This November (2022), we hosted our National Annual Member Meeting! We convened representatives from across our 380+ member organizations for 2.5 days of networking, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing both in Pittsburgh, PA and via a livestream for those who could not join us in-person. During this year’s event, we also celebrated the ARM Institute’s fifth anniversary with our Members and outlined the new opportunities coming in 2023 and beyond.
Take a peek into our 2022 event through our recap below!
Keynote Presentations by Subject Matter Experts
The ARM Institute Annual Member Meeting is unique in bringing diverse perspectives together to outline where the manufacturing, robotics, and workforce industries are going and where development is still needed.
Dr. Steven G. Wax, Acting Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Science and Technology (A/DCTO(S&T)) in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, joined us remotely via livestream to outline Department of Defense priorities in technology development. In his role, Dr. Wax directs an organization responsible for the oversight of and advocacy for the Department of Defense (DoD) Science and Technology (S&T) Enterprise, including S&T workforce and laboratory infrastructure policy, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and University-Affiliated Research Centers. The DCTO(S&T) office also oversees a broad portfolio of S&T programs, including Basic Research, Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer, and DoD Manufacturing Technology, including the nine Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.
Dr. Wax’s presentation was supported later in the day by Stephen Luckowski (Program Manager, OSD Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and JPEO Armaments and Ammunition Advanced Manufacturing Technology) who provided more insight into how the ARM Institute factors into the larger DoD strategy.
Mike Molnar, the founding director of the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (the interagency team responsible for the Manufacturing USA program), also joined us and provided an overview of the Manufacturing USA network, the network’s impact, and how the ARM Institute’s focus areas extend across the Institutes, creating wide-ranging impact.
State of the Robotics Industry
Alex Shikany, Vice President Membership & Business Intelligence at the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) provided insight into the overall state of the robotics industry in his keynote presentation. The future looks bright, as Alex highlighted record numbers of global robotics adoption, new applications of robotics in emerging industries, and key investments in robotics companies.
An Emphasis on Workforce
In one of our Education & Workforce Development break-out sessions, Dr. Valerie DeVries (Deputy Chief of Staff, Human Capital G1 U.S. Army TACOM) pre-recorded a keynote presentation about the workforce priorities in the DoD’s Organic Industrial Base Modernization plan, outlining the existing strategy and barriers to implementing these plans. Dr. Greg Hudas facilitated discussion about her presentation with our members.
Greg Balandran, Senior Automation Engineer at Amcor, also joined our Education & Workforce Development break-out session to discuss employer needs in workforce development and how the ARM Institute’s national workforce capability – RoboticsCareer.org – is working to fill those gaps.
Additional Funding Opportunities
We also welcomed representatives from AFWERX, a Technology Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the innovation arm of the Department Air Force, and our local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) (Government Agency Coordination Office) for a discussion about external funding opportunities.
ARM Institute Champion Recognition
The ARM Champion Program is our method of recognizing select members for their significant contributions to the ARM Institute. We launched this Program at the 2021 Annual ARM Member Meeting where we named Juan Aparicio (previously of READY Robotics) and Debbie Franklin (Wichita State University) as our first two ARM Champions. Later in 2022, we also named Matt Robinson (Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and ROS-Industrial) and Brian Wilson (Duro UAS) our second set of ARM Champions
This year, we recognized several ARM Institute Members for their dedication, as well as three of our government partners.
- 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
Notably, among our Champion awards, we recognized Nihad Alfaysale, our longtime Government Chief Technology Adviser who has received a promotion and will be departing his role at the ARM Institute. Since the early days of the ARM Institute, Nihad has been critical to guiding our technical strategy and facilitating collaborative opportunities with the Department of Defense. We thank Nihad for his role in the ARM Institute’s success!
We congratulate and thank each of our ARM Champion awardees for their dedication to the ARM Institute!
