This month, we interviewed Brian Wilson, an ARM Institute Member, ARM Institute Champion and the Chair of our Education & Workforce Development Advisory Committee (EWAC). Brian has been involved with the ARM Institute since our inception in 2017 and helps to guide the strategic direction of our workforce activities, which includes RoboticsCareer.org, our robust national workforce solution that supports the full ecosystem needed to fix the manufacturing workforce gap.
Get to know Brian in the interview below! Plus, connect with Brian and more subject matter experts from the ARM Institute membership at our Annual Member Meeting taking place Nov. 15-17, 2022 in Pittsburgh, PA.
1. Similar to the ARM Institute, Duro has a technical side (Duro UAS) and a workforce side (Duro Workforce). What are the missions for Duro UAS and Duro Workforce? How do they work together?
According to the United Nations, more than three billion people globally are at health risk due to a lack of water quality data. Duro UAS’ mission is to develop affordable, advanced environmental monitoring systems to reduce the cost and increase the quantity and quality of water and other environmental data.
Duro Workforce was founded soon after UAS to address gaps in the STEM talent pipeline, which we experienced firsthand in starting an environmental monitoring system company.
Our missions tie together in two ways. We need the talent to design and manufacture our systems, but we also develop introductory experiences for students as young as middle school to learn about these types of careers and gain skills to support the talent needed for manufacturing and other STEM industries.
2. How did you get involved in the Education & Workforce Development Advisory Committee (EWAC)?
At the first member meeting, someone mentioned a workforce side to the ARM Institute and that they were looking for members interested in joining the EWAC. Because of our manufacturing and workforce focus, I was excited to hear about it, so I signed up and was elected as chair. I’ve been in this role now for almost six years.
3. What kind of goals does the EWAC work towards?
The overall focus is to help create a pipeline of homegrown talent to support American manufacturers in adopting and implementing advanced robotics techniques for various parts of the nation’s manufacturing base. This includes everything from cars and planes to food and clothing.
While the statement above seems simple, it’s an exciting challenge with multiple layers. The EWAC brings together stakeholders to drive the design and deployment of training and credentialing programs. It also develops resources such as RoboticsCareer.org for candidates interested in robotics industries to find the best training or education to pursue careers as robotics technicians, specialists, and integrators.
4. What do you think are some of the most pressing workforce issues in U.S. manufacturing?
Lack of awareness is a significant challenge. From middle and high school students to professionals needing upskilling, manufacturing career pathways often aren’t understood. The EWAC helps generate this awareness through work on roboticscareer.org, programs, and other resources.
From the technical side, there can be concerns regarding cost and risk when adopting robotics into manufacturing processes, particularly with small and mid-size enterprises. With the collaboration of ARM’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and Education & Workforce Advisory Committee (EWAC), a de-risking center at Mill 19 was created to help with integration [ARM Institute note: The de-risking center mentioned here is part of our Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant]. These are the primary challenges facing companies interested in automation and where most of our focus lies.
5. The ARM Institute Annual Member Meeting is coming up in November. What are you most looking forward to during that event? What value have you seen in attending past Member Meetings?
I always look forward to seeing everyone and am happy this year will be in person. Hearing about the progress and successes of the past years’ project calls is always inspiring, and I enjoy seeing the demos.
And regarding the value of the member meetings, it’s a significant benefit to interact with the different groups, which are always insightful and informative and have helped create and guide all the initiatives we’ve launched. You also get the chance to build new relationships that can lead to new partnerships or potential funding opportunities. The level of talent you can meet and dialog with is also diverse and impressive, whether from government, academia, or cutting-edge large and small manufacturers.
I am looking forward to next month!
2022 Annual ARM Member Meeting
Our Annual Member Meeting convenes experts from across our 360+ member organization consortium for 2.5 days of networking, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing. Taking place Nov. 15-17, 2022 as a hybrid event in Pittsburgh, this year’s meeting will feature a reception at our Mill 19 headquarters, technology and workforce project demonstrations, and special activities to mark the ARM Institute’s 5th anniversary.
This event is free to attend, but open only to ARM Institute Members. There is still time to join the consortium in time to attend our Annual Meeting! Email [email protected] to learn more about membership or for help registering.
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.