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Spring 2016

Dr. Kevin Cooper, Assistant Dean of the IRSC Advanced Technology Department, accompanied "Team Lagoon" students to Washington, D.C. to present their data evaluating pollution in the Indian River Lagoon.

Sponsored by the Martin County Business Development Board and IRSC, the Business Accelerator Program awarded a grant to Costronovo’s Chocolates enabling the Stuart business to fill large Chinese New Year orders for a retailer in Hong Kong.

BUSINESS & EDUCATION Joining Forces for a Thriving Economy


here’s more than sunshine, low taxes and the Florida lifestyle positioning the Treasure Coast for economic growth.

Businesses throughout the region’s four counties value the highly skilled workforce trained by Indian River State College. IRSC collaborates with over 400 partners, making sure graduates are ready to meet employer expectations. At the same time, the College responds quickly to business needs with a myriad of support services.

“We owe it to our community to produce a workforce that attracts and grows companies for strong economic development.” Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC President Industry partners collaborate with IRSC to gear up new and incumbent workers. With health care a top employer, IRSC serves as the primary training resource for medical centers. IRSC graduates 2

IRSC Innovation

conduct research for the region’s well-established agriculture base while digital media students design web sites and social media campaigns for business start-ups.

“IRSC is able to turn-on-a-dime to respond to business needs in the region.” Pete Tesch, President of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County. As a winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, IRSC was awarded a $50,000 grant to assist local businesses with every stage of development. A recent example of collaboration is the twophase Business Accelerator program in Martin County conducted by IRSC and the Business Development Board. Entrepreneurs benefit from business training and a grant opportunity which has resulted in $5,000 grants each to Castronovo Chocolates, and Tackle for Less.

(L to R) Pete Tesch, President of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County; Beth Gaskin, IRSC Provost Martin County; John Gurney, Business Development Director, Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce and Helene Caseltine, Economic Development Director, Indian River County Chamber of Commerce collaborate in support of regional workforce development.


ooking for qualified employees? There’s a reason 90% of IRSC graduates in workforce-related fields are employed. Advisory Board members from local business and industry ensure

curriculum is relevant to employer needs. Students gain real-world experience and understand what employers expect. Reliability, good communication and teamwork are emphasized.

Want to find out more? Contact the IRSC Career & Transition Services Center at or 772-462-7470.

Mark Barnes, partner with the accounting firm DiBartolomeo, McBee, Harley and Barnes, standing, values the contributions made by Melony Wilson, Staff Accountant, and recent graduate of the IRSC Bachelor’s Degree program in Accounting.

IRSC Innovation



op aerospace manufacturers have joined forces with IRSC to deliver real-world training for new and existing employees through the Fast Track to Manufacturing Program. Specializing in manufacture of precision machined components for gas turbine engines, Paradigm Precision in Stuart dedicated a 3,300 square foot facility with manufacturing and machining equipment for the program. Triumph Aerostructures (Vought Aircraft Division) and Piper Aircraft donate equipment and supplies to ensure handson experience for students completing seven-week modules in all aspects of manufacturing. Approximately 75% of student tuition is funded by Career Source of the Research Coast.

“The students are showing us determination that we don’t see in the regular hiring process. They are very motivated. We enjoy that aspect and we like to reward that.” Harry Brubaker, Production Trainer, Piper Aircraft Participants earn the Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential from the Manufacturing Skills Standard Council (MSSC).


IRSC Innovation

Harry Brubaker, Production Trainer, Piper Air Craft, provides direction to Antonio Rivera, during manufacturing training at Paradigm Precision.

Laser Components employees (L to R) Shawn Buchanan, Justin Jensen, and Vsevolod Putilov, all honed their skills in photonics through the IRSC Electronics Engineering Technology program.

“From day one it seemed apparent that there was plenty of local talent. What was uncertain at the time was how the talent was being cultivated in the area. We met Justin who started with us as an unpaid intern. That opened our eyes to see that there is a system in place and through our participation with IRSC have discovered that the College does a great job preparing students for real-life scenarios.” Lance Feldman, Chief Operating Officer, Laser Components


ith 100% growth in two years, Laser Components needed to build a technologically skilled workforce for design and manufacture of pyroelectric detectors. Justin Jensen’s top-notch skills in lasers and photonics qualified the IRSC student as one of the first hires for the firm’s rapidly expanding

Stuart facility. Jensen is now Project Manager. Twenty other interns have been hired, with six new students starting in early 2016. Laser Components also benefited from use of the College’s 3D printer to produce a tooling fixture and took advantage of customized on-site CAD design training for employees. IRSC Innovation


IRSC graduate Judy Boswell (L), employed at Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee, and Kamron Pratt (R), employed at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce, provide excellent health care to Treasure Coast residents.



f you need an MRI, an ambulance, nursing care or your teeth cleaned, chances are the health care professional providing that service has been trained by IRSC. IRSC offers over 20 health care programs from short-term certificate programs, such as Surgical Technology to twoyear Associate degrees and Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing 6

IRSC Innovation

and Health Care Management. Every health care student gains intensive real-world experience.

