FACTE Annual Conference & Trade Show Continuous Excellence Supporting CTE Professional Development

Every year FLATE joins efforts with key partners to continue supporting Career and Technical Education professional opportunities in Florida.

The 57th FACTE annual conference and trade show, held July 17-19, 2023 in Orlando, Florida, was a success, hosting 600+ participants, 40 vendors, and more than 130 parallel sessions representing all areas of CTE education. The Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE), the Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators (FAITE), and the Florida Career Pathways Network (FCPN) partnered with FLATE to provide a pre-conference and a full multi-session day. The Trade Show and sessions were filled with opportunities to see the latest materials, equipment, and services, share best practices, and build relationships among the CTE community around the state.

The pre-conference activities with FAITE included a tour of the National Center for Simulation (NCS), SIMETRI a hi-tec simulation company delivering innovative products and services, and the Modeling Simulation Production Program at the Orange Technical College in Orlando.

The well-attended conference sessions, presented in partnership with FAITE, included Advisory Committee Best Practices, Which CTSO is right for your students (DECA, SkillsUSA, TSA, FBLA), Dual Enrollment-Three Schools Strategies, the 2023 FLATE Best Practices Award Winners Panel, and Department of Education engineering and technology education cluster updates (manufacturing; transportation, distribution, and logistics).

In addition, FLATE presented a session, under the FCPN session strand, about Visualizing Data Trends for CTE Grads and Occupations.   

At FACTE one of the most popular and well-attended presentations is the FLATE 2023 Best Practice Award Winners Panel. This year's panel had the honor of a visit from Chancellor Kevin O’Farrell, Division of Career & Adult Education, Florida Department of Education, who used the opportunity to congratulate the winners for their outstanding best practices and significant contributions in support of STEM, engineering technology, and industrial/manufacturing education in Florida. 

Thank you so much to the FACTE team for such a great event and for hosting FLATE Awards. FLATE will continue to partner with FACTE, FAITE, and FCPN to provide professional development and support CTE education for Florida students, teachers, and business partners.

Professional development opportunities are posted on our FLATE wiki site. You can always check there for additional updates by clicking on the Professional Development icon as well as explore any previous workshops and PD events offered by FLATE and its partners.

2023 FLATE Award Winners Recognized at the FACTE Annual Awards Brunch

From left to right:
  • Ernie Friend, Executive Director for FLATE
  • Orville L. Dothage, 2023 Distinguished Manufacturing Partner
  • Kevin M. Davenport, 2023 Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year
  • Greg Lewis, Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year
  • Kevin O’Farrell, Chancellor for the Division of Career & Adult Education, Florida Department of Education

Special thanks to the awards sponsor DC Jaeger for its generous contribution. 

Orville Dothage III Wins FLATE 2023 Distinguished Manufacturing Partner-of-the-Year

Congratulations to Orville Dothage III, Senior Manager at Northrop Grumman in St. Augustine, FL for his outstanding contributions to promote technology education and career awareness in support of manufacturing!  Orville has worked in the aerospace industry for more than 35 years. Throughout his career, he has enjoyed the opportunity to connect and collaborate with innovative thinkers working with cutting-edge technology. Orville’s contributions have driven program success for the betterment of our warfighters.  He has been successful at multi-tasking millions of dollars cost and schedule commitments.

Orville believes "Manufacturing is a critical component of our economy. Through reliable and responsible manufacturing, we become poised for future growth". Highlights of his career include leading teams in performance improvement analysis, ensuring supplier quality assurance, maintaining ISO 9000 certifications and interfacing with internal and external customers. Orville has developed Quality Assurance programs that have been replicated across numerous sites.

He is committed to supporting colleagues and mentoring the next generation workforce. Key contributions in this area include:
  • the development of continuing education partnership programs with Goodwill Industries of California and Florida
  • High School Involvement partnership programs and
  • STEM events tied to National Manufacturing Day.
His most recent endeavor involves creating, for the first time, a high school paid internship to produce the next generation of aircraft builders. The St Johns County Chamber of Commerce recognizes his relentless, hard work impacting technical education in St Johns County, "we are proud of you and of Northrop Grumman for the great partnership with our educational institutions".

The Manufacturers Association of Central Florida wins FLATE 2023 Most Innovative Manufacturing Month Student Event Award

The Manufacturers Association of Central Florida (MACF) won the 2023 Most Innovative Manufacturing Month Student Event Award for their 3rd Annual Made in Central Florida Expo and Student Design & Build Competition held at the Orlando Rosen Center in October 2022. The event featured over 100 employees from 27 local manufacturers in the Expo and a design and build student competition impacting over 250 students. Thirty-five (35) Middle and High Schools competed in the Design and Build Competition from Orange, Osceola, Lake, and Seminole school districts. 

