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News: Roane State hosts automation showcase

News: Roane State hosts automation showcase

Jeff Shook, a controls specialist for Siemens, shows instructor Guilherme Garcia, middle, and student Jacob Charckon a feature in Siemens' Mobile Showcase, which was on display recently at Roane State's Higher Education and Workforce Training Facility in Clinton.

July 10, 2018

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

CLINTON, Tenn. – Representatives of major manufacturers in the region recently received close-up looks at the latest manufacturing technologies and Roane State’s role in teaching the next generation of high-tech industry workers.

The officials were given an overview of the college’s mechatronics program that’s part of the Higher Education and Workforce Training Facility, located in a former National Guard Armory on Nave Street.

The latest in high-tech equipment for advanced manufacturing training - valued at $1.3 million - is inside. Students were on hand to demonstrate the gear.

Also on the schedule: a walk-through visit to a 38-foot-long “demonstration on wheels,” a tractor-trailer called the Siemens Mobile Showcase.

The mobile showcase offers a peak at how automation technology developed by the Siemens Corporation, Europe’s largest industrial manufacturer, can boost production.

Siemens officials said they were impressed by Roane State’s mechatronics curriculum. “It’s a fantastic program for our industry partners in the region,” said Rick McNamara, with Siemens.

Local manufacturers, he said, “were excited when they learned about the mechatronics program.”

“Not everybody needs a four-year college degree,” said Dave Simny, with Brozelco Inc., a supplier of Siemens products that’s based in Rockford, Tenn. He said those who master a skills trade in a two-year program “are the bread and butter of the economy.”

McNamara agreed. “Kids coming out of these schools with a systems-level knowledge can write their own ticket,” he said.

Also concurring was an alumnus of Roane State’s mechatronics program who was invited back to his alma mater. Curtis Foust is a test lab engineer at SL Tennessee, which makes auto parts and employs more than 1,000 at its Clinton plant.

Foust was a member of Roane State's second mechatronics class, which he called “very educational and hands-on, which was the best way for me to learn.”

The college’s mechatronics program is growing, said director Gordon Williams. He said enrollment this year is up about 25 percent.

For more information, contact Gordon Williams at or 865-354-3000, extension 4899 or visit​

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