Monday, June 21, 2010

People ...

On June 21, 2010 I attended the Marion County Economic Outlook Luncheon in Marion SC.

Quotes from the program:

“The Beneteau USA Marion workforce has accomplished a truly exceptional feat in the past six months; a complete plant transformation to result in the only facility in the world with everything under one roof, from a CNC driven woodshop linked to a single-line, continuous flow, lean manufacturing machine. This major achievement proves that our team of creators of floating dreams is truly world class.”

Wayne Burdick, President, Beneteau USA

“I believe that success begins and ends with the people on your team. Some people believe that the quality of the processes you put in place in your business determines whether or not you will be successful. I agree that effective processes are very important; but, it takes great people to establish great processes. Great people put great processes in place; then, they execute and continuously improve those processes every day. I believe our workforce at ArvinMeritor Mullins – our team – wants to succeed. I am grateful for them every day.”

Steve Mount, Site Manager, ArvinMeritor

“Marion County has a State-wide reputation for having a skilled workforce. This reputation is earned. In less than six months, the skill, commitment, and learning curve of our workforce in Mullins has allowed us to go from installing our first machine to producing 10 million diapers monthly.”

Colin Brown, III, President, Supremes, LLC

The emphasis on people - workforce by the speakers gives me a chance to share one of the Metaphors for 21st Century (M21C). In the ISCORPIO diagram the southwest petal identifies people as one of the facets that are essential to a healthy paradigm. The various facets are identified at  Note People align with the Northeast Spirit facet. People and Spirit combine to raise everything to its highest potential. These along with the concept of “Quality” as defined below are the intangibles that create a healthy paradigm.

“Quality comes from Ownership and Integrity with appropriate Resources in a healthy Paradigm – lhb”

The emphasis on great People aligns with the concept of Ownership and Integrity. Mr. Mount discussed the findings of Ford Motor Company research which found it was not the processes but the commitment of the people to execute the processes that set them apart from others. This research strengthens the concept of Quality above. He went on to point out that “winning team” is Dedicated, Resourceful and Effective.

I was impressed with the positive vibes from this Marion County Progress session and the new companies emphasizing the quality of the Marion County Workforce. Even though Marion County is the leader in un-employment in SC, there is a Quality Workforce available; potential companies take note!
I hope this blog confirms the importance of people and other concepts discussed in my blogs and website.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Industry Mentor Teams …

In my previous blog Connecting Students to the Future Economy the idea of planting Pre-college Innovative Engines (PIE) in our schools was discussed. In this entry I present an approach which complements that and the Engineering Connections program that has been successfully conducted in Guilford County Schools (GCS).

The graphic A on the left is a chart defining Engineering Connections as partnerships of Guilford Education Alliance and IEEE Central NC Section.

Graphic B below shows the GCS Regions with colored dots showing schools where the Engineering Connections were conducted.

In this blog I propose that Industry Mentor Teams be formed to function in Regional Areas of GCS. What is an Industry Mentor Team? Thinking based on my blogs and the BCSW website would form the basis for Teams. As in the PIE Team, it would consist of experts from Industry, Community Colleges and Universities which have strong knowledge and experience in the following areas:

• Entrepreneurship (Business Hat)

• Marketplace (Customer Hat)

• Manufacturing/Service (Technologist Hat)

• Design/Development (Engineer Hat)

• Research (Scientist Hat)

• Logistics & Distribution (Logistics Hat)

• Financial (Resources Hat)

• Human Relations (People Hat)

These and other Hats are defined in bestChoices.

The idea is that these Hats would make up the Industry Mentor Team.  A primary Mentor would reside on the GCS School Campus full time and draw upon the Mentor Resource Team Hats as defined above. The primary Mentor would partner with the GCS Career Technical Education (CTE) Coordinator Team and would be a Resource and means for “Connecting Students to the Future Economy”,  by bringing “Real Life” understanding to the school campus. They also would be a means to plant and mentor PIE Teams discussed in previous blog Connecting Students to the Future Economy. They would also provide the coordination of Industry Resources for the Engineering Connections and Other Connections programs. In addition they would be an on campus Resource for Teachers. This Industry Mentor Team could be the vehicle for Teacher Exchange Programs and Student Job Shadowing and Intern Programs.

When I was working with the Bell System on Military Projects, there was an exchange program where the military personnel were integrated into the workforce of Western Electric. Military personnel were working alongside Western Electric employees; you didn’t see any difference in civilians and military since they were all working on the same systems. This became an excellent way to handover the operations of the systems that were being designed and developed by Western Electric for Military operations.

When I was teaching at NCA&T during the 1990s, I reflected on that and concluded there needs to be more Industry and Academic Exchange programs.

There are a number of excellent Learning Opportunities that various organizations have developed for giving students experience and in fields that are of interest to them and the organization.  has a section on Pre University Student Opportunities  which includes FIRST Robotics.  Links to FIRST Robotics from is available here.

Other programs which I have familiarity with that assist in getting students connected to the future economy are:

Future City



Construction Challenge




Destination Imagination


Reality Store




The Industry Mentor Team could act as a focal point for selection of specific Learning Opportunities also.

