Manufacturing discussions and collaboration were the theme of a recent Waterloo Chapter 186 meeting coordinated by its chapter chair, Tim Feher, a manufacturing engineer at John Deere. To broaden the chapter’s reach, Feher invited local-area participants to discuss workforce development with an educational emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Danny Laudick, director of talent solutions for the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and treasurer of the Cedar Valley Makers, hosted the meeting.
The various participants represented local-area education institutions and career counseling agencies, including the Office of the Iowa governor; John Deere Engineering; Society of Women Engineers; the University of Northern Iowa; and the STEM Hub and Tech Work Campus. Josh Cramer, director of K-12 educational programs for the SME Education Foundation, also presented on the successes achieved through the Foundation’s PRIME initiative. Also on hand to provide their perspectives were 2012 SME President LaRoux Gillespie, Dr. Eng., FSME, CMfgE, PE, and 2015 SME President Wayne Frost, LSME, CMfgE. Frost, who retired from John Deere, has been a longtime member of the Waterloo chapter as well as its membership consultant.
Following the roundtable, the attendees adjourned to tour Cedar Valley Makers and then concluded the meeting at the John Deere Museum where the discussions continued on the chapter and its efforts, how to engage the community more to promote manufacturing technologies within the education systems, early career development and how to better support the local industries.
Well done Chapter 186!