The FLATE Speed Networking event held at the Expo connected educators to industry representatives in order to build long-term relationships to promote manufacturing careers and support students and to connect manufacturers to the student pipeline. Forty-eight (48) school counselors from Orange, Lake and Sumter County School Districts, as well as educators from middle schools, high schools and tech schools, met with representatives from the manufacturing company participants listed below to discuss career opportunities for their students.
The Expo and Competition was a day-long event with multiple agenda items. The expo provided an opportunity for manufacturing companies to set up exhibits for students, teachers, counselors, and other industry partners to learn more about career opportunities. Middle and high school students had the opportunity to participate in a Design and Build Competition, designing and executing a mechanical pump to move water from one bucket to another. There were also presentations by industry partners to students and counselors about the manufacturing industry, and a manufacturing panel discussion for students to ask questions of industry leaders about career opportunities.

To gain insight into the impact of the day, a survey was conducted at the end of the event. 100% of the student respondents felt that visiting and learning from industry helped them better understand the concepts needed to apply and gave them a better understanding of the careers and opportunities that exist in the manufacturing industry.

Here are some of the student comments, when asked what they liked most:
  • “I loved how well informed the employees were about any and all questions we had, which really shows how well versed they are in their line of work, company, and industry they work in overall.”
  • ” Learning new things about the manufacturing industry.”
  • “I really enjoyed the interactive demos and walking through the process in order to really gets the idea of how the process works.”
  • “I thought it was incredibly cool to see how something I use everyday is made. It really made me appreciate water on the second floor of my house more.”
A Mechatronics instructor at Orange Technical College-South Campus had this to say: “We are happy to have participated in the MACF hydro-pump event at the Rosen Hotel. Our mechatronics students had a great time showing off their skills, visiting the trade show, and making connections with vendors, and were happy to have brought home a win for the Orange Technical College - South Campus!"

Congratulations to the Manufacturing Association of Central Florida (MACF) for a successful event and being awarded the FLATE 2023 Most Innovative Manufacturing Student Event Award! The Award will be recognized at the FACTE Annual Conference and Trade Show in Orlando, FL July 18, 2023, at the FLATE Educator Best Practice Award Winners Panel. The Manufacturing Student Event award will also be recognized at the 2023 FloridaMakes Make More Summit – October 25-26, 2023, in Orlando, FL!

For information on the FLATE Awards visit: http://fl-ate.org/programs/flate-awards , or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Ernie Friend at Ernie.Friend@flate.org.

Kevin Davenport wins FLATE 2023 Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year

Kevin Davenport, Instructor of Engineering & Manufacturing at The Academy of Engineering & Environmental Science at Creekside High School in St. Johns, FL is the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award. The Award represents a joint effort between FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center), FloridaMakes and FAITE (Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators) to recognize contributions of educators and industries in advancing technician education and training on a regional and statewide level. Kevin will be recognized at the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE) Annual Conference & Trade Show that will be held July 17-19, 2023 at the SeaWorld Renaissance in Orlando, FL where the winners will also serve as panelists for the Best Practice Award Winners Panel.

Kevin Davenport is a 13-year veteran teaching in St. Johns County School District’s Career and Technical Education department. He is a licensed engineer and has over 30 years of industry experience including founding, acquiring, selling, and transitioning multiple engineering consulting firms.

Mr. Davenport’s true passion is training students for, and aligning them with, powerful opportunities for their future. Specifically, his interests are creating business partnerships, student mentoring opportunities and internships to supercharge student growth and interest in the STEM and manufacturing fields.

The Creekside High School students (where Mr. Davenport teaches) learn foundational engineering, manufacturing, design, and innovation skills in a 4-year program in the Academy of Engineering and Environmental Science – a Florida Career Academy designed to teach a sequence of courses around a specific career choice or theme. Students in the Engineering Tract at the Academy can earn Industry certifications while in the program and include Manufacturing Skills Standards Council Certified Production Technician (MSSC-CPT) certification; Autodesk’s AutoCAD, Inventor, and Revit certifications; OSHA 10; Intuit’s Entrepreneurship and Small Business certificate; and PIM’s Project Management Ready certification.

Mr. Davenport is the sponsor and lead mentor for Creekside’s FIRST Robotics Team 8775. In addition to robotics, he leads several extracurricular activities including Engineering Club, Society of Women Engineers, National Technical Honor Society and ACE Mentoring.

The culmination of many of Creekside’s student’s high school careers is obtaining one of approximately 25 summer internships in the industry. These opportunities exist because Mr. Davenport has maintained and curated relationships with the sponsoring companies and organizations.

