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: , or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Ernie Friend at

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