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NextFlex News – September 2020 Newsletter

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Hello NextFlex Friends and Colleagues,

It’s hard to believe that we are now six months into the remote working environment, and it doesn’t seem to get any easier. While it may be true that we’re getting used to the video meeting technology that enables our hopping from one meeting to the next all day and every day, it’s not the way I prefer to work. I miss seeing the team and having informal hallway conversations that let me know that everyone is OK and working together. At NextFlex, communication is critical, not just among and to/from our members, but also between ourselves, just to stay aligned and on top of the varied and numerous tasks we’re tracking daily.

Recently we reached out to members to learn what you’d like more of and how we can improve our services. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that members want more – more communications, more technology collaboration, and more ways to connect with each other. This important feedback has worked its way into our plans for the coming months, particularly as we get underway in earnest under the new Cooperative Agreement. We’re delighted that our members regularly provide us with the input we need to chart our path forward in ways that are meaningful to you. For example, you’ll soon see new resources put in place that will support reinvigorated roadmapping activities, a new member relations program, a Technology Leadership program, and increased communication about all of these things.

To support these efforts, I’d like to direct your attention to our newly designed website. The impetus behind the new design is to enable you to find what you’re looking for easily. Whether you’re with a company, academia or government, we’ve given you a path to a set of resources that’s accessible right from the home page.

As always, we strive to facilitate meaningful connections between companies, government partners, and academic institutions and to fund projects that will further the cause of manufacturing and development of flexible hybrid electronics. The website refresh was undertaken with these goals in mind, specifically designed to help direct the community to the exact resources they need. We plan to use the updated website to help you get what you need quickly, and we’d love to hear your feedback.

Our next activity will focus on Manufacturing Day, which NextFlex and our sister DoD institutes, as well as manufacturers across the country will celebrate on October 2. Having long been the cornerstone of the U.S. economy, manufacturing continues to provide highly skilled and highly paid jobs that create thriving communities. Still, the diversity of existing opportunities and the corresponding career potential that accompanies those opportunities is often overlooked which is why each year, Manufacturing Day celebrates and showcases both the work, and many of the individuals, that comprise the U.S. manufacturing sector. Our virtual Manufacturing Day will bring participants into the Technology Hub along with YouTube personality Nick Uhas who will guide the virtual tour along with the NextFlex engineers. Participants can ask questions about anything they see in the fab as well as career and education-oriented questions about how they can chart their own path toward a job in the advanced manufacturing sector. Hosted by Emily McGrath, NextFlex Director of Workforce Development, this year’s Manufacturing Day promises to put students directly in front of the electronics revolution at NextFlex. While the event is for students of all ages, anyone is welcome to attend. You can find more information about Manufacturing Day and registration here.

Sincerely,

Malcolm J. Thompson, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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