Mr. Davenport believes that “Manufacturing and STEM education are foundational to the future economic success of this country. In the words of Lee Iacocca, “A country’s competitiveness starts not on the factory floor or in the engineering lab. It starts in the classroom.” Overcoming the potential stigma of manufacturing as mundane or repetitive is important, as advanced manufacturing today is anything but. Manufacturing and STEM education can function as a catalyst for students, igniting a passion which may have gone undiscovered. These classes give students the opportunity to establish a relationship between what they’re learning in their core classes and real-world applications.”

Along with teaching and mentoring his students, Mr. Davenport has contributed to manufacturing education in a host of other ways. These include:
  • Host and Organizer of “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” 2023
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers scholarship reviewer 2022
  • Founder and President of education non-profit 2022-current
  • National Defense Industry SOAR STEM Trade and Career Symposium Planning Committee 2022
  • National ACE Mentoring Champion Award 2021-2022
  • Department Head for CTE at Creekside High School 2021-present
  • Engineering Coordinator for St. Johns County Schools 2021-present
  • Adjunct Professor - St. Johns River State College - Advanced Manufacturing 2020-2021
  • FIRST Robotics team sponsor 2019-current
  • National Technical Honor Society sponsor 2019-present
  • ACE Mentoring Teacher of the Year 2018-2019
  • MSSC Certified Instructor 2018-present
  • Society of Women Engineers sponsor 2017-present
  • Northeast Florida Engineering Teacher of the Year 2016-2017
  • Creekside High School Rookie Teacher of the Year 2011-2012
  • Engineering Club sponsor 2010-present
Mr. Davenport holds fast to the belief that most of the “good stuff” happens outside the confines of the traditional school day. His students are frequently found in his classroom before the first bell and after the last, engaging in skill sessions with the Florida Civil Educators Foundation, listening to guest speakers present STEM topics, developing patents, fine-tuning projects and building/programming robots. A newer project has taken the students back in time. They’re designing and fabricating parts for “Lucky 13” – an international effort to restore a WWII B-17 bomber. The fact that many of these activities run simultaneously is a testament to Kevin’s ability to lead and to the students’ respect for him. Students from other high schools and from home-schools also benefit from his knowledge!

Join us in congratulating Kevin Davenport as the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year!

For information on the FLATE Awards visit http://fl-ate.org/programs/flate-awards, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Mr. Ernie Friend or Senior Education Advisor, Dr. Marilyn Barger.


Greg Lewis wins FLATE 2023 Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year

Greg Lewis, a Professor in Engineering Technology (ET) at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL, will receive the 2023 Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award. The Award represents a joint effort between FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center), FloridaMakes and FAITE (Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators) to recognize contributions of educators and industries in advancing technician education and training on a regional and statewide level. Greg will be recognized at the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE) Annual Conference & Trade Show that will be held July 17-19, 2023 at the SeaWorld Renaissance in Orlando, FL where the winners will also serve as panelists for the Best Practice Award Winners Panel.  

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Greg Lewis began his career as a construction carpenter and advanced into interior design, creating trim packages for commercial projects traveling throughout the United States. When he returned to college, he studied Industrial Technology and received his associate degree at St. Petersburg College, his bachelor’s degree in educational technology at the University of South Florida, and his master’s degree from Fort Hays University in Network Engineering. Mr. Lewis has been teaching Engineering Graphics and Design at St. Petersburg College since 1997 and became the first instructor to teach SolidWorks in the state of Florida in 1999/2000. 

Currently, Mr. Lewis teaches Autodesk programs such as AutoCAD, Rivet (Intro and Advanced), Inventor, and Fusion 360, and teaches Manufacturing Design, Architectural Design, Rapid Prototyping and CNC Programming. He continues to teach SolidWorks, four levels of Mechanical Design, FEA Analysis, and 3D Printing.  

In addition to teaching and providing mentorship to students and teachers at St. Petersburg College, Mr. Lewis works with the community through various local high schools and manufacturing companies in and around St. Petersburg. He offered summer camp opportunities for high school and middle school students to design and build robots using SolidWorks in 2018, 2019 and 2023.  

Mr. Lewis works with the St. Petersburg College Engineering Club and has participated on Advisory committees for local High Schools for more than ten years. His other professional awards include St. Petersburg College Instructor of the year in 2015 (nominated again in 2022) and awarded the National League of Innovation 2019 League Excellence Award. 

In his down time, Greg enjoys long range bike rides and golfing. Congratulations to Greg for adding the 2023 Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year award to his plethora of accomplishments! 

