young age should be encouraged to take the “tools” they learn in school and apply them to new situations, new problems, and new ideas. The session went on for nearly 90 minutes with panelists encouraging the educators to challenge students to be inventive, take their students out into the workplace, bring employers to the classrooms, and to keep talking with different employers and employees. After the panel session, the Stavros Center team shared a number of resources for educators on design thinking that could be easily incorporates into their classrooms. Information on these resources can be accessed here.

In their session evaluation forms the educators raved about the energy and passion expressed by all the panel members. “This has been one of the BEST workshops I have attended! Every panel member and speaker had some perspective on innovation and creativity that will fit every grade level,” was just one of those very positive comments. We definitely appreciate the panelist sharing pieces of their everyday work lives with these teachers.

Al Card
Southern Manufacturing Technologies
Quality Engineer / Six Sigma Black-belt
Joe Paciella
Southern Manufacturing Technologies
Production Supervisor / Manager
Peter Cirak
Seal Dynamics
Quality Assurance Director
Reese Thompson
Adams Air & Hydraulics, Inc.
Vice President
Ken Jurgensmeyer
MiTek USA Tampa Stamping Plant
Director of Manufacturing Operations
Paul Schnitzler

College of Engineering, USF
Retired Senior Telecommunications Management Bell and RCA Laboratories

For FLATE, educating all K-12 teachers, especially the non-STEM teachers is an important recruitment strategy. Most teachers who are not in STEM fields know little about STEM occupations and careers, or the growing number of opportunities that will be available for their students for high-skill, high-wage STEM careers including those in manufacturing. Arming these teachers with real world information, contacts and examples helps them to provide real education and employment options to their students.

FLATE and the Stavros Center are now planning to take this workshop “on the road” to bring

manufacturers to teachers in other Tampa Bay counties next spring with the same focus on innovation in the workplace. The mission of the Stavros Center is to advance the effective teaching and integration of free enterprise, financial literacy, and economic education into the K-20 curricula. The Stavros Center is now in its 38th year at USF. FLATE’s mission as an NSF-ATE Regional Center for Advanced Technological Education, is to be the go-to organization for manufacturing and advanced technical education, best practices and resources supporting the high performance skilled workforce for Florida’s manufacturing sectors. Together we are working help teachers better prepare today’s students for the future. For more information on FLATE and its extensive array of professional development and curriculum resources visit the FLATE Wiki and the Made in Florida website, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org/813.259.6578.

I now invite you to read the rest of the stories in this special holiday edition of the FLATE Focus. Don't forget to take a stab at cracking this month's special "#RudolphEdition" of the sTEm puzzle! (Spoiler Alert: It's hilarious!) We’d love to hear from you so be sure to drop us a comment below the blog post(s), or connect with us socially on Facebook and LinkedIn, or Tweet us @Made_InFlorida using the hashtag of the month #IndustryEducationPatnerships. From all of us at FLATE have a holly, jolly Christmas and a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2018!

Databytes from 2017 Manufacturing Day/Month in Florida

Every year as October rolls around manufacturers in Florida and across the country come
together to celebrate, what is dubbed as, the biggest event to mark the strength and excellence in American manufacturing. Those of you who have been involved and/or been following MFG Day over the years, are aware that MFG Day/Month is BIG in Florida. Florida held the #1 spot for a number of years in hosting and organizing MFG Month industry tours and events. Since the inception of MFG Day in 2013, MFG Day has been a statewide cohesive effort with FLATE initially taking a leading role in formulating a statewide strategy for MFG Day/Month. This effort enabled Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs), School Districts, Government and Community Organizations to collectively assume the role of MFG Day coordinators, and built in-roads for them to take on the task of hosting and/or organizing MFG Day industry tours and events.

Here in Florida, Manufacturing Day is not just a one day event; it is a month-long celebration that is marked by industry tours, career fairs and open houses with many cities and counties across the state issuing proclamations to mark the kick off of MFG Day/Month. 2017 marked the first year as Regional Manufacturers Associations and Regional Coordinators across the state took the drivers’ seat in formulating and implementing a regional MFG Day strategy that was customized to suit the regional interests of manufacturers. This year with hurricane Irma hurtling down the state right around the kick off of MFG Day, many tours had to be rescheduled and/or cancelled. Then too, initial reports from across the state suggest there was widespread support of and participation in MFG Day/Month across the sunshine state.

Let’s take a closer look at stats and figures from 2017 MFG Day/Month industry tours.

Databytes from MFG Day

This year there were 159 tours and events for MFG Day/Month, out of which 148 were industry
tours and 11 were MFG Day events. And for the first time since the advent of MFG Day in 2013, Pasco and Hernando counties also offered five virtual tours of Alcoa—the world’s sixth largest producer of aluminum. In terms of students and educators, nearly 4,300 middle and high school students, 223 educators, 111 parents/chaperones from 149 middle and high schools in 32 Florida counties toured approximately 132 industry sites as part of the “Made in Florida” industry tours for 2017 MFG Day/Month.

