From the Executive Director’s Desk: 2017 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards


The Florida Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs) met last week at the 25th Annual Florida Sterling Conference. The conference is recognized as one of the best in the nation for practical learning in all areas of leadership and management systems. The RMA’s half day meeting and workshop was facilitate and hosted by FloridaMakes. FloridaMakes is a public private partnership supported by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) within the Department of Commerce with the mission to strengthen Florida’s manufacturing companies. The meeting focused on values and strengths that could be shared and leveraged amongst the associations to grow their organizations. Association directors, business advisors, and current officers worked and networked with one another together and with the FloridaMakes staff. Summaries of strengths and action items will be distributed and the RMA’s will use them for focus topics at their monthly conference calls.

FLATE works closely with the RMAs for community and educational outreach and provides

information about the manufacturing educational programs at High Schools and State/community colleges in their areas. This new and evolving community of Florida’s RMAs will be yet another integral part of Florida’s manufacturing ecosystem and therefore be linked tightly to our ET Forum, community of colleges offering programs that offer the ET degree. FloridaMakes and the Florida RMA’s are critical partners in FLATE’s sustainability plan as the key organizations to continue FLATE’s work to build a sustainable talent pipeline within Florida’s Educational system. This work includes outreach activities like student tours for MFG DAY, providing professional development for STEM educators and working with the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) on curriculum development, review and credential alignment to keep the school and college programs focused on preparing the manufacturing workforce.

Many of the workshop attendees stayed for an evening reception for the first ever Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards (MBE). This rigorous Award system starts with company nominations, which are open to all Florida’s manufacturers from anyone. All nominees are asked to submit a small portfolio of facts and figures. All companies that submits a complete portfolio have a screening call with a panel of judges and examiners. The 30-minute screening call leads to some being recommended for half day site visits. The sit visits narrow the field to the finalists in categories in company size groups. A single lead judge, Mr. Phil Centonze, organizes the calls and site visits and manages the volunteers for each call and each site visit. Eventually, over 40 judges and examiners worked on a three hour conference to review the results of the site visits to recommend the finalists and, ultimately the winners. FLATE was there to celebrate with many of their manufacturing partners from around the state that were finalists in one of the four 2017 categories. All are winners and will enjoy increased statewide exposure and feedback from the review process to continue to improve their businesses. I am pleased to share the winners with our FLATE readership!