Motlow nominates Flatt for excellence award

Motlow College recently nominated Larry Flatt for a Statewide Outstanding Achievement and Recognition (SOAR) Staff Excellence Award. Flatt’s been instrumental in the development of Motlow’s Automation & Robotics Training Center. (Photo Courtesy of Motlow College)

He’s partnered with the world’s leading automation and robotics manufacturers to develop advanced training opportunities for student right here in southern, middle Tennessee and now Motlow State would like to honor him with a Statewide Outstanding Achievement & Recognition (SOAR) Staff Excellence Award.

Motlow State recently selected Automation & Robotics Training Center (ARTC) Executive Director Larry Flatt as its nominee for the annual Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) awarded each year.

The SOAR Staff Excellence Award’s foremost criterion is overall excellence in the responsibilities of a staff member’s specific appointment service and/or professional activity. Service is also recognized on many levels, including service to the department, school, college, profession, and community. Candidates should be able to demonstrate distinction beyond typical job responsibilities, reflecting excellence in those areas.

Flatt joined Motlow in 2012 and was a leader in creating the ARTC, overseeing the construction of the facility, and partnering with automation and robotics manufacturers to develop advanced training opportunities. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech University and his M.B.A. from Middle Tennessee State University.

“Larry has a unique compilation of knowledge, experiences, abilities, skills, and credentials,” said Executive Vice President of Workforce and Community Development Tony Millican. “His personal example represents a compelling industry-to-education career transition that is exceptionally valuable to the TBR mission. His shift from industry leader to education entrepreneur should inspire professionals in a variety of fields to share their occupational successes with generations of new learners.”

Flatt has been instrumental in developing partnerships with the world’s top three robot manufacturers: ABB, FANUC, and Yaskawa Motoman. Flatt has also cultivated partnerships with Southern Controls, Inc., Bertelkamp, Irby, Wesco, and Parker Hannifin to offer additional industry training and certification opportunities in automation and fluid power.

“The ARTC is offering courses that are essential to the needs of local industry that utilize robots,” said Flatt. “Our vision of formally partnering with industry to provide training to the exact specifications of the robot manufacturer has come to fruition. The Center provides the opportunity for individuals already employed in the robotics field to receive additional manufacturing-specific education and certification. It also provides an educational pathway for Motlow students who are seeking an A.A.S. degree or certification in robotics.”

The ARTC earned a 2019 National Association of Developmental Organizations (NADO) Impact Award for its support of regional workforce development and a 2020 Community Colleges of Appalachia (CCA) Award. Motlow has earned additional awards for the graphics that adorn the facility and the promotion of the ARTC.

The 12,500-square-feet ARTC is located on 4.5 acres of land, donated by the Warren County Commission, adjacent to the Motlow State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology campus in McMinnville. The ARTC offers automation training, including digital systems, sensors, electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, programming, and alarm management. Robotic training can be realized through two distinctive pathways: training for industry and job seekers and college credit instruction.

For more information, visit the Motlow State website. •

Motlow wins award for Robotics Training Center

Motlow’s Automation and Robotics Training Center offers specialized robotic training for local job-seeker looking for high-wage robotic technician positions. According to the school, there are more than 7,000 robots already in operation in the middle Tennessee area. {Photo Provided}

REGIONAL NEWS | McMinnville — According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics robotics is a growing field. Thanks to Motlow’s Automation and Robotics Training Center (ARTC) in McMinnville job seekers can learn high-wage skills in just four days. It’s that kind of community and workforce impact that’s won them a 2019 National Association of Developmental Organizations (NADO) Impact Award from its support of regional workforce development.

According to the college, ARTC classes and outreach efforts also include teaching and training in coding and other STEM programs. The ARTC serves as the lab site for Motlow’s associate of applied sciences degree. The college seated its first cohort of degree-seeking students this fall. The facility was completed ahead of schedule, began teaching classes within two weeks of opening, and is now poised to provide instruction to national clients.

“We should all pause and reflect on the energy and power of this collaborative effort. This is not an award for an idea, or a plan, or a building. This is an award for impact, and the impact it recognizes is the result of model public-private partnerships collaborating to achieve shared missions. That’s a big deal. It endorses our regional partnership as a national model. A lot of people deserve hugs and handshakes for this award. We should all be eating cake over this piece of paper,” said Terri Bryson, vice president of external affairs at Motlow who, with Larry Flatt, Motlow executive director of the robotics center, led the development and launch of the ARTC.

­The NADO Impact Awards program honors NADO members for their creative approaches to advancing regional community and economic development and improved quality of life.  The projects recognized by NADO have made significant impact on specific regions and demonstrate the diversity of services and program delivery provided by regional development organizations across the country.

“With the completion of the ARTC facility, we are now offering courses that are essential to the needs of local industries that utilize robots,” said Flatt. “We are proud to have received this award in recognition of our hard work and dedication to meeting the region’s robotics workforce need.”

The ARTC, celebrated at a grand opening event earlier this year, is located adjacent to the Motlow McMinnville campus on 4.5 acres of land donated by the Warren County Commission. The facility is the first of its kind in Tennessee and is designed to support the specialized needs of business and industry, providing training for the top three robot manufacturers in the country: ABB, FANUC, and Yaskawa Motoman. •

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