USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

mike rowe

Mike Rowe star of TV’s Dirty Jobs series and founder and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, would like to add “skilled” trades to the well-known acronym of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). “Adding an ‘S’ to the end of STEM would further get across the vital role that training and jobs in skilled trades are playing in the future of STEM frontiers,” says Mike.

No doubt, skilled trade professionals such as auto technicians, plumbers, heating/air conditioning technicians, welders and electricians represent some of the most well-paid and in-demand high-tech jobs in STEM today, and at the Festival Expo, Mike — in a series of exciting presentations, including the first-ever mikeroweWORKS Pavilion at the Festival — will be spreading the word about how skilled trades pack a powerful punch, and how students can prepare for these jobs.

Says Mike: “We will be giving students first-hand examples of how,  for instance, welders and auto technicians use important principles of science and mathematics in their work, and introducing kids to the many quality technological school opportunities available to them for training following high school.”

In the mikeroweWORKS Pavilion, students will get up close and personal with some of the top innovators and companies in skilled trades today who are using their technology in myriad ways — from agricultural science and the DIY Movement to developing life-saving shark-resistant suits of armor for divers. Here are just some of the notables audiences will meet during the skilled trades panel presentation at the mikeroweWORKS Pavilion:

Mark Hatch, Chief Executive Officer of TechShop, a global leader in the Maker/DIY movement. Under Mark’s leadership, TechShop’s revenue has grown twentyfold in five years and multiple new locations have opened across the US. In 2013, his book, The Maker Movement Manifesto, was released by McGraw-Hill Education, and San Francisco Business Times recognized Mark as one of “Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs.” Mark has spoken at industry and leading events like Techonomy, TEDx, and The Clinton Global Initiative.

Jeremiah Sullivan, a noted inventor and marine biologist, is founder of SharkArmor Tech and creator and technical innovator of the Neptunic Brand and products. In the late 1970’s, he developed a flexible suit of armor for divers to wear while working around sharks. Today, under his new brand called SharkArmor Tech, he continues using the latest in skilled labor talent to manufacture new ways to advance his shark suits. These inventions have become the world standard among those who must work under hazardous circumstances with sharks in the open sea.

Sue McCloskey, along with her husband, Mike, are owners of Fair Oaks Dairy Farms in Indiana, one of the largest dairy farms in the United States that uses both commercial and organic farming practices. They milk over 15,000 cows, and through skilled trade innovation, their farm creates its own energy through manure digesters.

Brian Huff, CEO, Midwest Technical Institute (MTI). A former pipe welder, Brian co-founded MTI tradeschool in 1995 (the school was then known as the Midwest School of Welding). Today the school, headquartered in Springfield, Illinois — and having 7 campuses in 4 states — is known as a leader in training skill trade professionals in such sectors as mechanical trades, allied health, and transportation.

Matt Freund, a second-generation dairy farmer in Connecticut who is using skilled trade technology in innovative ways on his farm, including building a methane digester to create biofuel, installing 500-plus solar panels to generate enough solar energy needed to run the dairy farm, and inventing and marketing a product called CowPots,a by-product of dairy farming cow manure. Through these initiatives, Matt has received regional and national awards in conservation.

Also represented at the Pavilion will be such well-known companies and institutions as: CaterpillarWalmart (which has created a state-of-the-art truck that is fueled by hydrogen), UTI (the trade school noted for its expertise in marine and diesel technology), and such nonprofits as Go Build Alabama the FFA, BSA and SkillsUSA

Watch a preview video here: 

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