At this juncture it appears that this would be an excellent way to Connect Students and Teachers to the Future Economy as well as connect Industry with the Education System. This close on campus integration would be a means to decrease the gap that exists between Education and the Real World.

I welcome dialog on this concept for contributing to Excellence in our Public Schools.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Connecting Students to the Future Economy …

Action Greensboro, Guilford Education Alliance and Guilford County Schools convened the Excelling in Public Education Task Force Teams on June 10, 2010.
The Task Force Study group’s objective is to help identify specific program initiatives in coordination with Guilford County Schools and the larger community in five identified areas. These areas are:

• Literacy and School Readiness
• Connecting Students to the Future Economy
• Parent University
• School and Leadership Development
• Character and Education

The graphic above shows the Task Force Study Group members actively involved during the first meeting at Weaver Foundation in Greensboro, NC.

The Study Teams and Focus Chart identifies the various Study Groups and associated Team members and Focus.

This blog will address thoughts of the author for the “Connecting Students to the Future Economy” with emphasis on Pre-college Innovative Engines (PIE) in our Schools based on concepts presented in my various blogs

For this discussion I will concentrate on the “six hat team” based on the diagram to the right. The five Innovative Engine hats are as follows:

• Business (Entrepreneur) Hat
• Customer (Marketplace) Hat
• Technology (Manufacturing/Service) Hat
• Engineer (Development) Hat
• Scientist (Research) Hat

These Innovative Engines are connected by the sixth Logistics (Supply Chain) Hat. This six hat team should be planted in our schools to start the thinking and product development that is needed to connect to the future economy. This would bring application to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) academic subjects by giving the student team challenges to think like a business enterprise in creating products and solutions to real life problems. Our future economy desperately needs this type of thinking and capability to build a workforce that is ready for “anything” for the 21st century.

When the IEEE Central NC Section conducted an “Engineers in the Class Room” session in one of the local fifth grade AIG classes, the concept of six hat teams was introduced to give the students a feel of how a product was created and marketed. It gave relevance to the product research, development, production, distribution and marketing process. These fifth graders really got it! The Entrepreneur Hats blog discusses this.

More information on this concept is discussed in various entries of my blog and at

A very successful initative to bring real life Engineering understanding has been conducted in the Guilford County Schools Middle Colleges and some High Schools. The Lunch & Learn and Classroom Connections format have been well received.  Although the content was primarily Engineering, some of the Middle Colleges are thinking about expanding it for other career topics.
This program is documented at:

A number of resources are available at  A couple related to the 20th century's greatest Achievements and the 21st century's greatest Challenges are applicable to thinking about connecting students to the future economy.  A regional 2010 summit was held in Raleigh; more information is available at

Hopefully the above experience and thinking will be helpful to the Task Force Study Group "Connecting Students to Future Economy."

I welcome suggestions on ways we can implement ideas presented in this blog.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The “I” in “I-STEM” …

Today, I attended the Piedmont Triad Partnership/WIRED Capstone Event in Greensboro, NC. During the “New Design Focus in Triad: Design Consortium and Architectural Design Hub” presentation I was struck by what is happening in this area and how it applied to the “I” in “I-STEM” concepts of a previous blog October 2009 blog I-STEM, which suggested we should expand the concept of STEM to I-STEM, to include Imagination/Innovation.

Margaret Collins, Director – Creative Enterprises and the Arts, Piedmont Triad Partnership has been leading an initiative that focuses on “Creative Enterprises and the Arts” under the Department of Labor Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Program. Today’s Capstone Event was a report of that work which has occurred over the past three years.

Emily Stover DeRocco, President, The Manufacturing Institute made a statement in the Opening Plenary Session that we should “Have a Workforce ready for almost everything.” My thoughts were this is just what I-STEM is all about. Having a Workforce that has competence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) with the Imagination/Innovation good stuff as described in my November 2009 blog “CTE-I-STEM Cookie” will go a long way in satisfying that statement.

Triad Design Leadershop website documents the concept of Create – Change as conducted by five heavy hitters in the Creative Design area.

• David Rose – Designer of Tactile and Environmentally Aware Devices

• Bill Grant – Designer of Business and brand Experiences
      "Design is more than Decorating"

• Claudia Kotchka – Change Agent and Design Evangelist

• Jason Manley – Interactive Media and Game Designer

• David Adjaye & Phil Freelon – Innovative Architects of Public Sector Spaces

It appears these illustrations speak quite well to the concept of “I” in my blogs on “I-STEM” and “CTE-I-STEM Cookie”.

I am of the opinion that you can have the STEM skill sets and not necessarily get a product, but if you have I-STEM skill sets; there is a higher probability of getting a product. Does this make sense?

Postscript 7/21/2011
I recently discovered this website which adds "Arts" to STEM. I feel it addresses somewhat the idea which I had written about in this blog. I now promote I-STEAM to include "Arts"; it emphasizes the importance of creativity which may not be oblivious in STEM.