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 

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

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 ( or Dr. Marilyn Barger (


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