Florida’s Manufacturers & Educators Receive Recognition at the 8th Annual Manufacturers Summit

Manufacturers and educators committed to promote, educate, and train Florida’s high-tech workforce will receive special recognition at the 8th Annual Manufacturers Association of Florida Manufacturers Summit in Orlando, FL.
Nov. 28, 2011 - PRLog -- Manufacturers and educators committed to promote, educate, and train Florida’s high-tech workforce will receive special recognition at the 8th Annual Manufacturers Association of Florida Manufacturers Summit in Orlando, FL. The awards will be presented on Dec. 1, during the president’s banquet at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Orlando, Fla., by FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center), the National Science Foundation Center for Manufacturing located at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon. Recognition of the hard work that faculty and teachers do every day to inspire young students is one of highlights of the MAF Summit.

Marilyn Barger, Ph.D., principal investigator and executive director of FLATE says “the awards stand as a testament to Florida’s high-tech workforce,” and are an effective vehicle in recognizing outstanding educators and industry professionals who have made significant contributions in training/educating Florida’s next generation of high-skilled workers.

2011 marks the fifth year of the FLATE awards. Since the implementation of the awards program in 2006, FLATE has recognized 10 educators in secondary and post secondary educational institutions, and five industry partners. Greg McGrew will receive the 2011 Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year award. McGrew who is currently a teacher at Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, Fla., has been teaching engineering technology for over 15 years. McGrew is a firm proponent of hands-on education that prepares students for the real world. McGrew says he wants to give “his students the best possible experience he can, so they can reach their individual potential.” From basic skills like reading a ruler to running a CNC mill, cutting wood on a table saw, or welding with a tig welder, McGrew uses as many tools as possible that are used daily in manufacturing, construction, transportation and engineering fields. “My hope is that students gain the knowledge and skills needed to pass the MSSC Certification exam” so they can leave the program with a highly valued, national industry certification that “prepares them for the working world” McGrew said.

At the post secondary level, Robert Deckon, manager for operational excellence at Saddle Creek Corporation in Jacksonville, FL, and past director of engineering technology at Florida Gateway College (FGC) will receive the 2011 Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator of the Year award. Deckon has been engaged in industry, engineering and engineering technology (ET) education for over 25 years, and was instrumental in revamping the ET program at FGC. He developed the news courses within the A.S.E.T. concentrating on Quality specialization including the six sigma black belt and green belt college certificates.

Deckon also designed the first mobile ET laboratory in Florida. His lab consists of electronic test equipment, programmable logic controllers, instrumentation and process control equipment, and hydraulics and pneumatics trainers that are lodged within a 52ft triple axel trailer that can be towed to any school, or company site for training. The core of the program he says is problem solving. To that effect, he says educators should coordinate placement of students at local companies so they can use their technical skills to work on real-world projects. “Employers want and need employees who can solve problems, and have the ability to apply these skills to a wide variety of situations” Deckon said. He adds “education needs fewer chiefs and more Indians.”

On the industry side of the continuum, Mark Snyder, vice president of global operations & supply chain at ConMed Corporation in Largo, FL, will receive the Industry Distinguished Service award. Over the last 25 years, Snyder has been at the forefront of affecting positive changes in the manufacturing sector in Florida. Most of what he’s been involved in entails bringing jobs to Florida, and moving work to low cost manufacturing areas. “I am passionate about manufacturing and the need to stay competitive.” Snyder encourages current and incumbent workers to streamline manufacturing processes by increasing their understanding and practice of lean and six sigma. He also calls on manufacturers to focus on quality and delivery improvements. “The most important asset we can allocate is time, not money.”

In addition to his industry expertise, Snyder has been a firm proponent of the statewide A.S. degree in engineering technology developed by FLATE. He has served as a speaker before industry associations advocating merits of the ET degree. “It benefits ConMed Corporation to assure these programs address the current and future needs of manufacturers” Snyder said. For information on the FLATE awards and/or awardees contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org/813.259.6578

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FLATE is a National Science Foundation center, committed to ensuring that Florida has a well prepared workforce for manufacturing and related technologies. Created in 2004, it is one of 39 centers in the United States focused on improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education to meet the needs of American advanced-technology industries. For more information visit www.fl-ate.org/awards, and www.madeinflorida.org
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