600 health care students are engaged in clinical experiences at the hospitals each semester.

Central to the training is the College’s participation in the Treasure Coast Hospital Consortium, composed of Martin Health System, St. Lucie Medical Center, Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, Raulerson Hospital, and Indian River Medical Center. Over

This partnership provides exposure to hospital procedures, aligns curriculum with employer needs, offers job opportunities for graduates, and facilitates continuing education for hospital employees.



nticipating the need for additional nurses throughout the Treasure Coast, Martin Health System (MHS) has partnered with IRSC for expansion and enhancement of the IRSC Nursing program. As one example, Tradition

Medical Center, owned and operated by Martin Health System, will require 200 additional nurses to be hired by 2018. To meet this challenge Martin Health System has made a financial commitment to IRSC of $750,000 to hire

additional nursing faculty and enroll 90 additional Associate Degree in Nursing students. The students will benefit from clinical experiences at MHS in preparation for employment as registered nurses.

“IRSC has long been a valued partner with Martin Health System in developing a skilled workforce that provides exceptional patient care. This collaboration will also have a beneficial impact on our local economy, with a significant number of new jobs being created for Treasure Coast residents.� Robert L. Lord, Sr., Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Martin Health System

Newly enrolled IRSC nursing students Lauren Neiman and Ansley Cooper (left) expressed appreciation for expansion of the IRSC Nursing program to (L to R) Dr. Ann Hubbard, IRSC Associate Dean of Nursing, Jane Cebelak, IRSC Dean of Health Sciences, Dr. Edwin Massey, IRSC President, Robert Lord, Senior Vice President/COO, Martin Health System, Brenda Byk, Clinical Educator, Martin Health System, Debbie Perez, Assistant Vice President Total Rewards and Clinical Services and Scott Samples, Director of Communications, Martin Health System.

IRSC Innovation


Nicholas Adams, Restaurant Management graduate, cooks up a variety of delicious meals as Dinner Grill Chef at Grand Harbor in Vero Beach.


t’s a two-for-one opportunity! Through the new hospitality program, IRSC students earn college credits while gaining valuable customer service experience in a prestigious club on Vero’s beach. Qualified students are selected for paid front-of-the-house service positions at John’s Island, The Moorings, Orchid Island and Quail Valley.

IRSC offers degree programs in restaurant management and culinary arts, as well as apprenticeships with area restaurants. This fall, culinary students will showcase their innovative creations at the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, participating as a team in one of the largest culinary competitions in the world. A fundraiser at Quail Valley raised $10,000 for students to attend the international event.

“The hospitality program represents a very positive collaboration between the beachside communities and IRSC. The students gain real-world paid experience, while our residents benefit from enthusiastic, welltrained employees.” David Colclough, Assistant General Manager at John’s Island


IRSC Innovation


ndian River citrus is known worldwide for quality, yet the scourge of citrus greening has decimated the mainstay crop. The USDA Horticulture Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce is striving to do something about it and other devastating plant diseases. Assisting Dr. Scott T. Adkins, Research Plant Pathologist, are IRSC interns and graduates.

“It’s a win-win. The benefit to us is a trained workforce, help with research and a pool of employees with potential.” Dr. Scott T. Adkins, USDA Horticultural Research Laboratory The student benefit is multi-faceted, with reinforcement of classroom learning and hands-on lab experience.

“There’s a huge amount of overlap in what I’m learning in my classes, so it helps me absorb the information.”

Recent graduate Shelby Hansen works at the USDA Horticulture Research Laboratory analyzing DNA samples of vegetable tissues.

Rebecca Grace, USDA Biological Science Aid and Bachelor’s Degree in Biology student IRSC’s Bachelor’s Degree in Biology program prepares students for employment as a laboratory technician and provides a strong foundation for continuing education. Biology major Rita Noël is gaining experience at the USDA testing tomato plants for diseases, while 2015 graduate Shelby Hansen analyzes DNA samples in vegetable tissues.

IRSC Innovation


Winners Aided by Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Institute


mall businesses are critically important employers on the Treasure Coast, with entrepreneurs acting as key players in economic growth. Recently, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) honored an IRSC alumnus and two students for outstanding entrepreneurial achievements. Gary Roberts of Endless Summer Vineyard and Winery A versatile entrepreneur and Phi Theta Kappa alumnus, Gary Roberts is the owner/vintner of Endless Summer Vineyard and Winery, the only Florida Certified Winery on Florida’s Southeast coast. Roberts began his nursery and landscaping businesses in Fort Pierce in 1979. Ready to diversify, he turned to the Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Development Institute at IRSC for assistance in developing a strategic plan for the winery. In fewer than four years, the winery has almost doubled annual sales and diversified into other income streams, including private events.

