Instructors

Benefit from the guidance of experienced machine tool professionals.

ACE Instructor, UTK

Emma Betters

Emma Betters

Machining and Machine Tool Research R&D at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and ACE Train-the-Trainer Instructor

“I think it’s really important to see ACE spread to other places, a full range of high school to undergrads to graduate students. Getting kids excited from a younger age, understanding that manufacturing is a viable career they can do is key.”

Emma has been involved with ACE from its development stages and now focuses on train-the-trainer instruction, where she shows educators how to teach the ACE curriculum. She’s excited to see the program expand to so many states in such a short time.

ACE Instructor, NCA&T

Phill Davis

Phill Davis

Lab Manager at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) and ACE Instructor

“When industry finds out what we’re doing, they will be coming to us. ACE is a good way to integrate with industry and to get connected with people.”

Phill was one of the first to be certified to teach the ACE curriculum beyond the initial testbed in Tennessee. He looks forward to seeing the impact it will have in his North Carolina community, from high school students to industry professionals.

ACE Instructor, Greene Tech

Elliott Gefellers

Elliott Gefellers

Greene Technology Center, Teacher

“ACE parallels perfectly with what we’re already doing in our machine tool technology program, but this bootcamp takes it to the next level. I think the kids will really like that it’s hands-on because I certainly have.”

Elliott has been a teacher for 18 years at a facility that teaches high school electives during the day and serves as a TCAT facility at night. He is looking forward to folding ACE into his curriculum that should appeal to a wide range of ages. He likes showing students how to apply math in real-world jobs.

ACE Instructor, Polk State

James Gibbons “Mr. Gib”

James Gibbons “Mr. Gib”

Polk State College Machinist

“Skilled labor isn’t cheap. Cheap labor isn’t skilled.”

In his 40+ year career as a machinist and fabricator, “Mr. Gib” has worked on multi-story buildings and very large steel structures, miles of handrails, thousands of CNC and manual machined parts, race cars, hot-rods, bikes, and guitars.

ACE Instructor, Arlington High School

Khadar Giordano

Khadar Giordano

Machine Tool and STEM Instructor at Arlington High School near Memphis, TN.

“Having ACE really expands the mind of the next generation.”

Khadar works with the future of our country: ninth to 12th graders. He loves seeing the smiles of his students as they connect idea to production. Khadar also serves as the lead instructor at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

ACE Instructor, RSCC

Tom Lewison

Tom Lewison

Assistant Professor of Mechatronics at Roane State Community College and ACE Instructor

“Once you’re successful at creating something, you gain confidence. Once you have confidence, sky’s the limit. That’s what I think ACE will do.”

Tom completed the ACE train-the-trainer course in July 2022 but has been in machining (both as a machinist and as a teacher) for many years. He’s looking forward to bringing the ACE curriculum to Roane State Community College students.

Lead ACE Instructor

Jose Nazario

Jose Nazario

ACE Instructor for Train-the-Trainers and Guidance for all ACE training centers

“I’m trying to give them real-world experience in a college setting. I don’t want to just give them a block and say, cut this. I want them to know the programming behind it.”

Jose has taught the ACE curriculum to a wide range of participants, including students in high school, two-year programs, and universities as well as current machinists. He aims to give a broad introduction to machining and machine tool dynamics so that participants can find where they best fit in U.S. manufacturing.

ACE Instructor, UF

Sean Niemi

Sean Niemi

University of Florida Professor

“I want to completely revitalize the design and manufacturing curriculum we have for mechanical engineering at UF. I want to bridge to other departments so that anyone can do this.”

Formerly a student of ACE curriculum’s developer Dr. Tony Schmitz, Sean is thrilled to expand ACE into Florida. He feels ACE sets a new standard for how we educate mechanical engineering students and machinists, and he likes how it highlights multiple career paths.

ACE Instructor, Texas A&M

Nathan Panak

Nathan Panak

Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), Shop Lead

“I think ACE is a very accessible program. It doesn’t cost anything. You don’t need prior experience. Anyone who CAN do it, SHOULD do it.”

