March 14, 2023
5 min read

Highlights from the 2023 New England CAD-Engineering Teachers Summit

CAD and engineering teachers from across New England joined us for an interactive professional development day at this year's CAD-Engineering Teachers Summit. They heard industry partners from Massachusetts talk about the importance of educating students for careers in architecture, life sciences, and manufacturing and what skills to teach them to be prepared for jobs. They also got ideas from local teachers about what they are teaching in their CAD and engineering programs, how they are recruiting students to their programs, and how they are engaging local companies with their programs. There was also plenty of time for networking and visiting tables to try out new state-of-the-art technologies and see teacher projects. The room at Minuteman High School was buzzing all day with valuable conversations and Q&A.

Here are some highlights from the day:

The morning started with Mike LaFleshe, Director of Technical Content at Onshape in Boston talking about career paths from CAD programs (including his journey after graduating Bay Path Technical High School!)

Greg Joynt from KBA shared essential and technical skills that students need to become an architect and what he looks out for when he's interviewing entry-level candidates. He shared that essential skills take a long time to learn and that he's thankful for the work teachers do to instill this in their students. Technical skills are easier to teach on-the-job.

Next, Mark Lyons of AET Labs moderated a panel discussion about CAD covering how CAD is applied in various industry settings and how teachers are keeping their students engaged in their CAD programs. This panel session included:

  • Bob Guelli, CAD Instructor/Advanced Manufacturing Department Chair at Shawsheen Tech
  • Josh Meczywor, CAD Instructor at McCann Tech
  • Mitch Sweet, Drafting Department Head at Diman Regional
  • Mike LaFleshe from Onshape
  • Greg Joynt from KBA Architects
  • Phillipe Bedard from Creaform

Nic Finello from zSpace introduced zSpace and why to use AR/VR technology in a classroom.

Ken Warnock from Medtronic in Danvers provided insight into his engineering experience working for a medical device company, how schools can partner with industry groups in Massachusetts like MassTech, and the critical needs for skilled students to meet employer hiring needs in the area.

Joshua Lamontagne, Product Market Manager at the Festo Life Sciences Division in Billerica, shared an example of how Festo automation products improved productivity at a life sciences company and the importance of students understanding how automation systems work.

David Kempskie of AET Labs led a panel discussion about how educators are teaching automation in their programs and robotics and automation skills local companies need for their employees. This panel discussion included:

  • Dean Lepkowski, Engineering Teacher at Monty Tech
  • Cory Rugg, Robotics and Automation Teacher at Attleboro High School
  • Ken Warnock from Medtronic
  • Joshua Lamontagne from Festo
  • Nathan Desrochers from Universal Robot

The day ended by announcing that Mitch Sweet from Diman Regional won the Teacher of the Year Award for his commitment to teaching his students CAD and 3D printing with many creative projects and becoming certified to give his students an industry-recognized additive manufacturing credential.

Throughout the day, teachers had access to "application alley" where they saw 3D printing projects from Bob Guelli from Shawsheen Tech and Mitch Sweet from Diman Regional and saw how Dean Lepkowski teaches his students automation with the Festo MecLab and customized expansion kits. Teachers also got to try zSpace, look at ultra-realistic 3D printed items from Stratasys printers, and see Creaform 3D scanners, a Universal Robots collaborative robot, and Festo MecLab in action. It was a thrilling day!