Northwest Florida Manufacturing News Monthly
Manufacturing Stats
The Current Employment Statistics program, a monthly survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released the following data in July 2017. These statistics were prepared by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity:
  • In June 2017, Florida had 365,900 manufacturing jobs. This amounts to an increase of 10,900 jobs over the year.
  • For 78 consecutive months, the manufacturing industry has gained jobs. Previously, manufacturing was losing jobs for over four years.
Manufacturing job growth is great news for Northwest Florida and solidifies our need for a skilled workforce.
Committee Updates
All committees and subcommittees are always looking for new thoughts and ideas. Please reach out to Cindy Anderson ( if you would like to participate.

Marketing Committee – Dee Setzer, Fort Walton Machining, Chair
  • The committee has designed a backdrop for upcoming events
  • We now are marketing on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and are looking for new exposures for each platform
  • As part of a pilot program, the Board provided promotional manufacturing t-shirts to students
  • The new website rolled out this past month; it has a new crisp, clean look with additional interactivity capability
Talent Committee – Kristie Kelly, Gulf Power, Chair
  • Scholarship Subcommittee Barbara Mitchell, American Elite Molding, Co-Chair and Dennis Sherwood, Northwest Florida State College, Co-Chair
  • Take stock in children
  • Manufacturer/Council/student contract scholarships
  • Educator Retention Subcommittee – April Branscome, Okaloosa County School Board, Chair
  • Pilot program for planning days
  • Matches for certifications to educators
  • Paid externships in summer
  • Awards Subcommittee – Nicole Gislason, UWF, Chair
  • Competitions Subcommittee – Ben Shuman, Okaloosa County School Board, Co-Chair and Cindy Anderson, NWFMC, Co-Chair
  • Career Pathways Subcommittee – Cindy Anderson, NWFMC, Chair
  • Developed for each of the region’s ten counties on the NWFMC website
  • Career Changers Subcommittee needs a chair. Please email Cindy ( if you are interested.
We Need Your Input!
One of the most valuable benefits the Council provides its membership is training opportunities. Hosted by the University of West Florida, these training opportunities are provided free-of-charge to our members. As a reminder, we ask our members to vote to ensure we offer the training classes you need. If you have not had an opportunity to complete the Training Needs Assessment distributed by UWF, please take a few minutes to do so now. This needs assessment describes potential training opportunities and asks you to rank all classes in priority order.
Manufacturing Month
October is National Manufacturing Month and serves as an opportunity to generate manufacturing awareness. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has developed an infographic that illustrates the growth and purpose of Manufacturing Day. NWFMC partners with NAM and the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) to ensure we are taking advantage of available resources. While there are several means to participate, student tours have been the most successful method in Northwest Florida; last year, over 1,000 students participated in tours. As additional manufacturers open their doors to student and educator tours, we hope to exceed that number this year.

In addition to manufacturing month, FLATE also assists our state colleges as they bridge a path between secondary and post-secondary manufacturing programs. To learn more, follow FLATE’s blog: FLATE Focus.
New Board of Directors Member
James Hodge has been elected to replace outgoing Board member Warren Whitfield, who has relocated to Georgia. James has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech and currently serves as Plant Manager for CEREX Advanced Fabrics. Previously, he spent over six years working in process engineering and product development roles for CEREX. Before joining CEREX, James worked with BASF, Optima Chemical Group, and SGL Carbon and has 18 years of manufacturing experience. 
Letter from the Executive Director
As we have moved into a new fiscal year, we reflect on retaining those members we had last year and bringing in new members. The age old questions is, “What does the Council do and what’s in it for me?” Fair enough question. Our short answer is, “the Council is building the talent pipeline for manufacturers in Northwest Florida.” Therefore, if you participate in this activity, you are investing in the growth and retention of an industry that provides the region’s highest economic return on investment. As our economy grows, so do the companies in our region – rising tide floats all boats.
To satisfy my curiosity with respect to who else is asking for your funds, I Googled nonprofits and not-for-profits in Northwest Florida and stopped counting when I was approaching 100. Each had an interest, as we do, and are focused and working to solve a problem in Northwest Florida, but they can only do it with regional financial support. So, my question is, how do we set NWFMC apart? Our data is good and getting better; we’re increasing student participation in manufacturing-related programs and are growing the entire educational pathway from kindergarten through post-secondary. However, we need help getting the word out and educating the public on new manufacturing careers.
With this in mind, the call to action is to provide your suggestions to “get the word out.” Several are already in place, including this newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, news releases, and meetings, but we would sincerely appreciate your suggestions!

Cindy Anderson
Board of Directors Tour and Meeting
Thursday, September 21
2:30 - 4:00 PM
UWF Main Campus
Have an event you would like to add? 
Email information to

Annual Manufacturing Meeting
Thursday, October 19
3:00 - 6:00 PM

This newsletter was developed in collaboration with the University of West Florida.