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NextFlex News – August 2020 Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends,

We couldn’t be happier with the results of last weeks’ Virtual Innovation Days and the positive feedback continues to roll in. We had record attendance of over 400 members and government partners, many of whom would not have been able to attend even without the restrictions in place due to the pandemic. When we made the decision in May to convert Innovation Days to a virtual event, we chose to go “bigger and better,” and by most measures we achieved it! I thank all the speakers, members and government participants, each of whom contributed to the overall success of the event. With more than 80 hours of presentations, many with live Q&A, 62 exhibit “booths” with interactive discussions, and extremely high-level DoD participation, this year’s Innovation Days was spectacular.

We could not have accomplished this without the help of our stellar Advisory Committee comprised of members and government, who helped us make choices about creating a new version of Innovation Days and making it useful to the FHE community. We set out to create an event that had something for everyone, and we learned a lot along the way. Not everything went flawlessly, but we will take those learnings forward to whatever comes next. A full recap of Innovation Days is in this newsletter. To access the publicly available page where you can view highlights of the three-day event, click here. Thanks again to everyone who participated and helped to make it a great event.

As noted in the last newsletter, NextFlex hosted 15 interns this summer. Two very important young interns from Willow Glen High School in San Jose, CA, had a very special task – to help convert two important elements of our FlexFactor® program, the “Industry Day” and the “College Day,” to a virtual version that would excite future FlexFactor students around the country. Through surveys, research, and interviews, they came up with ideas on how to engage industry and Community College partners in new ways to help connect young people with career and education pathways into the Advanced Manufacturing sector. You can read their story also in this newsletter.

At Innovation Days we talked a lot about the milestones achieved over the past year and took a deep dive into Technology programs, Fab Operations and Engineering activities at NextFlex. I couldn’t be prouder of these accomplishments, but I have to say that I’m even more excited about the coming year. With our second Cooperative Agreement now underway and the momentum that’s been generated by the member community, it’s sure to be a fantastic year ahead.

Thank you again for your support and guidance.

As always, keep the good ideas coming.


Malcolm J. Thompson,
Executive Director