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

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

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

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

Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MSSC Partnership Workshop Gives Educators Chance to Collaborate on Curriculum Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Register today for ManufacturingUSA and FLATE Webinar

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

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

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

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

Tampa Bay Students' Capstone Projects Showcase Proficiency in STEM

Greco Middle School Capstone Presentation- Shark Tank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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