Cutting-Edge Manufacturing Camp for Students

ECPI knows a thing or two about manufacturing, and that is why the university decided to be a sponsor of the Manufacturing Technology Summer Camp hosted by STIHL Inc. The camp ran July 13 through 16 in which more than 30 high school students from schools in North Carolina, Southeastern Virginia and District of Columbia participated. Designed to promote careers in modern manufacturing, the camp activities included classes on cutting-edge manufacturing technologies such as 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.

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. 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 his or her future education.

Winning team members of the Stihl competition.

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. Other judges included Dee Tomczak from Virginia FIRST Robotics and Paul Dockery from ECPI University. “It was great seeing the youth go from not knowing much about manufacturing to putting together an entire production plan for the competition,” said Paul. “It was a great example why ECPI likes to be involved in STEM (science, technology, electronics, and math) activities in the community that are building our future workforce.”