“These alumni winners are a proud reminder of the role that community colleges play as a hub in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and as a catalyst to launch businesses and create jobs.” Susan and Gary Roberts

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NACCE President and CEO Rebecca Corbin

Alfred Munoz and Giuliano Melluso Of Myco Tea Alfred Munoz and Giuliano Melluso were producing gourmet mushrooms for the restaurant industry when they began exploring ways to bring nourishing foods to a larger market. For three years, the two student entrepreneurs developed their concept, obtaining a U.S. patent. They devoted themselves to the project while taking full course loads and interning at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and the USDA Horticulture Lab. Their research paid off with Myco Tea, an invigorating low-calorie iced-tea drink packed with proteins and vitamins. It’s ready for distribution with the help of the College’s Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Development Institute and a $1,000 scholarship from NACCE. For business assistance, contact the Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Development Institute at or (772) 462-7630.

(Above) Giuliano Melluso, foreground, and Alfred Munoz, background, sell Myco Tea at the Saturday morning Farmers Market in downtown Fort Pierce. (Left) Endless Summer Vineyard and Winery has emerged as a popular social gathering place for residents and visitors to the area.

IRSC Innovation 11


very business and organization today needs an attractive web site, strong brand and engaging social media presence, but may not have the technical or creative talent to convey a compelling message. That’s where graduates of the IRSC Digital Media Institute come in. Expert in logo design, corporate identity, web design, typography, publications and advertising, the students have been hired by dozens of firms throughout the region.

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Catherine Valinote is creating catalogs for fashion products at Prime Source Accessories in Stuart. Patrick Lejeune handles web design and branding for local businesses at ClearSem Solutions in Port St. Lucie, assisting them with search engine optimization services. Dhahran Christie is webmaster for Hobe Sound Elementary School and Nick Ellis handles design for Christi’s Fitness Center in Vero Beach. The students have racked up an impressive number of Addy Awards and showcase their talents by creating posters for the Sunrise Theatre.

Artwork on these pages created by IRSC students

“I love, love my job! Got it the same day as my interview and handle about 30 clients for web design and social media.� Christina Smith-Ibanez, Designer, FC Edge, Port St. Lucie

IRSC Innovation 13

Alysia Bilbo and Johann Garcia are among the first in the nation to be named Siemens Technical Scholars and awarded top honors for excellence in the IRSC Power Plant Technology Institute.


obs with salaries over $55,000 and great advancement potential await graduates of the Power Plant Technology Program who are quickly hired by energy companies throughout the state. The outstanding program was nationally recognized by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program (CEP) and the Siemens Foundation. Power Plant program stars Alysia Bilbo and Johann Garcia are among the nation’s first Siemens Technical Scholars, receiving $3500 scholarships. Bilbo, 24, of 14 IRSC Innovation

Vero Beach, maintains an "A" average in the Institute Radiation Protection track. Garcia, 26, of Port St. Lucie, graduated with his A.S. Degree in Electrical Power Technology, was hired as a Junior Radiation Protection Technician by Bartlett Nuclear, Inc., and was soon promoted to Senior Technician. Operated in close collaboration with industry partners such as Florida Power & Light, the program creates a pipeline of well-trained technicians for positions in an industry anticipating a high level of retirements.


ccording to Manpower Group, skilled trades represent the most challenging segment of the workforce for employers to staff throughout the U.S. Compounding this problem is the imminent retirement of Baby Boom age workers; 54% are 45 years or older. At the same time, the old image of HVAC and automotive technicians as low-skilled labor is changing. Knowledge of computer analytics and digital controls is a job requirement. Smart cars and Smart buildings, alternative fuel and energy sources, all require an expanded knowledge base. Welding technologies have evolved into precision manufacturing from basic welding to laser-based micro-welding of medical devices. As a result, up-tothe-minute training is more important than ever.

The College’s automotive technology and HVAC programs incorporate new technologies while enabling students to develop sequential skills while employed. Since May 2014, over 100 students in the trades have attained industry certification such as the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) credential. Demand for well-trained employees in fields such as welding and fabrication is soaring. To meet this demand, IRSC is actively seeking industry partnerships to expand facilities, train students with state-of-the-art equipment, and provide paid internships. In turn, IRSC assures a steady stream of qualified graduates who are "job-ready" with the in-depth knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for success.

THE FUTURE IS IN THEIR HANDS New Technologies Impact Training in Trades

Chris Finch built increasingly sophisticated skills in the Automotive Technology program and is now employed as a Line Technician at Dyer Chevrolet.

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Institutional Advancement Department INDIAN RIVER STATE COLLEGE 3209 Virginia Avenue Fort Pierce, FL 34981-5596


Business Solutions Assistance when you need it with interns and student capstone projects

Customized On-Site Training Let us know what you need, and we will develop a training program specifically for your business.

Business Incubator & Small Business Advising Help with your business plan, marketing, finance, customer service and more

Advanced Manufacturing Support Check out IRSC's Fab Lab with 3D printer Contact – (772) 462-7575

IRSC JOB BANK! Post openings and find qualified employees Contact us at 772-462-7470

Fully accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

IRSC Innovation

3rd Most Affordable College in the United States

Spring 2016

IRSC Innovation Magazine Spring 2016  

IRSC Innovation Magazine Fueling Business and The Economy on the Treasure Coast of Florida

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