Last week, Festo’s own Ted Rozier received the @ARM_Robotics Champion Award. This award shows recognition to members and organizations that have shown proof of going above and beyond to enable the Institute’s work.#workforcedevelopment #manufacturing #robotics #skillsgap pic.twitter.com/ltppat2a7J
— Festo Didactic – North America (@didactic) November 21, 2022
Member Five Minute “Pitches”
The strength of the ARM Institute comes from our unique ability to bridge the gaps between industry, government, and academia – providing critical collaborative opportunities for organizations that otherwise would have missed the chance to connect. To facilitate this, we offered a select number of Five Minute “Pitch” slots for members to provide brief, action-oriented overviews of their capabilities, focus areas, and needs. Pitch Slots, which were introduced at our 2021 meeting, were open to all members through our registration page and quickly filled.
Mill 19 Networking Reception & Technology Demonstrations
Members joined us at our Mill 19 headquarters in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood for a networking reception, interactive demonstrations of a few ARM Institute robotics projects, and a display of our project posters. From putting on a HoloLens to step into a manufacturing environment to watching our on-site demonstrations in action, members explored how ARM Institute-funded projects are solving real world problems both for industry and the DoD. We also showcased a few pieces of DoD equipment and provided information about how our projects aid in the sustainment and repair of those pieces.
Five Year Education & Workforce Development Project Showcase
During our first night reception, we welcomed a few ARM Institute funded Education & Workforce Development projects to showcase their capabilities! Members were able to step inside our Virtual Reality Robotics Technician Assessment with SimInsights and see how ARM Institute Endorsed robotics training programs like Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy’s SMART program and Southwest BotsIQ are empowering the U.S. manufacturing workforce.
Deep Dives on our Technical and Education/Workforce Activities
Our meeting also broke out into concurrent Technology and Education & Workforce Development (EWD) Tracks for deep dives on our activities in those areas.
Our Education & Workforce Development Tracks centered on upcoming enhancements to our national workforce capability – RoboticsCareer.org. Members were given an early preview of how job-matching will work on the site, as well as actionable ways they can use RoboticsCareer.org to upskills and support their workforce and students. Our team also outlined how we leveraged member feedback from our 2021 meeting to build actionable plans and generate reports that will be released in 2023.
Our Technology Tracks centered on the impact of ARM Institute projects. Adam Norton, University of Massachusetts Lowell and leader of our Metrics & Evaluation Working Group provided insight into how ARM Institute projects perform and how we measure impact and success. We also highlighted newly selected projects, provided an overview of how ARM Institute Directed Projects facilitate collaboration between members and the DoD, and gave members of our project teams from our 21-02 Technology Project Call the opportunity to brief their progress.
Members also learned more about the NIST-funded Robotics and Automation Decision framework for Agility and Resilience (RADAR) Project that we are working on with Texas A&M. This project seeks to build a micro-scale simulation model of a critical COVID supply and the macro-scale simulation model of the supply-chain needed to deliver that supply will be integrated with a demand signal based on infection rates will be validated by real-world experiments as a testbed to show where and how investments in robotic and automation technologies can be made to improve the resilience for both a company as well as the defense industrial base.
Council, Committee, and Working Group Meetings
Members of our Stakeholder Executive Council, Technical Advisory Committee, Education & Workforce Development Advisory Committee, Data for Artificial Intelligence Working Group, and Endorsement Council met in-person during our Annual Meeting to network and set goals for the upcoming calendar year.
Our membership team also announced two new working groups that will be formed in early 2023: Human-Robot Interaction and Autonomous Mobile Robots & Drones! These Working Groups will be open to all ARM Institute Members. More information and sign-up forms are forthcoming. In the interim, embers can also email [email protected] for more information
Next Steps & Save the Date
ARM Institute Members will receive access to our Member Meeting presentations and recordings in the coming weeks. If you are not a member, but are interested in getting involved or accessing outputs/presentations from our Annual Member Meeting, email [email protected] to learn more about joining.
ARM Members should also save-the-date for our 2023 Annual Member Meeting taking place November 13-15 in Pittsburgh, PA!
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.