For information on the FLATE Awards visit http://fl-ate.org/programs/flate-awards, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Mr. Ernie Friend or Senior Education Advisor, Dr. Marilyn Barger. 


Congratulations to the 2023 FLATE Award Winners!

This is the sixteenth year FLATE has recognized educators at the secondary and postsecondary level and industry partners for their outstanding contributions to promote manufacturing related technical education in Florida. “The Awards represent FLATE’s effort to showcase and recognize the contributions of educators and industries in advancing technical education and training on a regional and statewide level” said Marilyn Barger, Ph.D., Senior Education Advisor of FLATE. 

FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center), FloridaMakes and FAITE (Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators) are pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 FLATE Manufacturing Awards.

This year’s Awardees include:

  • Kevin M. Davenport, Instructor of Engineering & Manufacturing at The Academy of Engineering & Environmental Science at Creekside High School in St. Johns, FL, will receive the Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award.
  • Gregory A. Lewis, Professor in Engineering Technology at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL, will receive the Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
  • Orville L. Dothage, III, Sr. Manager at Northrup Grumman in St. Augustine, FL, will receive the Distinguished Manufacturing Partner Service Award
  • The Manufacturers Association of Central Florida (MACF), Most Innovative Manufacturing Month Student Event Award for their Made in Central Florida Expo and Student Design & Build Competition featuring 27 local manufacturers in the Expo and a design and build student competition impacting over 250 students.
Ernie Friend, Executive Director of FLATE, adds "The work of FLATE award winners is making a real difference in the lives of students and the future of our state's manufacturing industry. We are grateful for their dedication to excellence in manufacturing education and to their collaborative work with industry partners, community leaders, and other educators to create a robust manufacturing ecosystem in Florida. Their work is helping to ensure that our state has the workforce it needs to compete in the global economy."

FloridaMakes CEO, Kevin Carr, agrees that these award winners move manufacturing workforce forward. “Educators play an important role in inspiring the next generation of manufacturing workers. It is our honor to recognize the 2023 FLATE Awardees for their outstanding work in manufacturing education in Florida.”

Awardees were selected from a distinguished pool of nominations submitted from across the state and were judged by an awards committee comprised of industry representative(s), FAITE board member(s), past awardee(s), and member(s) of the FloridaMakes Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Leadership Committee (AMWLC).

Awardees for the first three awards will be recognized at the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE) Annual Conference & Trade Show that will be held July 17-19, 2023 at the SeaWorld Renaissance in Orlando, FL where they will also serve as panelists for the Best Practice Award Winners Panel. The Most Innovative Manufacturing Student Event Award winners will be recognized at the 2023 Florida MakeMore Manufacturing Summit held annually in the Fall in Orlando.

About the Florida Advanced Technological Education (FLATE) Center 

FLATE is a Center of Excellence for advanced technological education and is committed to ensuring that Florida has a well-prepared workforce for advanced and emerging technologies in manufacturing by providing educational resources and strategies for curriculum, professional development and student recruitment in secondary and post-secondary education. FLATE was created in 2004 through a grant from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program which is focused on improving STEM education to meet the needs of American advanced technology industries. In 2020, FLATE became a part of the FloridaMakes network. For more information visit www.fl-ate.org 

About FloridaMakes 

FloridaMakes is a statewide, industry-led, public-private partnership operated by an alliance of Florida's regional manufacturers associations with the sole mission of strengthening and advancing Florida’s economy by improving the competitiveness, productivity and technological performance of its manufacturing sector, with an emphasis on small- and medium-sized firms. FloridaMakes is the official representative of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network in the state of Florida, a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. For more information visit FloridaMakes.com

Statewide Engineering Technology Industry Advisory Board

The first meeting of the Statewide Engineering Technology Industry Advisory Committee (SETIAB) took place on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, the evening prior to the Spring Engineering Technology Forum (ET Forum)

The goal of the new SETIAB is to ensure that the more than twenty ET programs in the state continue to meet the rapidly evolving needs of industry and to raise the visibility of the skills and competencies of the program completers and to raise the visibility of the A.S. Engineering Technology degree program. 

The initial board has industry representatives from 6 state and community colleges and will focus on reviewing the advanced manufacturing competencies, recruiting additional members from other colleges, and setting up its organizational structure and bylaws.  The board will consist of at least one industry representative who supports a college ET advisory board, a member from FloridaMakes and a representative from the K12 education system in Florida and one from the Florida Department of Education’s Adult and Career Education Division. Non-voting members of the new advisory board include representatives from college programs that have an industry member of the board and representatives from FLATE. In the coming months, the college leadership and FLATE will be recruiting SETIAB board members from other colleges.

