Take a look back at a few highlights from 2022.
For the ARM Institute, 2022 marked five years catalyzing robotics and workforce innovation. This impact would not be possible without our 380+ member organization consortium, Board of Directors, Council and Committee members, government partners, and internal team of experts. Thank you for your continued support and all that you do with the ARM Institute to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and secure a brighter future for the U.S. workforce.
Explore just a few highlights from 2022 below:
Five Year Anniversary
2022 kicked off with our five year anniversary. With this milestone came our review by the Department of Defense’s Joint Defense Manufacturing Council (JDMC). The two-day event brought senior leaders from Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD(A&S)), Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Defense Logistics Agency, Missile Defense Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to the ARM Institute’s Mill 19 headquarters.
The Council evaluated the ARM Institute’s impact across its five years, ultimately determining that the ARM Institute will receive continued funding past our initial Technology Investment Agreement (TIA) with the DoD. The positive feedback was accompanied by suggested areas for improvement that will be a focus for the ARM Institute in calendar year 2023 and into the future.
Our operations at our robotics Institute’s Mill 19 location continued to draw national attention, alongside our fellow Mill 19 collaborators that include Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Institute and Catalyst Connection. Take a look back at just a few noteworthy visits below.
In January, President Biden visited Mill 19 and, among several topics, discussed the importance of our work to the nation. ARM Institute CEO Ira Moskowitz also met more personally with President Biden to discuss our work with Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood community.
Working with the ARM Institute, the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel (JDMTP) held a meeting at Mill 19. The Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel (JDMTP) serves to ensure coordination and collaboration across the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology (DoD ManTech) Program. Panel members include the directors and senior managers (referred to as Principals) of each DoD ManTech Program including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The JDMTP is chartered to identify and integrate joint requirements, conduct joint program planning, and develop joint strategies. Although the JDMTP has a shared strategic vision, all of the technical robotics projects and initiatives are selected, executed, and managed separately through each Principal’s Military Service or DoD Agency ManTech Program.
Department of Labor Chief Innovation Officer Chike Aguh met with the ARM Institute Education & Workforce Development Team and tried out our Virtual Reality (VR) Robotics Technician Assessment funded by the Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) program. The visit was hosted by our close collaborators Carnegie Mellon University’s Block Center and Heinz College.
Lisa Masciantonio, ARM Institute Chief Workforce Officer, also spoke at the AFL-CIO National Convention about the ARM Institute’s work in defining robotics career pathways in manufacturing and the role RoboticsCareer.org plays in preparing our national workforce for Industry 4.0 careers. Lisa also brought the United Steel Workers to Mill 19 for a meeting that focused on union collaboration, career pathways, a tour of Mill 19, and a hands-on demonstration of our Virtual Reality (VR) Robotics Technician Assessment.
$14.2M Federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant for Our Robotics Manufacturing Hub
The ARM Institute was awarded a $14.2 million grant through the federal Build Back Better (BBB) Regional Challenge awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The ARM Institute is one of several organizations who share in a $62.7 million grant to the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative to a build robotics and autonomy cluster and grow opportunity for all people and places in an 11-county region encompassing Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland.
Through this grant, the ARM Institute will create a Robotics Manufacturing Hub at our Mill 19 headquarters in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood. This Hub will work to de-risk the adoption of advanced robotics and automation technology for small and medium manufacturers to remove the barriers to robotics adoption, accelerate the use of Industry 4.0 technologies, and strengthen regional manufacturing.
Awards & Recognition
The ARM Institute received several awards in 2022, including:
- RoboticsCareer.org won a RBR50 Robotics Innovation Award
- The ARM Institute won two Telly Awards for our RoboticsCareer.org video
- The ARM Institute Virtual Part Repair Programming for Robotic Thermal Spray Applications Project Team won a Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award (DMTAA)
- Lisa Masciantonio won a Pittsburgh Business Times Woman of Influence Award
- The ARM Institute is a finalist for the Pittsburgh Business Times Best Places to Work
- For the fifth consecutive year, the ARM Institute was a finalist for the Pittsburgh Technology Council Tech50 Awards
Manufacturing USA Meeting at the White House
In October, the Executive Directors from the 16 Manufacturing USA Innovation Institutes convened at the White House for the first time since the network’s founding in 2012. The meeting centered on collaboration between the institutes, barriers to enabling technology and workforce innovation, and impactful technologies catalyzed by the Institutes. Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute CEO, was invite to provide updates on both the ARM Institute’s technology innovations and education/workforce initiatives.