Nathan runs a machine shop for the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). Here they work towards increasing manufacturing resilience in America and fixing supply chain issues. Nathan feels ACE is a great introductory overview of CNC and does a good job of breaking down the barriers to machining.

ACE Instructor, IRSC

Walt Posten

Walt Posten

Indian River State College, Welder and Machinist

“When they can see something they built from nothing, that can be dramatic for them. Seeing a tangible part in use and knowing its function draws people in. ”

Walt is a welding instructor who’s ramping up the CNC program IRSC. An hour south of Cape Canaveral, their area of Florida has a lot of contractors for the aeronautics industry. Walt hopes ACE will draw more people to manufacturing because people who like machining are makers at heart.

ACE Instructor Trainer

David Roberson

David Roberson

America’s Cutting Edge

“I’m drawn to machining because I love creating. Between subtractive and additive manufacturing, I truly feel there’s nothing I can’t create.”

David was in the U.S. Marine Corps and has been drawn to machining since high school. He now works as a workforce trainer for America’s Cutting Edge, providing training for new instructors as well as partner assistance where needed. With over 10 years of machining experience, David sees ACE as a tool to bring American manufacturing back to the top.

ACE Curriculum Developer

Dr. Tony Schmitz

Dr. Tony Schmitz

Mechanical Engineering Professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) and Developer of ACE Curriculum

“I want nothing less than eliminating the shortfall in the manufacturing workforce that exists today. U.S. manufacturing is ready for a new renaissance.”

Early in the pandemic, Dr. Schmitz was reimagining how to teach some of his engineering classes and developed what is now the online and in-person ACE curriculum for metal CNC machining. He continues to lead in-person training at UT for both participants and trainers planning to replicate ACE across the country.

ACE Instructor, Cape Fear Community College

Eddie Sholar

Eddie Sholar

CFCC Program Director, Computer Integrated Machining

“I believe America’s Cutting Edge will help get people interested in machining.”

Eddie has been teaching machining at Cape Fear Community College for over 15 years. He took over as the program director of computer integrated machining in 2012. He believes America’s Cutting Edge can help fill the talent pipeline for area employment.

ACE Instructor, UNT

Hector Siller Carillo

Hector Siller Carillo

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of North Texas

“The most important thing is to cultivate curiosity in students. They’ll be more interested in learning practical stuff. ACE makes this fun.”

Since the fall of 2022, Hector has been instrumental in spreading the ACE curriculum in North Texas. By both embedding it into his engineering classes at UNT and leading weekend bootcamps for machinists who want to gain new skills, Hector is connected with local industry and focused on meeting their workforce needs.

ACE Instructor, St. Cloud State University

Michael Sundblad

Michael Sundblad

Assistant Professor, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota

“The air motor project in ACE is a great way for our engineering students to experience creating high tolerance parts with a connection to industry and manufacturing.”

Michael was one of the first to be certified to teach the ACE curriculum in Minnesota, along with fellow Professor John Holmen, also of SCSU. The ACE program in outstate Minnesota will be delivered via the TEC Network which will provide high school instructors the training and then deliver portable Haas CNC mills to their shops. The teaming up of ACE and the TEC Network will provide a winning combination for students to experience the machining industry.

ACE Instructor, University of St. Thomas

Richard Wold

Richard Wold

Mechanical Engineering Professor

“At a time where our country is in need of skilled workers in the manufacturing/machining industry, the ACE program is an excellent program designed to introduce individuals of any age to the outstanding career opportunities within the machining industry. The program curriculum is centered around the latest CAD/CAM technology used in the industry and provides immediate job opportunities for lucrative employment, as well as continued education that is often paid for by employers.”

As a trained tool and die maker/machinist journey person, Richard Wold has 44 years of experience teaching machining/toolmaking/manufacturing full time at both the technical college level as well as at the four-year university level in mechanical engineering. He’s passionate about the machining industry and looks forward to sharing his knowledge with individuals through the ACE curriculum. He says there’s no doubt in his mind that graduates of the ACE program will gain a giant step forward as they enter a challenging, high-tech, high-paying career.

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