Several of the industry representatives attended the ET Forum the following day and met many of the ET educators from around the state and shared in the discussions about the ET program curriculum, new courses, lab equipment and student issues.  This board is an imitative of the NSF Engineering Technology adjustment grant awarded to FloridaMakes and four college partners (Polk State College, College of Central Florida, Daytona State College and St. Petersburg College) in 2022 to update the AS ET Curriculum and expand the engagement of industry in the program Statewide. 

The new Statewide ET Industry Advisory Board is also supported by the Florida Department of Education Perkins Leadership grant to FloridaMakes supporting FLATE. Look for a new page highlighting the SETIAB on FLATE’s website soon and if you have any questions, please contact Dr. Mori Toosi (mtoosi@polk.edu) or Dr. Marilyn Barger (Marilyn.barger@flate.org).


Aligning Skills Between Industry & Education for Robotics and Automation

FANUC partnered with D.C. Jaeger Corporation and FLATE to host the day-long Aligning Skills Between Industry & Education Workshop at the College of Central Florida (CF) in Ocala on April 20, 2023.  The event was intended to facilitate lively discussions among technical educators, community, and government and industry leaders about how automation is changing the landscape of the manufacturing sector. 

Over 50 attendees participated in the very interactive panel discussions after hearing about:
  • programs at CF by Sam Ajlani, Engineering Technology Department Head at CF; 
  • an overview of FANUC’s history and products by Joe Baldiga; 
  • the robotics High School program by Michael Stepp; 
  • working with robotics and automation at Lockheed Martin from Roxanne Storms; and 
  • about FLATE from Dr. Marilyn Barger. 
Many issues were identified, and potential solutions suggested, but the big takeaway was that industry and education really need to work together on local and regional solutions that meet the needs of local communities. After lunch provided by FANUC, the attendees divided into two groups to tour the Engineering Technology Laboratories at CF, including CF’s impressive FANUC Authorized Satellite Training (FAST) Center. Two educators traveling home together reported that “the event was EXCELLENT and that they had lots to talk about connecting what they had learned to their own programs” on their drive home. FLATE will be following up with the educators who attended to capture their next steps.

The need for skilled workers with automation training and certifications continues to grow across Florida and the nation in manufacturing and many industry sectors. FANUC has identified some current urgent needs of industry including more automation, more Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and implementing digital thread technology. They will be hosting additional “Aligning Skills” events across the country to help raise awareness of regional industry needs and bring industry and educators together to develop solutions. 

For more info, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Senior Education Advisor at FLATE at marilyn.barger@flate.org

Kudos to the 2023 Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction, and Architecture Expo at St Petersburg College

On April 4th, FLATE had the opportunity to participate in the Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction, and Architecture (MECCA) Expo at St. Petersburg College (SPC), held at Clearwater Campus. Over 500 Pinellas County middle school and high school, students had the opportunity to learn from multiple guest speakers and exhibits about exciting careers in Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction, and Architecture.  Many faculty, program advisors, and current students from the SPC’s Engineering Technology Department, opened their Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies Laboratory and hi-tech classrooms to showcase the incredible world of manufacturing and the amazing career paths it has to offer. 

The Engineering Technology (ET) AS program at SPC currently offers specializations in quality, electronics, advanced manufacturing, digital design & modeling, and several industry-recognized certifications.  Now with a brand-new Biotechnology AS Program, SPC continues growing stronger,  offering technology programs tailored to meet the needs of local, state and nationwide industries. 

The ET department exhibits at the MECCA Expo included fun and interactive demonstrations like FLATE’s Dobot and measurement activity and a robot-controlled racecar roller coaster presented by AMSkills.  There were also “DogieBots” or Unitree Aliengo, high-performance quadruped robots that can traverse uneven terrain, climb gradients and remain stable even if kicked and a “Tech Diablo” robot, the world's first direct-drive self-balancing wheeled-leg robot by Stokes Robotics. Definitely, St. Pete College & its industry partners provided an exquisite Hight Tech Expo with free educational resources to help create awareness about the multiple career paths available in the fields of ET and Manufacturing.

This type of outreach event has proven to be an exceptional way to encourage students to explore future career opportunities and inspire the next generation of skilled workers.

For more information about FLATE and its educational resources to inspire the next generation of hi-tech skilled workforce, visit FLATE.org and MadeinFLorida.org.

Celebrating the 50th State-wide Forum on Engineering Technology

The 50th Forum on Engineering Technology (ET) was held on March 30th and 31st at Daytona State College (DSC) in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Forum was well attended with more than 75 representatives from 18 state and community colleges, 3 Florida Universities, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), technical education sales representatives, and local industry and workforce partners. 