On the local level, in Hillsborough County 439 students and 30 educators, parents/chaperones

from 13 middle and high schools toured eight industry sites for MFG Day/Month. In Pasco-Hernando County approximately 330 students from 16 schools toured 22 industry sites. In Polk County 307 students, 32 educators, parents/chaperones from 15 schools toured 14 industry sites, while in Pinellas County 271 students and 22 educators, parents/chaperones from eight middle and high schools toured 10 industry sites for MFG Day/Month. Counties and cities across Florida issued proclamations marking Oct. 6 as MFG Day and October as MFG Month.

Post MFG Survey Results

A defining component of MFG Day/Month, one that is exclusive to Florida, is the initiative spearheaded by FLATE to survey ALL MFG Month participants across the state. This year the RMAs took a leading role in surveying statewide industry hosts, educators, tour guides and students participating in the Made in Florida industry tours. FLATE took a leading role in providing resources and materials and posting them on the FLATE Wiki and the Made in Florida MFG Day page, to support RMAs, school district and regional organizations’ MFG Day initiatives. These included pre and post surveys, MFG Day posters, curriculum geared to support educators in their quest to get students engaged in MFG Day and excited about STEM related careers in manufacturing.

In looking at the preliminary post event tour surveys, a total of 2,567 student surveys were

received and tabulated. Out of the 2,567 surveys received and tabulated by FLATE, 1,064 were surveys from virtual tours at Alcoa, and 1,503 surveys from non-virtual tours across the state. Excluding the virtual tours) nearly 92% of surveyed students stated the tour helped them understand how STEM subjects are applied in advanced manufacturing industries. Over 97% of the students stated the tour helped them learn about technologies used in advanced manufacturing. Approximately 96% of surveyed students stated they would recommend other students have the same opportunity of this tour. Out of the student surveys received and tabulated by FLATE, nearly 96% said that the tour gave them new information about careers in advanced manufacturing. In taking a closer look at post event survey data and demographic breakdown, there was an approximately 85% change in girls considering a career in advanced manufacturing after the tour compared to approximately 62% boys.

Industry hosts also deemed the MIF industry tours as a valuable investment of their

company time. Of the industry tour hosts that responded to the FLATE’s surveys, 100% stated the tour was a good use of company time and resources. “Education, training and exposure is key factor in recruiting current & future workforce, and we appreciate the opportunity to be part of MFG Day” stated an industry host in a post event survey.

FLATE also surveyed educators and parents to gauge their overall experience and response to the MFG Month tours. Of the surveys received by FLATE, approximately 90% educators and parents stated they found the tour helpful in understanding Florida high-tech jobs and career opportunities. One hundred percent of the teachers/parents who responded to the online survey stated they would recommend other students have the opportunity to participate in a Made in Florida industry tour, and same percentage agreeing to promote a career in advanced manufacturing for students.

Social Footprints

Socially MFG Day was once again a hit with many organizations including FLATE posting
frequent updates and tweets across our social networking platforms. This year FLATE and FloridaMakes partnered with NIST to conduct a Facebook Live session to mark the kick-off of MFG Day/Month. Live videos were streamed from Southern Manufacturing Technologies on the Made in Florida Facebook page and was streamed for a national audience. NIST is currently working on compiling a video of national organizations that participated in the Facebook Live session. We will post the video on our website and/or social sites….so stay tuned!

Even as Manufacturing Month has concluded, tours and events are still being hosted through

December. Updated stats will be provided in upcoming editions of the FLATE Focus. MFG Month is special for manufacturers in Florida and across the nation as it provided a platform to showcase local, regional and statewide manufacturing to statewide stakeholders. Manufacturers, school districts, regional manufacturers’ associations, professional organizations, and many individuals contributed to make this a successful endeavor. FLATE would like to once again thank all partners involved for making 2017 Manufacturing Month a grand success!

For more information on FLATE’s statewide strategy for manufacturing day/month visit www.mfgday-fl.com. To host/organize a Made in Florida industry tour for your students, and other STEM-related initiatives during the regular academic year, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, or at 813.259.6578.

FLATE's Role in Florida's Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Creation

FLATE continues its partnership efforts with FloridaMakes to be the driving point for manufacturing education excellence. As indicated in our October edition of the FLATE Focus, a three pronged manufacturing situation reality is still the challenge to be dealt with:

  • Baby boomers are leaving the technical workforce taking their valuable experience
    and skills with them. 
  • Technology is changing pace exponentially and at no other time has technical innovation moved so quickly into the manufacturing sector.
  • High skilled related manufacturing is moving back to the U.S. creating an even bigger demand on the manufacturer workforce needs.

Although these issues magnify the skills gap problem Florida manufacturers face, they also mask the inherent nature of this skills gap. 