The meeting was led by Assistant to the President and Director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, along with Deputy NEC Director Fazili and Deputy OMB Director Miller. Deputy and Under Secretaries from DOD, DOE, DOC, DOL, and USDA, along with representatives from six additional agencies, joined this leadership summit to discuss the critical role the Manufacturing USA network plays in advancing a modern American industrial strategy.
This event resulted in increased visibility for the Institutes across diverse agencies and within the Biden administration. Growing collaboration between the Manufacturing USA Institutes will be an area of focus moving into 2023.
New Functionality on RoboticsCareer.org with More to Come
The nation’s capacity to grow manufacturing is inhibited by a growing skills gap and the need to recruit the next generation of manufacturers. RoboticsCareer.org brings together the collaborators needed to address theses needs – from training providers and students to manufacturers. In its first phase, RoboticsCareer.org launched with the creation of the nation’s only database of training programs for robotics careers in manufacturing. These training programs align directly with the skills needed for these careers, as identified by the ARM Institute in collaboration with our member organizations.
In 2022, we built upon this base functionality by adding the ability for students and workers to create user profiles, get customized training recommendations, and build digital resumes.
The ARM Institute also endorses the nation’s most effective training programs through RoboticsCareer.org. With more than 16,000 programs listed on the site, the ARM Institute Endorsement badge recognizes industry-vetted and proven training programs. We endorsed several programs in 2022, including: Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy, Clover Park Technical College, NCUS Tech, Motlow State Community College, SWPA Bots IQ, and Westmoreland County Community College,
In 2023, the resource will be able to match workers and students to jobs. Beyond traditional job listings, RoboticsCareer.org will be able to build out customized job matches based on the skills listed in a candidate’s digital profile. Click here to get notified when this functionality is available. Build your profile on RoboticsCareer.org here.
Robotics Projects Continue to Spur Impact
From a project demonstration showing a collaborative robot drill into an F-15 wing at Mill 19 to innovations in robotic sewing, ARM Institute projects continued to address major issues in U.S. manufacturing. We launched a new way for the public to view and search for ARM Institute projects on our public website.
We also released a Project Call earlier in the year and will announce the project selections from that Project Call soon. This Project Call was unique for our members in that members could request up to $1M per project. It also featured new and expanded Special Topic Areas, that included:
- Adaptive Real-Time Path Planning and Control
- Human Action & Intention Prediction
- Robot Learning
- Feature and Pose Recognition and Estimation
- Virtual Commissioning of Advanced Robotic Systems
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data for Advanced Manufacturing Robotic Systems
- Multi-Agent Motion Planning and Tasking for Discreet and Continuous Manufacturing Processes
- Virtual Masking for Advanced Coating Applications
Beyond our traditional Project Call, we funded new projects through our Directed Project Call process with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Directed Projects provide another method for the ARM Institute to fund projects, enable ARM Institute Members to build relationships with the Department of Defense (DoD), and facilitate collaboration between the DoD and non-traditional collaborators. The selected projects also outline use cases for industry, creating dual impact.
A Growing Presence in Florida
Since our inception in 2017, the ARM Institute’s national operations have been based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This year, we expanded to a secondary location in St Petersburg, Florida. A key focus for the ARM Institute’s Florida office will be to help Florida’s growing manufacturing ecosystem leverage the investments made over the past five years in robotics, workforce development, and artificial intelligence.
Over the years, the ARM Institute has brought about $13M in both technology and workforce projects to the region, with funding from the Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and the Department of Labor. Twenty percent of the ARM Institute’s consortium membership have locations in Florida.
The Florida office is led by Arnie Kravitz, ARM Institute Chief Innovation Officer, and Suzy Teele, ARM Institute Chief Strategy Officer.
380+ Member Organizations & Our Internal Team of Experts
Our Member ecosystem grew to more than 380 member organizations. ABB, Northrop Grumman, Rapid Robotics, and Credential Engine were among the organizations who joined the ARM Member Consortium in 2022. The ARM Institute member ecosystem represents the full ecosystem needed to grow U.S. manufacturing, including small-and-medium sized manufacturers, the largest U.S. defense suppliers, industrial robotics suppliers, top research universities, community colleges, training providers, manufacturing extension partnerships (MEPs), government entities, non-profits, and more.