The spring ET Forum topics included FDOE updates, an introduction to the new proposed Autonomation College Credit Certificate (CCC), technical trends vendor round table, College updates, best practices and issues, DSC and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) updates, industrial workforce round table, University of Florida robotics modules, survey results regarding adjusting ET AS degree programs to respond to industry identified skills (NSF grant Award # 2148138), the introduction of FLATE new data dashboard “Manufacturing Matters.org”, master credential list. In addition, the forum included guest speakers from Florida Ready to Work program, IT-OT and Cyber for technicians, and Florida Center for Students with unique abilities.

History of the ET Forum

Back in the mid-1990s, the faculty, program managers, and deans working in electronics and related technologies got together to work on one of the first Florida statewide articulation agreements for Associate of Science (A.S) degrees. The small group of interested and concerned stakeholders was excited about the prospect of transferability of what was then a “non-transferable degree.” That articulation agreement was implemented and has now been superseded by the Florida legislation that made all A.S degrees transferable with “2+2” alignments to Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degrees. The Florida ET Leadership Council and the ET Forum were established in April 1997 at Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College). Membership includes the department heads and the leaders of the engineering technology programs in the State of Florida. This was the genesis of the “Forum on Engineering Technology”—better known today as the Florida “ET Forum”.

Since 2004, FLATE has facilitated this meeting to increase the impact and effectiveness of the event.

Over the years, our Forum has matured and evolved to become more focused on action items and outcomes. Today, the ET Forum provides an excellent opportunity for industries and educators across the state to meet twice a year at different college locations to discuss common interests and issues surrounding the education of tomorrow’s advanced manufacturing workforce.

FLATE works with the Forum to strengthen the consortium, share its administrative activities and projects, provide professional development, bring industry and academia together, and with the support of FDOE, engage in statewide curriculum reform. 

The ET Forum has become a true engineering technology community of practice and a model for other states to follow. 

Since 1996, the ET Forum has convened fifty times at over 24 different Florida colleges.

Special thanks to Daytona State College for hosting the ET Forum (for the fifth time) and the educational vendors for sponsoring the Forum.


For more information on the Forum and/or A.S.E.T degree visit http://fl-ate.org/projects/et-forum.html.

Save the date for the Fall 2023 ET Forum: September 28 - 29 at St. Johns River State College.

FLATE Attends 2023 SkillsUSA Florida Conference

SkillsUSA Florida is a nonprofit organization that provides career and technical education (CTE) students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the workforce. The organization offers a variety of programs and services, including competitions, leadership development opportunities, and scholarships.

The 2023 Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference was held on April 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Jacksonville, FL. Ernie Friend, the Executive Director of FLATE, attended the event this year and had an opportunity to meet many young people with incredible workforce skills learned through the SkillsUSA process. Competitions included Automated Manufacturing Technology, CNC, Robotics, Welding, and many technical areas.

Many engineering technology faculty and teachers were in attendance, guiding their students through the competition process, including Sam Ajlani, Ed Fry, and Dale Toney. 

 Sam Ajlani, Program Director of Engineering Technology at the College of Central Florida, was in attendance with two students for the Robotics Urban Search and Rescue competition. The students had to guide the robot through a complex track to rescue two objects in a timed event. The students did a good job during the competition, and Sam was pleased with the results and identified ways to improve if the team was invited to the national competition.

SkillsUSA Florida is a valuable resource for CTE students. The organization offers a variety of programs and services that can help students achieve their goals. If you are a CTE teacher, I encourage you to learn more about SkillsUSA Florida and its available resources.

Dr. Marilyn Barger Inducted into the 2023 Class of the AIMBE College of Fellows

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Marilyn Barger, Ph.D., Senior Educational Advisor at Florida Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence to its College of Fellows. 

Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers. College membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering and medicine research, practice, or education” and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of medical and biological engineering or developing/implementing innovative approaches to bioengineering education." 

Dr. Barger was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows “for outstanding contribution in synthetic membrane technology development for water purification and biomedical technical workforce development.” 

A formal induction ceremony was held during the AIMBE Annual Event at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia on March 27, 2023. Dr. Barger was inducted along with 140 colleagues who make up the AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2023. 

While most AIMBE Fellows hail from the United States, the College of Fellows has inducted Fellows representing 30 countries. AIMBE Fellows are employed in academia, industry, clinical practice and government. AIMBE Fellows are among the most distinguished medical and biological engineers including 3 Nobel Prize laureates, 17 Fellows having received the Presidential Medal of Science and/or Technology and Innovation, and 205 also inducted to the National Academy of Engineering, 105 inducted to the National Academy of Medicine and 43 inducted to the National Academy of Sciences. 