The Engineering Colleges within the Florida University System produce national accredited B.S. Degree Engineering program graduates that are well qualified to support advanced manufacturing facilities in Florida. Even with this well qualified talent pool development, these colleges deal with an inherent lag with respect to providing manufactures with engineering graduates that have the skills needed to address the ever changing challenges generated by new technologies insert into the manufacturing sector.

This skills gap generation is broadened and accented when dealing with the technical workforce

preparation that is the responsibility of Florida’s education structure below the engineering degree delivery level. Manufacturing supportive technical programs that are housed within the Florida College System are by their nature supported by evidence of employment for their graduates. The state and community colleges in Florida do not initiate new programs of study unless there is a verifiable indication by manufacturers within their service region that those graduates are immediately employable. The technical education provided within the state’s technical college and high school academy framework have the same built in lag. Thus, there is an inherent knowledge and skills gap (lag) between what a manufacture needs and what Florida’s education system can deliver. However, that does not mean that this gap cannot be systematically reduced. That reduction action alone will increase Florida’s manufacturing efficiency and raise its competitive profile nationally and internationally.

This systematic reduction of the gap between manufacturers’ need of its technical workforce due to the ever increasing rate of new technologies additions to manufacturing floor and the skills Florida's education system is installing into future members of that workforce is exactly the heart of the FloridaMakes-FLATE partnership. FLATE is now using NSF awarded transition funds to combine with FloridaMakes resources to focus on manufacturing workforce development. Specific partnership projects include:

  • A.S. Degree technician education industry recognized credentials that complement recognized apprenticeship programs. 
  • High School Manufacturing Academy program promotion. 
  • A.S. Degree and CTE faculty and program support. 
  • Faculty subject matter expert network available to industry for focused manufacturing training. 

The goal is to create a synergy that increases critical interactions between manufacturers and this supportive manufacturing education infrastructure. More intense manufacturing interaction triggers previously unused (or perhaps unknown) communication channels that will bring knowledge of manufacturer's new technology workforce skill needs directly to the attention of the programs that produce the workforce that will work with those technologies. FLATE can then insert the appropriate direct interventions within the multilevel manufacturing education infrastructure to address the identified gap. 

FLATE's ease of interaction at any level of manufacturing education within the state's education structure is one of the most important long term legacies that NSF has provided to Florida.
Recognition of this quality and FLATE-FloridaMakes partnership effort and its potential to Florida manufacturing is growing. FloridaMakes is committed to FLATE’s continuation. In addition, the Florida legislature is aware of this effort. State Representative Jason Fishcer with co-sponsorship support from Florida State Senator Ken Perry have introduced a bill, HB 2737, that recognizes the need for the high-wage career paths the manufacturing sector offers as well as manufacturing's contribution to Florida's efforts to build a strong and diversified economy. The objectives of their bill dovetail with the intent of our partnership with FloridaMakes. As direct FLATE funding from NSF-ATE continues to phase out, resources for FLATE must come from partnership interactions that draw needed support from other sources (e.g., HB 2727). Thus, we encourage readers to speak to FLATE's value to the manufacturing community as well as the Florida Legislature members. Communication in support of HB2737 represents one way to do that.

For more information about FLATE and its ongoing initiatives in support of manufacturing education and training in Florida visit www.fl-ate.org, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org. 

Nominations Open for the 2018 Distinguished Manufacturing Service Recognition Program FLATE Awards

The Florida Advanced Technological Education center-FLATE together with the Florida
Association for Industrial and Technical Education, FAITE*, are working together for the 2018 recognition program. FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Service Recognition Program, now hosted by FAITE, 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.

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 FAITE. The awards committee reserves the right to select award recipients that do not meet FACTE’s membership requirements.


  • 2018 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award (see award criteria)
  • 2018 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award (see award criteria)
  • 2018 FLATE Distinguished Partner Manufacturing Service Award (see award criteria)

Awards Timeline – see flyer

  • December, 2017 – Awards criteria published at fl-ate.awards and FACTE.org
  • April 13, 2018 – Online Nomination form I . To be completed by nominators. 
  • May 1, 2018 – Online Nomination form II . To be completed by nominees. 
  • May 1, 2018 – Nominations close.
  • May 31, 2018 – Award selections are made by FLATE IAC and FAITE award Committee.
  • June 4, 2018 – Award recipients and principal nominators are notified of their selection. 
  • July 17, 2018 – Awards presented during The 52 nd Annual FACTE Conference & Trade Show held at ChampionsGate, 8575 White Shark Blvd. Championsgate, FL 33896

For more information about FLATE Awards visit FL-ate.org and FACTE.org

Record Number of ATE Centers & Projects Attend the Annual NSF ATE PI Conference

The American Association of Community Colleges with the support of the National Science Foundation held the 24th National ATE Principal Investigators Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. This year the conference brought together approximately 850 participants representing community colleges, business and industry, secondary school systems, and four-year colleges. The theme/main focus of the conference was on the critical issues related to advanced technological education.

