Third Regional AM Workshop Gathers More Than 100 Stakeholders to Develop Plan to Address Supply Chain Challenges, Keep Florida on the Cutting Edge of Technology

January 29, 2024. Miami, FL – The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) co-hosted a two-day additive manufacturing (AM) workshop, last week, along with Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. “Pioneering Additive Manufacturing in South Florida” featured keynote speakers David Tatro, vice president for Operations Process Transformation, Lockheed Martin; Brian R. Neff, Chief Executive Officer of Sintavia LLC; Thomas N. Ackerson, Principal Materials & Process Engineer – Metallurgy for Blue Origin LLC; FIU President Kenneth Jessel; Inés Triay Melendez, FIU Interim Dean, College of Engineering & Computing; and Neal Orringer, CEO of ASTRO America.

This was the third regional workshop to engage government, academic, and industry stakeholders in crafting a collaborative plan for maturing additive aerospace, defense and energy supply chains in Florida. The workshops are part of ASTRO’s AM Forward FL (AMF-FL) program, launched at Florida State University and supported by the National Science Foundation via a NSF Engine Development Grant retitled Advancing Additive Manufacturing Technologies

“We are truly grateful to FIU. This workshop in South Florida capped off the first phase of our effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation, to explore our current community of manufacturing innovators all across the State,” said Neal Orringer, President of ASTRO America. “Now, we have a solid foundation to initiate the next phase of our project– to shape a proposal for an effective, full-scale Regional Innovation Engine. At the end of the day, our entire team is committed to building up an advanced manufacturing hub in Florida that is cutting-edge, productive, and inclusive. ”

“We have a very unique opportunity with AM Forward Florida to expand the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in this region around industrial-scale additive manufacturing,” said John Christensen, ASTRO Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and principal investigator for this project. “We are grateful for the enthusiastic support we’ve received from partners across the state 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 center 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.

To carry this out, the organization has partnered with five of the nation’s leading universities, including Florida International University, Florida State University’s joint Florida A&M University-FSU College of Engineering, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Florida – all of whom enjoy a rich history of supporting underserved populations. Together, they have hosted 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.

“FIU was proud to host this outstanding workshop, which provided great input from across the region. We look forward to being an integral part of the development towards Regional Innovation Engine that will spur innovation and growth for the state.” said Arvind Argawal, Chair and Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at FIU and FIU principaI investigator of Phase I Engine grant.

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.

For a full list of speakers for this event, click here.

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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