About AIMBE 

AIMBE is the authoritative voice and advocate for the value of medical and biological engineering to society. AIMBE’s mission is to recognize excellence, advance public understanding, and accelerate medical and biological innovation. No other organization can bring together academic, industry, government, and scientific societies to form a highly influential community advancing medical and biological engineering. AIMBE’s mission drives advocacy initiatives into action on Capitol Hill and beyond

FLATE Supports Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Career Awareness through STEM Fairs

The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) continues its longstanding commitment to supporting and stimulating student, teacher, and public interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). These student fairs and competitions encourage STEM hands-on explorations, creative thinking, engagement with industry professionals, and communication skills development. They provide an avenue for students to learn outside the more traditional classroom experiences which might be all they need to start a love for STEM.

This year, Danielly Orozco-Cole, Career and Technical Education Program Manager for FLATE, was part of the Tampa Bay Manufacturing Association (BAMA) team of volunteers who had the opportunity to review, interview, and judge some of the best engineering-manufacturing related K-12 projects during the Annual Pinellas and Hillsborough STEM Fair, held at the Countryside High School in Clearwater on February 4th and at the Tampa Convention Center on February 28th. During these events, more than 600 STEM professionals around the Tampa Bay area served as regional judges reviewing 1,000+ elementary-senior students’ projects.

FLATE thanks the sponsors as well as all judges and volunteers who assisted during the STEM Fair. Regional winners in middle and high school will compete in the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida on April 4-6, 2023 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland in Lakeland. Winners of the BAMA award will receive a certificate and cash prize at the Annual Awards Banquet on June 15th, 2023 at the Bryan Glazier JCC.

FLATE was also proud to participate again in the Florida Technology Student Association (TSA) state conference this year. The event was held on February 22-25, 2023, in Orlando, Florida. The TSA is a national organization of students engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The event showcase technology education programs, build confidence and provide extra-curricular and leadership skills for students. Thousands of students attended the conference. 

Ernie Friend, Executive Director of FLATE, had the opportunity to interact with many students’ parents and teachers at the event. It was amazing to see all the young Our appreciation goes out to all the parents and teachers who helped and encouraged their students to participate. This event truly highlights the state of Florida’s education system's effort to prepare our young people for high-paying careers. FLATE looks forward to attending and supporting the event next year. 

 TSA is always looking for volunteers to assist in event management and judging. Please consider attending next year if you are available by visiting their website at https://floridatsa.org.

For more information about FLATE and its educational resources to inspire the next generation of hi-tech skilled workforce, visit FLATE.org and MadeinFLorida.org.

North Florida College Helps Develop Manufacturing Career Pipeline through Lego Competitions

Bill Eustace, Program Instructor for North Florida College’s Certified Production Technology (CPT) Program, hosted the annual North Florida College (NFC) Robotics Camp for middle school students and the NFC Mechatronics Camp for high school students, where groups engage in hands-on learning of robotics and software programming. The camps end with a final competition of their completed robots. 

“Playful competitions like the LEGO event and the summer camps build student skills to explore related training and careers." -Eustace

On January 23, 2023, young contestants of the Suwannee River Regional Library LEGO Club Extravaganza were in a competition to be the first to build, program, and race LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots. While fun was a major theme of this event, participants learned elements of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“Toys like LEGOs can open doors to creative design thought,” said Eustace. “Fun and competitive experiences in subject areas such as STEM are the foundation to engineering and manufacturing.”

Students who decide to enter the workforce after completing the CPT program may quickly become Supervisors of Production, Industrial Production Managers, and more. CPT is also a building block for key NFC programs such as Industrial Machinery Maintenance coming Fall 2023.

For more information on the Certified Production Technology program or summer camps, contact Bill Eustace at 850-973-1670 or email eustaceb@nfc.edu.

North Florida College is a member of the Florida College System and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. NFC proudly serves the distinct educational needs of its six-county district, including Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties, and beyond. For more information on NFC, contact news@nfc.edu or call 850.973.1613.

Building Bridges to Healthcare with Hands-on Electronics Kits for Biomed

For years, Dr. Brian Bell, Biomedical Engineering Technology Faculty at St. Petersburg College, worked with students in engineering technology applied to healthcare. The field of study is called biomedical engineering technology. Recently, he has implemented new hands-on labs using electronics kits designed for students to learn how to:
  • Build biomedical devices
  • Test electronic circuits for healthcare environments
  • Learn about the applications of healthcare technology
Dr. Bell says, “these hands-on projects are the best way students are exploring technology, manufacturing, and engineering of healthcare devices”

First, students learn to the correct way to solder using video training https://youtu.be/6zKaAvYJZvA. Next students apply the concepts learned of heat, corrosion, and thermal conductivity to create a good solder joint.