This year 39 ATE Centers, including FLATE, participated in the show case session where there

were approximately 199 booths with NSF sponsored projects. The Showcase sessions provided grantees an opportunity to exhibit their projects, products and share information about their programs, mission and vision. Florida was very well represented with projects from Lake Sumter State College - Enhancing an Energy Technology Associate Degree Program to Meet Employer Needs; North Florida Community College - Manufacturing Certifications for Rural HS students through Community College Dual Enrollment; Palm Beach State College - Increasing graduates in STEM discipline with the InnovATE project; St. Johns River State College - Enhancing Critical Reasoning in Computer Education; Seminole State College of Florida – EMERGE: Establishing a Means for Effective Renewable/Green Energy; University of South Florida - PathTech LIFE Engineering Technology National Survey; and Valencia College - Broadening Education, Access, and Momentum (BEAM) in Energy Management and Controls Technology.

FLATE has been involved with several other organizations, grant projects, and institutions to work on projects that are synergistic and supportive of our focused goals and objectives. In addition to the showcase, FLATE participated in two interactive and substantive discussions panel sessions: the PathTech LIFE National Survey and the Emerging Trends in Mechatronics Education.

The PathTech LIFE: Informing Targeted Research and Best Practices seeks to understand how

student learning, interests, family, and employment (LIFE) experiences impact enrollment and retention. During the session attendees had the opportunity to discuss how targeted research findings can be applied to program development and administration. Updates on findings from the PathTech LIFE national surveys were provided and included some of the most important student motivations for entering advanced technology programs. More information about the national survey visit will be provided and posted on the project website at a future date. At the end of the session participants had the opportunity to discuss strategies for conducting the survey in their colleges, discussed best practices for designing research programs aimed at understanding student pathways, and finally debated how research can inform program policy and best practices.

Emerging Trends in Mechatronics Education, 2017 has been full of “mechatronics” activities for FLATE and its partners not only in Florida, but across the country. During the PI Conference,

FLATE had the opportunity to put together a very distinguished panel which included Doug Pauley, Central Community College, Grand Island, NE; Margie Porter, College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL; Dan Horine, Virginia Western Community College; Roanoke, VA; Hunter Moore, Piedmont Virginia Community College; Charlottesville, VA; and Marilyn Barger, FLATE, Hillsborough Community College; Tampa, FL. This panel shared how ATE projects are working to meet the growing needs in this spectrum of industries for mechatronics, automation, and/or robotic technicians. Participants learned how these projects are improving their own programs and shared successful strategies to meet the industry’s workforce and emerging technology needs. Mechatronics is the heart of automation in many industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, food processing, precision agriculture, mining, energy production, scientific research, public utilities, transportation, materials handling, and more.

For information about the NSF ATE projects and centers visit www.atecenters.org. For information on FLATE and its partnership with other NSF ATE centers and activities contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.fl-ate.org/programs/ate-centers.

PathTech LIFE-Learning, Interests, Family, and Employment Experiences Influencing Pathways into Advanced Technologies (NSF #1501999)

Researchers from the University of South Florida’s Department of Sociology and College of

Education and the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) are conducting a national survey of individuals completing coursework, certification, and AS/AAS degrees in advanced technologies at community colleges. The purpose of this national survey, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, is to identify the characteristics of two-year college students across various technology fields, their academic pathways, career goals, and school-work-life balance issues that impact their decisions to enroll, return for further coursework, and/or pursue a certificate or degree. The information that you provide will help improve the academic and career support colleges’ offer to students completing coursework in advanced technology fields.

Technology programs include Engineering technology, Advanced manufacturing, Micro and nano technology, Energy and environmental technology. Please forward this information to colleagues responsible for your CTE and Career Pathways programs. If you have a conflict and cannot attend, please consider sending a representative.

For more information contact Will Tyson- PI, pathtech@usf.edu, and Ben Reid, ben@impactallies.com. 

sTEm–at-Work Puzzle #62: Grinch's Plan to Foil Santa's Trip Fails

Well, as you would expect, Rudolph comes to the rescue again!! 

You may not have read the lead story in the North Pole, Alaska Gazette last week but a court

has dismissed the Grinch's law suit. Yep the dude that wants to steal Christmas has been foiled again!!!! It seems that this time he wanted Santa's sled journey not to happen this year because he alleged that on last year's very first stop in Denver Colorado some Brownie Brittle snacks (destined of a stocking hung by the chimney with care) were not packaged at the North Pole nor even put in Santa's big red bag.

Luckily, Santa uses Rudolph's nose as a flashlight when he takes the stocking stuffers out of his bag. Last year, because of FAA requirements, Rudolph also had to wear a body camera. Santa's legal beagles (I don't know why the elves didn't do this) submitted the graph with the Rudolph taken attached photo shown below in Santa's defense. It was also fortunate that there were a couple members of the jury that live in Tampa and eat Florida packaged Brownie Brittle snacks on a regular basis. 

