Updated: 9/2/06; 8:55:00 AM.
Gary Mintchell's Feed Forward
Manufacturing and Leadership.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm at the Austin airport President's Club getting a nourishing lunch of crackers and cheese and Ziegenbock. I was forwarned of the security situation first by an email from a fellow soccer referee who works for the Air Force, then by a call from Derek (my son, the pilot). So, I was prepared to check baggage and purge my laptop briefcase of all liquids. It was a breeze. There was a huge line at American, though, but I don't know what was happening.

The past few years I've been in a hurry to get home and took an early flight missing the last keynote at NI Week. I'm glad I stayed. First, security was a zoo first thing in the morning while everyone figured out how to implement the new standards. The second reason is that Dean Kamen gave a terrific keynote address. The first part of the speech dealt with innovation (see also my blog this week on Dealing with Darwin). The second part was an impassioned plea for the assembled geeks to get involved with his organization FIRST. This organization gets kids involved in technology competitions trying to teach them that there are better role models than NBA players and pop stars.

He gave one of the best explanations of the "problem with education" that I've ever heard (probably because I agree, and have for 20 years). The problem, he says, is not with the supply side of the equation (schools and teachers, trying to "fix" with tests, standards, demands). The problem is with the demand side. Not enough kids demand a better science and engineering education. We need to fix that. They need to see that the road to a good life and contribution to society is not through becoming an NBA superstar, but through becoming an engineer or scientist and making a contribution. Unfortunately, Shaquilee O'Neal and Britney Spears are more visible as role models than engineers. Let's fix that.

3:50:53 PM    comment []

Here's a new blog from Johnson Controls, not specifically manufacturing automation, but it does address building automation among other things.

2:56:01 PM    comment []

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