Small Business Council Member Spotlight: ARM Institute

We sat down with Suzy Teele, Chief Strategy Officer with ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Institute to ask a few important questions:

What does the ARM Institute do?
The ARM Institute is the nation’s leading manufacturing innovation institute for robotics and artificial intelligence, funded by the federal government. As a national consortium, we accelerate the development and adoption of innovative robotics technologies that are the foundation of every advanced manufacturing activity today and in the future. We leverage a unique, robust, and diverse ecosystem of close to 400 member organizations across industry, academia, and government to make robotics and AI more accessible to U.S. manufacturers large and small, help to solve the skilled manufacturing workforce challenge and shortage, and strengthen our national security and manufacturing resilience. Even though we are a national institute, we have brought about $13M in both technology and workforce projects to Florida, with funding from the Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and the Department of Labor. Twenty percent of the ARM Institute’s consortium membership is in Florida and continues to grow. Some of our manufacturing-focused Florida partners are AmSkills, FloridaMakes, BAMA, and FLATE.

What’s your biggest concern as a small business owner?
Florida has seen great manufacturing job growth since 2021 – it is the #3 state in growth. To keep growing and meet the Florida Chamber of Commerce 2030 Blueprint to be the 5th largest state in manufacturing jobs in the US, our manufacturers need to more fully embrace technologies like robotics to make up for the existing and ongoing labor and skills shortage. The combination of people and advanced manufacturing technologies will help Florida achieve this growth goal. For anyone who is skeptical, there is tremendous evidence that the automation of manufacturing facilities actually creates more jobs at a higher wage level because the manufacturer can take on more work and the employees can manage and operate the machines instead of doing the dull, dirty or dangerous labor that robots do well. 

Tell us why you joined the Small Business Council and what you would say to other business leaders about the benefit and value of this council.
The ARM Institute is a national organization, headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, and we decided to open our first regional office in Florida, specifically the greater Tampa Bay area, where a large concentration of manufacturers exist. We chose Florida because of the potential to help grow manufacturing and the commitment to do so by organizations like the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Although we are a relatively new member, the Council has been valuable in helping us to learn more about the small business challenges in Florida and how we might be able to help.

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