This evidence is more than enough to prove Santa’s innocence. Yes or NO. Submit your answers below the blogpost, or at www.fl-ate.org

Great American Teach-In Brings the World of Manufacturing & Robotics into the Classroom

Great American Teach-In represents a national tradition that celebrates a heritage of strategic
partnerships between industry and academia, and underlines the importance of building in-roads between businesses and education. The overarching mission of this national initiative in bringing industry into the classroom correlates with FLATE’s own mission to facilitate industry-education partnerships that are geared to give students a real-world perspective of educational credentials and technical skills needed to succeed in a global marketplace. In fact, the executive director’s article in this edition of the FLATE Focus alludes to the importance of cultivating an “entrepreneurial mindset,” and serves as an added impetus to FLATE’s sustained involvement in Great American Teach-In efforts spearheaded by local schools/school districts.

This year Janice Mukhia, Project/Outreach Manager for FLATE, was part of the Great American

Teach-In at Wimauma Academy where she spoke to nearly 300 students grades K-8 about the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, or STEM and robotics in high-tech manufacturing operations/settings. Mukhia spoke to students about the high-tech, high-skilled, high-paying careers and educational pathways in manufacturing, and showcased how robots are an integral part of manufacturing and automation. Students also learned about the world of manufacturing, the manufacturing processes behind each product that is “Made in Florida,” and were intrigued by Mukhia’s demo of Jane—FLATE’s NAO humanoid robot. Some students also tried their hand in programming the robot and were able to see first-hand the logic involved in programming a robot to perform behaviors based on sensory input. Educators were equally fascinated to learn about humanoid robots, and more importantly explore ideas and the possibility of using robots as a “curriculum tool” in getting students excited and interested about STEM and robotics.

Desh Bagley, who serves as FIRST Lego League Affiliate partner for the Central West Region

and an HCC employee, also participated in Great American Teach-In at Sheehy Elementary School in Tampa where she spoke to 17, third grade students. Bagley’s presentation focused on educational credentials needed to enter the field of robotics. Students at Sheehy Elementary also tried their hand in programming the NAO humanoid robot, and were able to see the importance of developing problem-solving and trouble shooting skills that are important in any workplace. In addition to Bagley and Mukhia, Dr. Alessandro Anzalone, Dean of the A.S programs at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon also spoke to students at Henderson Hammock Charter School in Tampa about career & technical education programs and pathways available to them both locally and across Florida.

For more information on Great American Teach-In, or for an opportunity to invite an industry

expert into the classroom to speak to your students about career pathways, contact your local School District CTE Coordinator, or read the FLATE Best Practice Guide that outlines strategies for "Forging Positive Partnerships" between industry and education. For other information on FLATE-led STEM and robotics initiatives contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org, and/or visit www.fl-ate.org and www.madeinflorida.org.

FLATE IAC Chair & HCC Alumnus Outlines His Journey to Becoming an Engineer

The Engineering Technology program at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) and FLATE, the Florida-
based, National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence at HCC in Brandon, have shared a longstanding strategic relationship in devising curriculum and professional development initiatives targeted to enrich the educational and professional experiences of faculty and students enrolled in the A.S degree in Engineering Technology (A.S.E.T). Most recently, the engineering society at HCC-Brandon invited Peter Cirak, Quality Assurance Director at Seal Dynamics, a global aerospace manufacturer in Tampa to speak about his illustrious career and give students a first-hand perspective about what it takes to succeed in a STEM-related career in manufacturing, and educational, technical and real-life skills needed to become an engineer.

Cirak embarked on his journey full of promise. As an alumna of HCC, Cirak was among the first group of honors students at HCC, and was the Founder and the first President of the Arete Honors Student Organization. He was also the founding editor of the Honors students’ newsletter, a student government senator who through these positions got the opportunity to present at state, regional and national conferences.

From serving as the co-President of the American Institute Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) at Boston

University where he earned his Bachelors and Masters degree in aerospace engineering, to pursuing the Edison Engineering Leadership Program while working at GE, to serving as Senior Quality Engineer and Director of Quality Assurance, Cirak outlined his journey to becoming an engineer and more importantly the invaluable experiences he gained at various multi-national companies. “You’re only limited by your own imagination” Cirak said. Drawing upon his own experiences both as a student and as a professional, Cirak emphasized the importance of continuous education, staying involved, and being passionate about the work they do.

Cirak also shares a close connection with FLATE in serving as a member of its National Visiting Committee and Chair of its Industrial Advisory Committee. For more information about FLATE and the two year A.S.E.T programs offered at HCC and 19 state/community colleges across Florida visit http://madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree, or contact Executive Director of FLATE Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org. To join HCC’s Engineering Society contact President of the Society, Chris Taylor at ctaylor86@hccfl.edu.

Free Resources for Engineering Technology Educators

The ETD (Engineering Technology) LISTSERV is a very active group and a great place for engineering technology educators to share resources, post educator positions, and request help! If you are not familiar and want to know more, check this website, where you will also find information on how to join and post. https://www.engtech.org/listserv.

