VIRGINIA BEACH , VA (July 2011)– More than 30 high school students from 15 schools in North Carolina and Southeastern Virginia participated in the first annual Manufacturing Technology Summer Camp powered by STIHLat the company’s campus in Virginia Beach this past week. Designed to promote careers in modern manufacturing, the camp activities included tours of STIHL’s Virginia Beach facility and classes on cutting-edge manufacturing technologies like computer-controlled machining and robotics.
“This four-day, hands-on camp is designed to introduce students to modern manufacturing through tours, presentations, small projects, and a competitive manufacturing activity,” said Simon Nance, the director of the camp as well as manager of training and development for STIHL Inc. “We are doing this to show our community the reality of modern manufacturing and the successful careers that are part of this business.”
With federal funding for vocational training and education at risk of being cut by 20 percent, business and education partnership programs like this are becoming increasingly important. “Today, there is a need for skilled labor in order to rebuild and reinforce America’s manufacturing base,” said Peter Mueller, executive vice president of operations at STIHL Inc. “Programs like this help prepare the future generation of manufacturing and give them the tools they need to succeed in the future.”
The camp culminated with a two-hour competition on Saturday, July 16. Students were organized into five teams and collaborated to manufacture clocks. The teams were evaluated based on production efficiency, inventory management, quality standards and innovative thinking. Each school with a winning team member won a First Technical Challenge startup kit from FIRST Robotics, and each student earned a $1,000 Virginia Industry Foundation scholarship for their future education.
The winning team members were:
Christopher Benedetto, Kellam High School, Virginia Beach, Va.
Brad Holmes, Landstown High School, Virginia Beach, Va.
Sinh Ly, Landstown High School, Virginia Beach, Va.
Joseph Frandsen, Granby High School, Norfolk, Va.
Sharissa Marshall, Grassfield High School, Chesapeake, Va.
The competition was judged by academic, corporate and community leaders including Norfolk councilwoman Angelia Williams and Ron Villanueva, delegate of the 21st district of Virginia. “The STIHL competition is the perfect showcase on how cutting-edge education not only provides a limitless world of opportunity for our children, but keeps great companies like STIHL Inc. invested in our community, creating jobs and prosperity for everyone,” said Villanueva. “After all, this is our highest priority, not just as parents, but as leaders in the community.”
Other judges included Dee Tomczak from Virginia FIRST Robotics, John Calver from Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) Workforce Development, Paul Dockery from ECPI University, and Joseph Bouchard from COX Communications.
The sponsors and partners of this event included FESTO, Virginia Manufacturers Association/Dream It Do It Virginia, ECPI University, TNCC Workforce Development, Tooling U, Integrated Business Solutions, Inc. (IBS), ECPI College of Technology and many teachers and parents who volunteered their time to help, as well as STIHL employees.