Connecting Aerospace Interests

Silicon Forest Electronics' CEO Frank Nichols Talks About Inspiring the Next Generation at PNAA's June Breakfast Meeting


Approximately 35 aerospace executives and educators attended PNAA’s June 4th Breakfast Meeting in Bellevue to hear Silicon Forest Electronics' CEO Frank Nichols share his company’s success story and to discuss how to inspire today’s students toward manufacturing careers. During the two hour meeting, Nichols emphasized making a positive and profound difference in people inside and outside of the work place. 

In February, PNAA recognized Silicon Forest Electronics' ability to make a difference and presented the Vancouver, Washington Company with the Inspire Award for its dedication to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and its commitment to collaborating with schools to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.  Nichols said, “You may never know or understand the impact of your actions on another human being… positively and negatively.  However, when you do get to see the results, the gratification is extraordinary.”

Networking-72Nichols experiences that gratification frequently thanks to his work in local high schools and community colleges, as well as with at-risk youth and college interns.  In 2013, Silicon Forest Electronics reached out to local schools and helped develop, organize, and participate in STEMFest 2013, a three day festival designed to give high school students business experience using Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills.  Silicon Forest Electronics employees worked with 21 high school students that participated in hands-on activities intended to simulate Design Engineering while being coached by members of their technical team.  Mentors helped students understand and complete the “real world” tasks set before them. 

Nichols hopes that by participating in such events, students will embrace the world of manufacturing.  It’s a hope his company depends on since the growth of Aerospace and Unmanned Systems industries require a constant flow of skilled technical professionals. 

“The graying of the workforce means that many aerospace workers are reaching retirement age,” he said.   “Industry participation can create a layer of interest in STEM that cannot be replicated in the classroom.”

Nichols encouraged aerospace executives to develop connections and relationships to promote STEM awareness and to strengthen the regional workforce.  “Each of you can touch someone.  You may have a grandson or a daughter that you can educate in a positive and inspiring way.  Remember, that an undertrained, unprepared, and demotivated workforce can be the key difference between you and your competitors….where is your next trained, prepared and motivated “technical professional” coming from?” he asked.


Breakfast Showcase
PNAA Inspire Award Winner: Silicon Forest Electronics

Silicon Forest 

Join your colleagues for a Breakfast Showcase
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 • 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Bellevue, WA

Silicon-Forest-Electronics-frank nicholsDuring his tenure at Silicon Forest Electronics, CEO Frank Nichols has grown his Vancouver based business into a $20 million per year aerospace and unmanned automated vehicle business specializing in mission critical electronics manufacturing.  Prior to SFE, Nichols worked as a business consultant within the Department of Defense and Department of Energy and DOD contractors.  He has had significant contributions to military projects and environmental remediation projects contracted by Aerojet, Eaton, Chamberlain Manufacturing, US Navy Cruise Missile programs and other  US Navy air launched combat weapons.

Join PNAA on Wednesday, June 4th to hear Nichols' success story and learn how Silicon Forest Electronics is supporting STEM education and working to ensure that Washington has a strong workforce for years to come.  

As a member of the Governor's Aerospace Pipeline Committee, Nichols helps provide information on training programs, grants, partnerships and aerospace programs designed to ensure that Washington's next generation of aerospace workers have the skills needed maintain the state's competitive edge.

Silicon Forest Electronics was awarded the “Inspire” Award at PNAA’s 2014 Aerospace Conference in recognition of their exceptional creativity in working with schools to share the activities of manufacturing in an overall effort to cultivate interest and skills leading to aerospace careers.  Nichols will review his perspective on leadership and how we can help inspire the next generation of aerospace workers. 

Included topics:
• Overview of Silicon Forest Electronics
Frank Nichols background
Silicon Forest Electronics’ Work with STEM Fest and students
Company philosophy
How we can help the next generation

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Bellevue Red Lion
Yarrow Room
11211 Main St., Bellevue, WA 98004
$50 for current paid PNAA Members
$75 for non-members
Includes breakfast
To register:
Space is limited, so early registration is recommended
Registration closes Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Directions: click here


About Frank Nichols:

Mr. Nichols holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix; a Bachelor of Science Degree from California State University at Fresno and has earned a Master’s Degree from the Professional Photographers of America.  He is the founder of Silicon Forest Electronics, 1999, and is the current CEO and President.  In addition to his work at SFE, Mr. Nichols is an accomplished photograper and writer.  His passion also is focused on the education of our youth.  Since reading the book by Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat, he has engaged in activities to support the increase of STEM education.  SFE supports intern programs from both Oregon State University and Washington State University. 

Click here for Mr. Nichols' full bio