AMF-FL Will Expand 3D Printing in Florida and Grow High-Tech Jobs

October 3, 2023. Panama City, FL – The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) cohosted a two-day additive manufacturing (AM) workshop, this week, along with Florida State University (FSU) at the Panama City, FL campus. “Expanding the Northern Florida Ecosystem” formally launches AM Forward FL (AMF-FL), a first-of-its-kind statewide consortium of local, state, and national leaders to develop new opportunities for technology, business, and jobs in the field of additive manufacturing (AM). This is the first of three regional AMF-FL participant workshops to engage government, academic, and industry stakeholders in crafting a collaborative plan for maturing key aerospace, defense and energy supply chains in Florida.

“The State of Florida remains on the cutting edge of science and technology,” said Neal Orringer, President of ASTRO America. “This initiative will spur further innovation in the field of 3D printing and has the potential to drive significant change in regions previously under-supported or underserved. For that reason, ASTRO is pleased to be kicking off our effort here in North Florida– the prospective home of a job creating, business development machine!  We could not have better partners in this endeavor than our host – Florida State University and FAMU-FSU College of Engineering as well as other academic and industry teammates. We appreciate the lively discussion in Panama City over the course of the two days and will continue the dialogue in the coming months.”

“We have a very unique opportunity with AM Forward Florida to expand the innovation ecosystem in this region,” said John Christensen, ASTRO Vice President, Strategic Partnerships. “We are grateful for the enthusiastic support we’ve received from partners on the initiative.”

Inspired by the potential of AM (or 3D printing) to address critical supply chain challenges and create a new generation of technicians, engineers, and technologists, AMF-FL seeks to establish Florida as a hub for small, medium, and large companies to thrive and continuously innovate. The focus is to catalyze ground-breaking research and technology transition, particularly in communities previously viewed as less competitive in the advanced manufacturing sector.

Earlier this year, ASTRO America received a $1 Million development award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to accelerate the growth of the 3D printing ecosystem in Florida. To carry this out, the organization has partnered with five of the nation’s leading universities, including Florida International University, Florida State University and the joint Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Florida – all of whom enjoy a rich history supporting underserved populations. Together, they are hosting a series of workshops to create connections and discern appropriate stakeholders across the State. Ultimately, the group is seeking to develop a team that will prepare a winning project proposal to NSF for up to $160 million in federal implementation funding that would put this plan into action over 10 years, creating jobs and keeping Florida on the cutting edge of technology.

Florida State University and the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering are delighted to lead and kick-off the AMF-FL workshop series,” said Dr. Farrukh Alvi, Associate Provost for Innovation, Research & Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. “This was a great gathering of Northwest Florida regional stakeholders, our K-20 educators, local industry leaders, economic development partners, and representatives from National and Global Lead System Integrators. This highly productive first meeting of collaborators and partners sets the tone for continuing conversations on building a transformative AM innovation ecosystem whose benefits will impact the state, the southeast, the nation and beyond for generations.”

Leading U.S. corporations will play an important role in AMF-FL, informing requirements and future demand for production technology and materials, including AM Forward sponsor companies Boeing, GE Aviation, Honeywell Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies, and Siemens Energy. Small manufacturer partners include Sintavia, Maritech Machines, and ACMT Aero. More information on all partners in this effort, including university partners, can be found here.

The planning grant allows for eighteen months of work to develop a plan, during which time AMF-FL will host three participant workshops followed by three stakeholder workshops. 

For more information on AM Forward Florida, click here.

For more information on AM Forward, click here.


The Applied Science and Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan Research Institute and Think Tank. It was established in 2018 to advance the public interest through manufacturing technology and policy. Led by manufacturing professionals with broad public and private sector experience, ASTRO America supports collaborations by government agencies and companies to address supply chain challenges in highly regulated industries, including aerospace and defense.

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