Everyone is welcome to use the over 400 free lectures and application exercises that I have developed for electromechanical technology courses. The lectures feature both theory and illustrated example problems for DC circuit analysis, hydraulics, AC circuit analysis, motor control, motor drives, PLCs, and more. Development is ongoing and new material is regularly posted at https://www.youtube.com/user/bigbadtech. (These resources are funded in part under NSF ATE Grant # 1600434). 

If you're teaching microcontrollers, you're welcome to use these videos:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFEEC1B99A64E8437 (Tom Lombardo)


Here are videos on Digital Electronics with VHDL. I’ve been using them for several years for my in-class and on-line courses. My students have found them very helpful and you may find them useful as a supplement in your classes: https://www.youtube.com/user/billkleitz (Bill Klietz)

Mechatronics Community Exchange (MCE)

Monthly online discussions about all things mechatronics. Visit our website here: https://ate.community/MCE

Humans of Manufacturing (SME)

SME has launched Humans of Manufacturing — a new digital channel including e-newsletters, social media and a website, where manufacturing professionals will share their personal stories, while also showcasing how manufacturing today is advanced and highly valued as an industry. “We created Humans of Manufacturing to showcase everyday people who are really making things happen in manufacturing,” said Jeff Krause, chief executive officer, SME.

Join the Necessary Skills NOW Team at the 2018 FCPN Symposium

The NSF ATE Necessary Skills NOW project is hosting a pre-conference workshop on
integrating employability skills into technical programs. The workshop will be held during the 2018 FCPN (Florida Career Pathways Network) Symposium on January 10, from 12:30-4:30 p.m. During the workshop, the NSF ATE Necessary Skills Now team will share instructional modules in advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity that integrate key employability topics into technical instruction. They will also provide a template for creating customized, and discuss strategies for developing integrated lessons and partnering with employers to develop authentic scenarios for project-based learning.

Don't miss the opportunity to network with colleagues on important topics. Also sign up for the pre-conference session hosted by FLATE where we will be sharing best practices for integrating robotics in STEM disciplines. To register for the FCPN conference/sessions contact chamber@cord.org, 
r visit www.necessaryskillsnow.orgTo learn more about the FLATE Pre-Conference workshop contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org and/or visit www.fl-ate.org and the "Professional Development" resources posted on the FLATE Wiki

From the Executive Directors Desk:Daytona State College’s Statewide Articulation for ASET to to BSET

FLATE’s mission includes providing meaningful career and educational pathways for the advanced manufacturing industry sectors. This includes the entire spectrum from introducing young children to “making” to post baccalaureate STEM degrees, with our sweet spot the middle of the spectrum where we find high school students, post-secondary students in 2-year technical programs and/or technical institutions.  As educators, we know the value of education for both personal and professional growth and always encourage students to consider continuing their education to support that growth.  Obviously, it becomes easier to do this when we have smooth pathways that optimizes both their education and their experiences.

To this end, we developed credentialed-based articulations to the A.S. Engineering Technology (A.S.E.T.) to give full credit for a number of credentials thereby accelerating the time completion.  This pathway model has been adopted in many disciplines and at many college across the nation.  Now in 2017 I am excited to share the work done at Daytona State College (DSC) to establish a statewide articulation for all A.S.E.T. graduate in any of the 10 specializations at over 20 state and community colleges to the B.S. Engineering Technology (B.S.E.T.) that will go into effect early in 2018. This sounds like a “no-brainer” because there are many smooth “2+2” Associate of Arts (A.A.) to Bachelors of Arts or Science (B.A. or B.S.) degree.  However, technical degrees for which the main focus is prepare students to enter specific technical jobs upon completion not necessarily to continue to a bachelor’s degree.  Additionally, there are critical criteria that must be met for baccalaureate degrees that are set by institutional accrediting agencies, state governing boards, and discipline-specific accrediting organizations (in the case for Engineering and Engineering Technology, that organization is ABET (http://www.abet.org/). These degree attributes are not inherent with in our community of 20+ state and community colleges offering various combinations of A.S.E.T. specializations using over one hundred academic courses. Defining an agreement that would accommodate all variations truly represents a work of both art and engineering.

The A.S.E.T. is a 60-credit hour degree with 15 hours of general education and 18 hours of introductory level technical courses and 27 hours of more advanced technical course.  The B.S.E.T. will require a total of 128 hours, including all 60 earned in the A.S.E.T.  To make this possible the degree allows courses taken within the ASET to be used to fulfill General Education and lower level technical requirements of the BSET degree. Also many ASET degrees have flexibility to allow students to meet specific lower level requirements of the BSET degree such as Math and Science. With good advising students that have the long term goal of pursuing a Bachelor’s degree can do so without requiring excess hours or classes.

