Dr. Armbruster Director’s Message – October, 2019

There’s an old saying that says “Some days are better than others.” I find that to be true, but I also find that some weeks are better than others too. This past week was one of those weeks for me.

It started with getting to spend some time with our OTC Health Science instructors as they began the planning process for the “new” Downtown Campus. Hearing their discussions and their ideas for building the premiere health science campus available was exciting and I can’t wait to see the initial drawings based on their input.

Later that night, at a school board meeting, I had the opportunity to share, along with some wonderful folks who work with our programs, the great work being done by our registered apprenticeship programs. Following the presentation, our school board adopted a proclamation recognizing November 11-15 as National Apprenticeship Week.

The following day, I headed to Tallahassee where Westside Campus Senior Director Crystal Davidson and I spent time with Senator Stargel, the chair of the education appropriations sub-committee. This was made possible because of the tour our Westside Campus had given to Senator Bracy a few weeks ago. He was so impressed by what he saw that he reached across the aisle and arranged this meeting for us to seek better funding for CTE. While up there, we also visited with several other legislators.

Back home, I then had the opportunity to celebrate at our Winter Park Campus as they celebrated 40 years of accreditation with our OTC Medical Assisting program. Instructors from all three active campuses were present at what can only be called a first class event! What made a beautiful event even more special was that Judy Sheehan, the instructor who started it all some 43 years ago, before we were accredited, was recognized for being the acorn that grew this mighty oak that we now have as a top-notch OTC program.

It was a beautiful luncheon where the President of Advent Health University gave a wonderful and inspiring keynote address. Judy, through her actions and willingness to start something new, has impacted thousands of students through her initiative!

That night, I then had the opportunity to attend the Manufacturer’s Association of Central Florida’s annual President’s Dinner where three of our manufacturing students were presented with $500 scholarships at the brand new Terminal C at Orlando International Airport!

The next morning, it was off to the Launch Site where 400+ NAF Engineering and Information Technology academy students were exposed to industry leaders from across Central Florida and got to hear an amazing and inspiring keynote as well. This time from Jason J. “Scotty” Denney, a former test pilot and now the Program Director for Air Dominance at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control-not going to lie, I would love a title like that! He had the students fully engaged from beginning to end and honestly, I teared up during a part of his speech concerning his family. It was just that powerful!

I ended the week journeying to a non-profit ape sanctuary in Leesburg…yes, you read that right! Thanks to industry partner DPR Construction, students in our building construction programs have been given the opportunity to build a unique structure designed to house monkeys. DPR funded all the materials, provided a team of experts and our students are getting three days of amazing hands-on experiences, but more importantly are being given the opportunity to show what they know to a company that may lead them to their career goals. It’s a really great opportunity for them to shine!

I slept well on Friday night! Yes, there were still hundreds of emails to answer and the usual things that I do week to week, and yeah it was physically tiring racing from place to place, but I have to tell you, it was the kind of week that reaffirms that what we do does matter and that what we do is pretty amazing. It also reinforced the fact that we are blessed to have amazing industry and community partners, and that together we are so much more than we would be alone.

Changing Lives Through Education doesn’t happen in a silo, it happens when we all work together, focused on building a quality workforce and through that, impacting the lives of those we are blessed to have walk through our classroom doors and make CTE their choice!

Thank you all for being a part of something very special. Have a great CTE Month! Mike.

PS-the cherry on top of an amazing week was getting to see a 400 pound tiger up close. It had been injured and was at the Ape compound for rehabilitation!