The ARM Institute enables unique collaboration between these organizations leading to broad industry roadmapping, technology and workforce innovations that leverage diverse perspective, and more. Email [email protected] to learn more about getting involved.
Our internal team of staff experts also grew to support our expanded activities. This year, we welcomed the following staff members to our team:
- Patrick Braun, Programs Manager
- Brianna Crosby, Grants and Contracts Administrator
- Melissa Dunlap, Education and Workforce Development Program Manager
- JT Elensky, Controller
- Joseph Giampapa, Principal Robotics Scientist
- Becky McKeever, IT Director
- Tasha Miller, Programs Manager
- William Miller, Principal Engineer
- Mary Ellen Rich, Certification Manager
- Miguel Rodriguez, Programs Manager
- Susan Santos, Senior Accountant
- Victoria Shawley, Events Coordinator
- Cassandra Stahl, Executive Assistant
- Chris Teague, Staff Accountant
- Emma Yourd, Education and Workforce Development Partnership Manager
2022 Annual Member Meeting
In November, we convened our national membership both in Pittsburgh, PA and virtually for our 6th Annual Member Meeting. Our 2022 event had record attendance and featured 2.5 days of networking, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing. We welcomed expert keynote presenters representing a mix of technically focused government representatives to industry experts, showcased technology and workforce project demonstrations, and brought our attendees to Mill 19.
We also recognized several new ARM Institute Champions:
- Nihad Alfaysale, former ARM Institute Government Chief Technology Adviser
- Roger Christian, Yaskawa
- Michel Conklin, Southwest Bots IQ
- Laura Evans, Fanuc
- Shane Groves, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex
- Greg Hudas, ARM Institute Government Program Manager
- Carley Mollica, Lockheed Martin
- Martin Philo, Graymatter Robotics
- Aaron Prather, ASTM
- Ted Rozier, Festo
These members join Juan Aparicio (previously of READY Robotics), Debbie Franklin (Wichita State University), Matt Robinson (Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and ROS-Industrial), and Brian Wilson (Duro UAS) as Champions.
Read the full recap here. The recordings from our event will be posted in the ARM Member Community soon.
Hazelwood & Local Community
The visual symbolism behind our operations being housed within the steel structure of an old steel mill isn’t understated. Even as a national institute, being a good neighbor to the Hazelwood community continued to drive our regional strategy.
In October, we invited local students to Mill 19 for a Manufacturing Day event held in partnership with our current Mill 19 neighbors (Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Institute and Catalyst Connection) and future Mill 19 collaborators (the University of Pittsburgh and Elevate Bio). The educational event featured a panel discussion around AI manufacturing careers, tours of Mill 19, technology demonstrations, and an exhibit area of local partners, including the Community College of Allegheny County, BotsIQ, ElevateBio, HEBI Robotics, the Girls of Steel, Robert Morris University, Industrial Arts Workshop, and more.
Earlier in the year, we worked with Hazelwood Local to bring Hazelwood residents into Mill 19. This event featured tours of the building, project demonstrations, and introductions to organizations housed at Mill 19. We also explored Jay Douglass’s familial connection to the site.
Working with the regional AIM Higher Consortium, a Defense Manufacturing Community led by Catalyst Connection, we named two new ARM Institute Fellows: Jim Clark from ARIS Technology and Christopher Ravasio from ARIN Technologies. These Fellows joined Dr. Jared Glover, a previously named Fellow, in working on technology projects to strengthen defense manufacturing capabilities in West Virginia and the Southwestern Pennsylvania region.
The ARM Institute operates at the confluence of industry, government, and academia to drive collaboration between organizations that otherwise would have missed the chance to connect. Imagine what we could accomplish with your organization on board. Reach out to [email protected] to learn more about membership or getting involved.
About the ARM Institute
The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute is a Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Agreement Number W911NF-17-3-0004 and is part of the Manufacturing USA® network. The ARM Institute leverages a unique, robust, and diverse ecosystem of 300+ consortium members and partners across industry, academia, and government to make robotics, autonomy, and artificial intelligence more accessible to U.S. manufacturers large and small, train and empower the manufacturing workforce, strengthen our economy and global competitiveness, and elevate national security and resilience. Based in Pittsburgh, PA since 2017, the ARM Institute is leading the way to a future where people & robots work together to respond to our nation’s greatest challenges and to produce the world’s most desired products. For more information, visit www.arminstitute.org and follow the ARM Institute on LinkedIn and Twitter.