OKALOOSA ISLAND — Some 350 business enterprise, community and educational leaders crammed the halls of the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center on Tuesday to communicate tech and network through the fifth once-a-year TeCMEN Industry Working day.
TeCMEN is shorthand for the “Technology Coast Manufacturing and Engineering Community,” a local marketplace team recognized in 1989 by One particular Okaloosa Economic Advancement Council. TeCMEN’s members incorporate additional than 40 technological innovation, engineering and producing providers, as effectively as educational and workforce improvement partners.
“It’s mission is to propagate the expansion and enlargement of our area’s technology, producing and engineering businesses,” explained Nathan Sparks, executive director of the 1 Okaloosa Economic Improvement Council. “We do that by bringing individuals businesses together month-to-month for purposeful conversations and presentations that align with their desires and opportunities.
“We develop an setting wherever sharing of data is position quo,” Sparks additional. “We acknowledge in that setting you may possibly have (business enterprise) competition seated following to a person another, but when we’re together as TeCMEN we’re all pondering far more broadly about the advancement of these industries in our local community and area.”
Tuesday’s sector day merged a series of individual and panel speaker occasions, and a huge exhibit corridor with far more than 50 organizations and organizations representing science, technological know-how, engineering and arithmetic industries, or STEM, in Northwest Florida. This year’s concept was innovation, and nowhere was that much more apparent than at the exhibit booth for the Hsu Educational Foundation’s Unmanned Plane Devices Centre of Excellence.
Filling the exhibit space was a around 8-foot-by-10-foot drone named the Sky Dreamer. The gleaming 16-propeller unmanned aerial automobile is able of carrying a payload of 350 lbs for up to just one hour.
It can be configured for a wide range of purposes, like the aerial launching of several smaller drones like the Switchblade loitering munition that the United States has been furnishing to Ukraine in that country’s struggle with Russia.
Choctawhatchee IB student Isabella Negron was a single of a fifty percent-dozen high school college students, two school college students and mentors who worked on the Sky Dreamer job. They fabricated the aluminum physique panels on a CNC equipment, molded added human body elements from carbon fiber, put in the engines, wiring and batteries, all at the foundation’s north campus at Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview.
“4 months ago, (the Sky Dreamer) was a photograph on a laptop or computer, and now it’s below and it functions,” stated Negron, surprised at what she and her teammates had achieved in these types of a brief time.
“I’ve worked on robotics teams just before, but this undertaking is in a league of its very own,” she additional.
Equally amazed was Hsu Academic Basis founder Paul Hsu, who designed several massive technological know-how business in the region, together with Production Technological know-how Inc. (MTI) in 1984. Through his basis and a assortment of private-community partnerships, Hsu has tried to nurture and increase the area’s know-how, engineering and production abilities.
“Think about it,” Hsu stated as he pointed out some of the functions of the huge drone. “The full issue is designed in Crestview. It’s unbelievable. I’m just seriously proud of the little ones.”
The event’s keynote speaker, Col. Tony Meeks, also had some praise for the young customers of the Sky Dreamer drone crew. Meeks shared how he parlayed a boyhood passion for design rockets and place into an Air Pressure profession that led him to command the Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Pressure Base’s Air Power Research Laboratory. He made available them some perception, and a challenge.
“You are creativity is restricted only by you, so do not look at this and say ‘We’re completed,’ ” Meeks informed the group. “I’m inquiring you to say ‘What if?’ and ’What now?’ mainly because there is usually likely to be a will need for people who can perform together and who can assume outside the box.”