St. Pete College students soldering their ECG Reader kit are able to learn a skill as they assemble a device that measures their hearts electrical activity. Finally, once students build and assemble their kit, they are able to analyze their own hearts electrocardiograph.

What students learn

 St. Pete College students learn about electrocardiography (ECG and by using the free educational resources from HTM workshop they learn how to connect patients to an electrocardiogram, set patient alarms, and identify common ECG artifacts. 

Students then have to answer questions about the electronics and the healthcare side of technology such as:
  • Describe one type of digital filter used in patient monitors and why.
  • Calculate the gain of the TLC272 by measuring the change in voltage between pins 1 and 6 on the chip.
In addition to building their own electrocardiography devices students get to create their own ECG simulator to test patient monitors and build on their electrical safety testing knowledge.

ECG Reader device assembled and connected to the computer. SPC students analyzing their own heart rate and simulated ECG waveforms using their assembled ECG Reader kit.

The ECG Simulator project was an excellent addition to the course” – Biomed Student

More information on the hands-on lab kits developed by Dr. Bell can be found at HTM-Workshop.com.  

CTE programs can generate knowledge and innovation to spark economic growth!

On February 1, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. designated February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. 

CTE serves as the backbone of a strong, well-educated workforce, offers lifelong learning opportunities, and contributes to Florida's leadership in the national and international marketplace. With the help of partners in education, business and industry, and trade associations, CTE prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers in the 21st-century economy, helping students experience the academic and technical skills required to be successful in today’s economy. These careers may require varying levels of education—from high school and postsecondary certificates to two- and four-year college degrees.

In Florida, secondary schools in all 67 school districts, 28 Florida colleges, and 48 technical colleges and centers offer high-quality CTE coursework, certifications, skills-based education, degrees. Currently, there are 17 career clusters throughout the state. The manufacturing career cluster incorporates six career pathways to include:

1) Production,

2) Manufacturing Production Process Development,

3) Maintenance, Installation & Repair,

4) Quality Assurance,

5) Logistics & Inventory Control, and

6) Health, Safety & Environmental Assurance.

With Florida’s Perkins V-Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century implementation plan, approved by the US. Department of Education in June 2020, Florida students have now, more than ever, the opportunity to participate in quality CTE programs.

FLATE with the support of the Florida Department of Educations and FloridaMakes continues to strengthen quality CTE programs, providing resources for educators, students, and industry. Educational resources are intended to increase students’ awareness of and interest in careers in the field of manufacturing. Resources are designed to engage students with fun, but real, hands-on scenarios relevant to manufacturers in Florida, integrating the academic and technical skills required in today’s high-technology manufacturing.

For more information about educational resources visit FLATE.orgMadeinFlorida.org, and FLDOE.org/CareerTechEdu.


2023 FCPN Symposium Focused on Developing FL’s Talent Pipeline

The 2023 Florida Career Pathways Network Conference (FCPN) Symposium from January 11-13 in Jensen Beach has been an effective venue in providing career and technical educators (CTE) employers, and workforce development partners across Florida with resources and best practices to foster professional leadership and partnership. This year’s symposium included 44 sessions and educational vendors’ showcase, with more than 180 attendees who had the opportunity to learn about the latest best practices and strategies for developing a talent pipeline. 
During this event, FLATE had the opportunity to present two sessions: “Innovative Dual Enrollment Program for Advanced Manufacturing and other CTE Programs” and “Forging Positive Partnerships-Strategies for Starting and Sustaining Schools-Industry partnerships”.

Innovative Dual Enrollment Program for Advanced Manufacturing and other CTE Programs
This presentation shared a program for a dual enrollment mechatronics that can be delivered at a distance with a partnership between college and high school instructors.

Forging Positive Partnerships-Strategies for Starting and Sustaining Schools-Industry partnerships
This session provides strategies for starting and sustaining school-industry partnerships with a focus on sharing lessons learned and best practices of a “Speed Networking” event as an efficient and successful strategy to develop and strengthen cross-sector partnerships among K-12 education, industry organizations, and postsecondary institutions.

For more information about these topics contact Executive Director, Ernie Friend (Ernie.Friend@flate.org) and/or Senior Education Advisor, Dr. Marilyn Barger (Marilyn.Barger@flate.org).

The FCPN is a membership organization for educators, employers, and workforce development partners involved in the advancement of Career Pathways, CTE, and other related education reform initiatives. To learn more about FCPN visit http://floridacpn.org/