For this month’s issue of “Five Questions” we interviewed ARM’s Chief Operating Officer, Jay Douglass, about membership growth and the upcoming Annual ARM Member Meeting.
ARM recently issued a press release highlighting significant growth in its member base. Why is the Institute seeing this level of growth?
I believe there are two reasons for this growth. The first is the maturation of our organization – ARM is now in its 4th year and we are starting to see some great outcomes from the projects that have been funded, so more organizations are interested in participating in future projects or taking advantage of investments to date. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic has put even more emphasis on the need for the United States to re-shore more manufacturing, as well as invest in ways to keep employees safe. Robots can play a significant role in addressing both challenges.
What involvement has ARM had in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Departments of Defense and Commerce have recently provided approximately $5.6M to the ARM Institute for projects directly related to COVID-19 mitigation. This will be awarded to ARM Members to develop novel robotic solutions that solve challenges in areas such as diagnostics, safety, and supplies. Ten projects have been selected, and we expect to see results as soon as by the end of this calendar year.
In addition to projects, what other activities do ARM members undertake?
There are many opportunities for ARM Members to work together to achieve our mission – which is to which is to advance state-of-the-art applications of robotic technologies and prepare U.S. workers for careers in advanced manufacturing while supporting our defense industry.
Members have opportunities to serve on councils and committees to provide insight on our workforce and technical strategies and projects, grow regional presence and impact, and provide general guidance to our organization. Members convene in a variety of ways to share expertise, make important business and government connections, and enjoy participating in the largest national consortium focused on robotics in manufacturing.
Can you explain how ARM members convene, especially now during a pandemic?
As you would suspect, our engagement activities are now virtual. Members of ARM’s councils and committees still meet either monthly or quarterly. Since January, ARM has held monthly member-exclusive webinars that provide insights in innovative topics and project updates. Each ARM Member is part of our online Member Community, where they can engage with other members and share insights, ask questions, and learn about both ARM and member activities. And of course, we still plan to hold our cornerstone event, the ARM Annual Member Meeting, this fall, as a 3-day virtual event.
Tell us more about the Annual Member Meeting. Can non-members attend?
ARM’s 4th Annual Member Meeting will be held virtually on October 13-15. We are planning a great line-up of speakers, interactive sessions, virtual member exhibits, and valuable networking activities. More information on the event itself will be coming in early September.
Only members can attend the Annual Member Meeting, so if you are thinking of becoming an ARM member, now is a great time to start the membership process. Simply contact us at [email protected].
The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute is the nation’s leading collaborative in robotics and workforce innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership, ARM and its member organizations catalyze transformative robotic technologies and education for both industrial base and warfighter needs to grow U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and resilience. Founded in 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA by Carnegie Mellon University and operating as an independent non-profit funded by the Department of Defense, ARM is part of the DoD Manufacturing USA® network. Learn more at www.arminstitute.org.