PNAA Recognizes Spokane Businessman Mike Marzetta for Robotics Education Program
LYNNWOOD, WA – March 5, 2015 – Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance presented Spokane businessman Mike Marzetta the Aerospace Inspire Award for his creativity in working with schools to share the activities of manufacturing in an overall effort to cultivate interest and skills leading to aerospace careers.
Marzetta, President of Altek Manufacturing, a Spokane-based contract manufacturing organization that specializes in plastic injection molding, production machining, and product design has created a robotics education curriculum that is capturing the interest of students and teachers throughout the state.
MINDS-i Robotics is an educational curriculum geared toward middle and high school students and is designed to give them an interactive approach to applied science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). According to Marzetta, it is the first All-Terrain Robotics Education Program that empowers people of all ages to create almost anything they can imagine, and make their creations do nearly anything they desire. MINDS-i creations have included all-terrain vehicles equipped with rocket launchers, unmanned aerial vehicles that students build, program and fly, and search and rescue vehicles.
Marzetta, who founded the program with his wife Christy, has a passion for tinkering, inventing and gaming and says, "The leading systems just couldn't hold my interest with their limited compatibility, durability, and power. So we invented an entirely new robotics system that is tough enough to give anyone the freedom to build anything and do anything they desire in any setting. And we designed the system to be the toughest out there to make current limitations a thing of the past.
“MINDS-i is rocking the robotics education world with a high-technology platform that is simple to use . . . and will prepare students with the skills they need to excel in the 21st century. We inspire a rigorous college and career relevant experience through STEM Robotics in the everyday classroom in a format that can impact each and every student.”
The curriculum is currently in use in numerous schools in Washington State including Walla Walla Community College, Yakima Skills Center, Kent School District, and nearly all Spokane area Schools. In addition, Texas and a number of East Coast schools have begun to implement the program.
According to PNAA’s Chief Operating Officer Melanie Jordan, “Mike Marzetta is inspiring students with his hands-on approach to robotics education. He challenges students to use their imaginations to design, program and build robots that are capable of solving real world problems. In addition, he hosts an annual robotics competition in Spokane that encourages students to show-off their skills in a fun yet collaborative forum. His work is truly inspirational.”
During the annual MINDS-i Robotics Competition, students work in teams to meet objectives like saving a trapped worker from a collapsed mine. The students design, build and operate robots under the pressure of strict deadlines to successfully meet the project goals. Last year, over 25 teams competed. “The students love the program because they get to play with cooler toys than they have at home,” Marzetta said.
In addition to his work at Altek and with MINDS-i, Marzetta is the chairman of Inland Northwest Aerospace Consortium (INWAC). He graduated with a degree in Business and Graduate Degree in Organizational Development from the University of Minnesota.
Since 2001, Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance has been promoting the growth and success of the region's aerospace industry with dynamic events designed to inspire aerospace leaders, connect aerospace interests and educate policy makers. Today, with members throughout the northwest and around the globe, PNAA is dedicated to delivering the latest market intelligence to ensure our region's competitive edge. Our unwavering commitment to sharing bold ideas, innovative technologies and leading edge processes has strengthened the industry and earned respect from the White House to the factory floor. Our members represent every segment of the aerospace industry and are responsible for designing, manufacturing and supplying parts and services that launch rockets, fly planes, and even land on Mars!
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