Northwest Florida Manufacturing News Monthly
Member Highlight: Cerex
CEREX Advanced Fabrics, Inc. is the world leader in manufacturing high-quality, nylon 6,6 polymer spunbond nonwoven fabrics.
For over 45 years, CEREX has provided customers around the world with innovative, engineered nylon 6,6 products that deliver exceptional performance and value. Located just outside of Pensacola, CEREX is a global supplier to a variety of demanding markets, including high-quality filtration, automotive safety, specialty medical, protective apparel, and advanced fiber reinforced composites. CEREX aims to deliver solutions and to add value to end products, operating 24/7/365. CEREX is committed to quality through ISO 9001 and ISO/IEC 17025 certifications.
World of Manufacturing
Worlds of Possibilities provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to learn more about regional career paths, with the NWFMC leading World of Manufacturing. More than 2,400 students learned from a variety of key partners:

Ascend: Five interns described the products they manufacturer and the by-product that makes candy tart.
SolidWorks: Scott Weller allowed students to watch and use the software as it sends data to the 3-D printer.
PSC Robotics: Wilson Rook, robotics instructor, brought Robby the robot. For their semester project, PSC students programmed Robby to make pancakes.
UWF Robotics: Sam Russell, engineering and robotics instructor, brought student-created unmanned vehicles.
Lego Robots: Charlie Henderson, Escambia County High School instructor, brought Lego robots that could sort bricks by color. He stressed that programming is important to the manufacturing industry and does not require a four-year degree.
Jaeger Education: Rod Jaeger brought a sample of Amatrol equipment and 3-D printers. Manufactured body parts are used by medical students and react as though they were made of real human tissues, eliminating the need for cadavers.
New CPT Recipients
Over the past few years, we have worked to develop skilled worker pipeline for our regional manufacturers. Entry-level workers can become Certified Production Technicians (CPT), offered by the national Manufacturing Skills Standard Council (MSSC).  We are highlighting the accomplishments of two CPT recipients who have the skills to fill entry-level positions.
Cody Kite, a junior at Northview High School, has recently passed his MSSC-CPT certification and plans to graduate in May 2018. He attends the Northview Agriculture program, serving as reporter for the FFA. Additionally, he has traveled to both General Electric and Hyundai as part of the Automation and Production Technology (A&P) class. He plans to work at a local manufacturing facility once he graduates. In his time at Northview, he has learned many safety and quality manufacturing practices and hopes to apply his knowledge at a local manufacturing facility after graduation. 

Jackson Schubert, junior at Freeport Senior High School, was one of the first students in his A&P class to obtain his CPT. After graduation, he plans to attend the University of Northwestern Ohio’s High Performance Motorsports program. Jackson enjoys hands-on work and performs maintenance at his family’s tool and equipment rental business, and hopes to own his own hot rod shop one day. His favorite quote is by Mike Finnegan, mechanic and editor of Hot Rod Magazine: “Some people want to go fast, some want to look good, but I say going fast is looking good.” 
Thanks to Our Committee Members!
On March 8, several of our members met to take our newly revamped Marketing and Talent Committees to the next level. Special thanks go to Dee Setzer (Ft. Walton Machining) and Kristie Kelley (Gulf Power) for donating their time and talents as chairs of the Marketing and Talent Committees. If you did not attend, please email Cindy Anderson ( to add your name to the list of volunteers.
Membership Poll
Membership Poll: Legislators have proposed to eliminate Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida and return their activities to the State. The council's executive director has been asked by members to provide input on this proposed action. Provide your vote here:  Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida Poll
MAF Updates

Florida Legislative Session Opens

The AIF Legislative Reception and the Taste of Florida Reception kicked off the 2017 Session of the Florida Legislature. President Negron cited higher education, cessation of Lake Okeechobee discharges, reducing criminal sentences for adolescents, a unanimous verdict for the death penalty, and religious freedom in schools as his priorities. House Speaker Corcoran spoke about transparency in government, government waste, ethics, misconduct and special interests. He plans to pass an additional $25,000 homestead exemption for property owners, twelve-year term limits for legislators, fight against property tax increases, and improve schools to serve students. Governor Scott talked of cutting taxes, creating jobs, repealing the sales tax on commercial leases and rents, making Florida the most military and veteran friendly state, diversifying the economy, and supporting Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, both job creating agencies.  