An additional challenge, and perhaps magic for (for those of us who live in education domain is the fact that the B.S.E.T. at DSC can be taken remotely with online and hybrid courses.  The hybrid courses have four options for completing the hands-on lab exercises: 1) Complete the exercises at Daytona State in the college labs; 2) Purchase a lab kit for the course sold through the Daytona State bookstore; 3) arrange to do the lab portions at the local A.S.E.T. degree-offering state or community colleges; or 4) arrange to complete the lab activities at a workplace with a designated proctor.   This generates many degrees of freedom for students but all of these options support efficient pathways to the B.S.E.T. degree.

Although several A.S.E.T. programs in Florida already have defined specific articulation agreements with the B.S.E.T., the new statewide agreement will allow all students who have earned their A.S.E.T. degree in Florida to continue their ET education seamlessly at DSC.  The B.S.E.T. is ABET accredited, which allows students to pursue continued education in graduate programs and professional licensure.

Interested in the B.S.E.T. degree, please contact Dr. Ron Eaglin at Daytona State College (eaglinr@daytonastate.edu).  If you want to learn more about the A.S.E.T., contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director FLATE (mbarger@hccfl.edu) or visit our ET Degree colleges webpage on www.madeinflorida.org


2017 ET Forum, Ocala Fl., College of Central Florida


The 39th state-wide Forum on Engineering Technology (ET Forum) held on September 21st and 22nd was hosted by the College of Central Florida in Ocala. Despite hurricane Irma, the forum was well attended with 33 participants and 13 FL colleges. The Forum provided ET and related discipline area faculty administrators and educators direct interaction with industry professionals, Florida Dept. of Education program supervisors to address the issues concerning our field of technical education.

The Florida Engineering Technology Leadership Council and the Engineering Technology Forum was established in April 1997 at Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College). Since 1996 the ET Forum has been hosted in 21 Colleges around Florida.

The membership includes the department heads and the leaders of the technology programs in the State of Florida. The Forum is a viable means for industry and educators across the state to meet regularly to discuss issues of the educating of tomorrow’s advanced manufacturing workforce. The Forum is building capacity in faculty across the state and securing a community of practice around manufacturing and technology education in Florida.

This year theme of this Forum was Advancing Engineering Technology and included some of new projects and updates. Thursday sessions included opportunities for collaboration with a great vendors’ panel discussion, presentation concerning a new specialization related to additive manufacturing, articulation AS to BSET update, a special tour of the College of Central Florida ET facilities and FANUC Robotics Center, the ET credentialing related to the Lumina Foundation, PathTech LIFE updates, update by the FLDOE and the partnership with FloridaMakes. On Friday morning, the Systems Integration, the College Issues Forum, and the FLATE advanced technology updates were presented.
Highlights from PathTech LIFE Spring Pilot Student Survey
A National Survey of LIFE (Learning, Interests, Family, and Employment) Experiences Influencing Pathways into Advanced Technologies. Each student who participates will receive $25 Amazon gift cards for completing the 15 minute survey. Participating colleges/programs will receive a stipend for participating ($250 for 70% response rate) and a personalized Findings Report. College-level findings report is now very attainable at only a 50% response rate.
Did you Know…
  • The average age of the 74 respondents was 29
  • 91% of the 74 respondents indicated they were male.
You can participate! Here is how!!
To register please contact Ben Reid (ben@impactallies.com) - External Communications Coordinator.
ET Forum Survey results
A total of 22 attendees responded to the survey the following:
An impressive 100% of attendees who responded to the survey said that they are planning to use the information presented at this workshop and they will use the information they have gained with a colleague or peers.
Special Thank you to the ET Forum sponsors for their generous support!

Adams Air & Hydraulics, Bluegrass Educational Technologies, Jaeger Corporation, Learning Labs, Nida Corporation, Southern Educational Systems
Presentations and material for the 2017 Fall ET forum are available online at
Made in Florida 2017 Fall ET Forum at CF

Florida Gears to Celebrate 2017 Manufacturing Day & Month

Every October Manufacturing takes center stage, as manufacturers in Florida and across the nation converge to celebrate excellence of American manufacturing. This year October 6 marks the official kick off for Manufacturing Day with widespread events scheduled to celebrate manufacturing throughout the month of October. Manufacturing Day/Month has taken a prominent role in Florida as the state has held #1 status for hosting the highest number of industry tours for students and manufacturing day events. Counties and cities across Florida have issued proclamations marking October as MFG Month. Regional manufacturers associations, schools districts, regional associations and manufacturers across Florida have once again partnered to make MFG Day a grand success. Thousands of students and educators from schools across Florida are set to participate in industry tours geared to showcase products that are “Made in Florida” as well as get an up-close look at high-skilled, high-wage careers in Florida.

Outlined below is a snapshot of some regional tours and events. A full listing of events, including survey data from MFG Day/Month will be highlighted in the winter edition of the FLATE Focus. So stay tuned!