MAF Has Four Priorities

MAF’s four priority issues are environmental pollution reporting (reasonableness), workers compensation insurance reform (reducing cost drivers such as attorneys’ fees), non-homestead Property tax cap (renewing the constitutional cap of 10% on non-homestead property), and commercial leases/rents (reducing the sales tax). 

The MAF Watch List includes 179 bills on the following topics: local regulation preemption, texting while driving, renewable energy, disposable plastic bags, cosmetic product registration, controlled substances, prescription drugs, minimum wage, alcoholic beverages and beer, firearms, terrorism, autonomous vehicles, contaminated site cleanup, drones, utility investments and linear facilities, and water.  

House Passes Bill to Gut Economic Programs

Governor Scott supports economic incentive funds, Enterprise Florida, and Visit Florida while House Speaker Corcoran opposes them, causing tension over the past several months. Despite heavy opposition, the House passed HB 7005 (Economic Programs) on March 10. This bill eliminates certain economic incentives and economic development programs or offices, effective July 1, 2017. MAF has spoken in opposition to the bill. The bill passed the House on an 87/28 vote. House Speaker Corcoran is already preparing to override an expected veto by Governor Scott.

Workers Comp Bills Taking Shape

MAF has been working with a coalition of business lobbyists on workers’ compensation issues over the past few months; the Senate and House have both filed related bills. Throughout the discussions, the business community has expressed the need to address attorneys’ fees for meaningful reform. On March 10, the House filed the second version of HB IBS 17-01. MAF and other business groups criticized the first draft for not addressing attorneys’ fees; the second draft is still under review to determine if the revisions are adequate. Senator Bradley filed SB 1582 on March 3, which addresses loss costs and “housekeeping changes,” but does not reference attorneys’ fees. On the record, Senator Bradley has stated this is a two-year project and not to expect a change in attorney’s fees provisions. 

Pollution Reporting Bill Sails Through First Committee

HB 1065 and SB 532 clarify pollution reporting in Florida. Both bills clarify that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, not the facility, must report pollution to the public. On March 7, MAF testified in favor of SB 532 in the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee. Both bills provide the clarity sought by manufacturers. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources will hear SB 532. The House Bill hearing is pending.

Non-Homestead Tax Cap

MAF has been lobbying House and Senate committee members to pass the Non-Homestead Tax Cap resolution so that the issue would go back to the voters in 2018 for renewal. The bills in questions are HB 21 and SB 76 Limitation on Property Tax Assessments. MAF has testified twice on HB 21 and it is now on the House Calendar for floor action. SB 76 is now in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Commercial Leases and Rents

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) has been deliberating for weeks over the “universe” of taxpayers that would be affected by the tax rollback in order to estimate the loss to the state in tax revenue. MAF has participated in those REC meetings. HB 223, SB 484, SB 820, and SB 838 have been filed on this subject; none has been heard in a committee yet.

March/April Calendar
ExporTech Webinar - 
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Tuesday, March 21
General Membership Meeting
Thursday, April 20
Networking 2:30 - 3:00 PM
Meeting 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Tour immediately following meeting
Rex Lumber, Graceville, FL
FloridaMakes Webinar - 
Defense and Government Suppliers
Thursday, March 30
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training
Tuesday, April 25 - Thursday, April 27
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
UWF Innovation Institute
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, April 20
2:00 - 2:45 PM
Rex Lumber, Graceville, FL
Have an event you would like to add? 
Email information to

Inventors' Corner
NewBev seeks local manufacturer: Thinh Nguyen, cofounder and CEO of NewBev, seeks a local manufacturer to build beverage systems, which consist of smart water coolers for the modern office. The beverage system utilizes tap water to create fruit infused flavored drinks, coconut water, cold-brew coffee, and other premium beverages. NewBev's goal is to create a drink system that will reduce and/or eliminate the environmental cost of plastic bottles. For information on manufacturing NewBev's product, contact Thinh Nguyen (  
  This newsletter was developed in collaboration with the University of West Florida.