Industry Tours

Contact Information
Hillsborough County
Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Pro-Tools, EMS USA, SignStar, Heat Pipe Technology, Sypris Electronics, Mettler Toleda Safeline
Bay Area Manufacturers Association
Upper Tampa Bay Manufacturers Association (UTBMA)
School District of Hillsborough County
Marion County
SPX, Dimension Works, R & L, Winco, FedEx, Townley, Hale, Signature Brands, Artemis Plastics, Admiral Furniture, Closet Maid, American Panel, Winco, Cheney Brothers, USA Scientific, Custom Windows, Cardinal LG
Marion Schools
Marion Regional Manufacturers Association
Northwest Florida  (Escambia, City of Pensacola, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Calhoun, Liberty County Santa Rosa, Walton, Okaloosa, and Bay Counties)
American Elite Molding (Bay State Cable Ties), Ascend, GE, Gulf Power, Eastman, Ft Walton Machining, MERRICK, Manown, Rex Lumber (Bristol, Graceville), ExxonMobil, CEREX, Maritech, West Point, Certified Manufacturing, Gelato, DRS, Strand Core, Ian-Conrad Bergan, Custom Production, Enviva, Xtreme Boats, Oren, Cape Horn, Precision Metal, Hitachi, Pegasus Laboratories, Avalex, Artistic StoneWorks, L3, GCSC, PSC, Chipola, NWFSC
Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council
Pasco & Hernando Counties
Amskills, Bay-Tech Industries, Pharmaworks, Oldcastle Coastal, Clark Dietrich, Nestle Waters, Manitowac Food, Pall Aeropower Corp, Welbilt, Leggett & Platt, TRU Simulation & Training, Inc., Facts Engineering, GETS USA, Arete, Big Storm Brewing
Alumi-Guard, West Coast Classic, Cemex, Accuform, Amskills, Qorvo, ICTC, Intrepid, Sparton, American Aviation, Monster Transmission & Performance
Florida TRADE at Pasco Hernando State College
Pinellas County
Mastercut Tools, BELAC, AMETEK, Conmed, H&S Swansons, Valpak, Mill-Rite Wood Working, Monin
Bay Area Manufacturers Association
Upper Tampa Bay Manufacturers Association
Pinellas Schools
Polk County
Saddle Creek Logistics, Key Safety Inc., Pepperidge Farm, Publix Dairy, Florida’s Natural Growers, Kegel, Inc., ITW Professional, JC Machine, Inc., Coca-Cola, MaxPak, Sofidel America, Givaudan Flavors Corp., PCA-Packaging Corp. of America, Mid-State Machine & Fabricating Corp.
Career Pathways at Polk State College
Sarasota-Manatee Counties
Adams Group, Harn R/O Systems, KHS USA, Super Sensitive Musical Strings, Mullet’s Aluminum Products, PGT, Sun Hydraulics
RND Automation, Vee Three, Intertape Polymer Group, Teakdecking, Sun Graphics
Sarasota County Schools Career & Technical Education
Manatee County Schools
South Florida
Hoerbiger Corporation
Atlantic Technical Center
Atlantic Technical Center
Following up on the successful model that FLATE established over the years, this year Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs) and Regional MFG Day Coordinators across Florida will be taking the lead in surveying statewide industry hosts, educators and students who participate in this year’s industry tours. Student, industry, educator and parent survey are available for download on the FLATE Wiki with an option to complete the surveys online as well. Post event surveys will be tabulated by RMAs in partnership with FLATE and shared with statewide partners and stakeholders.

To support students’ and educators’ learning and engagement in manufacturing, FLATE has also developed an extensive array of resources specifically designed for industry, educators, or anyone interested in MFG Day/Month. A list of these comprehensive (free) resources are listed on the Florida MFG Day/Month page at http://madeinflorida.org/manufacturing-day. There is even a 2017 MFG Day poster that teachers can use as a curriculum tool and/or to decorate their classroom. To access these resources, visit the FLATE’s Wiki at: http://flate.pbworks.com/w/page/10889505/FrontPage and http://mfgday-fl.com.

In addition to the Made in Florida industry tours, Florida Governor, Rick Scott issued a statewide proclamation recognizing October 2017 with several counties and cities across Florida issuing proclamations to mark October as MFG Month. Here in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, some of the local events planned in the Tampa Bay area include:


October 5:      Florida Suncoast Manufacturers Association Awards

October 6:      Manufacturing Day / Students’ Tours

October 7:      3rd annual Manufacturing 5K Run Walk Paddle for Education

October 19:    Made in Tampa Bay Expo

October 24:    Manufacturing Job Fair


For a full listing of 2017 Florida’s Manufacturing Day news and events, visit the Florida Manufacturing Day page at http://madeinflorida.org/manufacturing-day, or contact your local Regional Manufacturers Association. Many of Florida’s events are also listed on the national MFG Day website here; you can also visit the Manufacturing Day in Florida website at www.mfgday-fl.com. Manufacturers and others will be sharing news about manufacturing month using the hashtags #MFGDay17 and #FLMfgMonth17. For information on other national manufacturing day events and tours visit www.mfgday.com, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.