Entries by Jen Simon

2023 Monterey Bay DART Symposium Unites Industry, Academia, Government and Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Marina, CA, November 7, 2023 – The 2023 DART Symposium, held at the CSUMB University Center from October 11th to October 13th, concluded successfully, marking a milestone event in the world of Advanced Air Mobility, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Agricultural Technology, and Inclusive Economic Development. With a diverse range of insightful discussions, workshops, and notable speakers, the symposium lived up to its promise of facilitating collaboration, knowledge sharing, and inclusive cross-sector engagement.

**Day 1 – Community Integration**

The first day of the symposium kicked off with an enlightening Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Short-Course, hosted by the Community Air Mobility Initiative. This workshop provided state and local decision-makers, agency staff, urban and transportation planners, and interested individuals with a comprehensive introduction to the emerging world of advanced air mobility.

Symposium participants had the exclusive opportunity to join the Joby Aviation at Marina tour, gaining a behind-the-scenes look at Joby Aviation’s advanced manufacturing facilities at the Marina Municipal Airport.

At lunch, Josh Metz, Executive Director of MBDART, and Ken Smith, Lead Organizer of the Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative, extended a warm welcome to all attendees. Senator Anna Caballero, California State Senate District 14,  shared her insights on the importance of AAM to the California economy and to the Salinas Valley workforce.

In the afternoon, the Community Integration – Economic & Workforce Development Workshop brought together various stakeholders to discuss economic and workforce development opportunities and challenges related to advanced air mobility and agricultural technology adoption. The day concluded with the Airspace Integration Corridors & Central Coast Flight Information Exchange Workshop, exploring the potential for establishing safe and secure UAS integration corridors in California.

**Day 2 – AAM & UAS Economic Development Opportunities**

The second day commenced with a hearty breakfast and registration, followed by welcoming remarks by CSUMB College of Business Dean, Dr. Marylou Shockley. Matt Field, Chief Financial Officer at Joby Aviation, delivered an insightful keynote focused on Joby Aviation’s development and implementation pathway.

Two engaging panels delved into supporting continued AAM development (Moderated by MBDART Strategic Advisor/COO, Shari Tavaf), and the creation and management of airspace innovation corridors (Moderated by MBDART Co-Founder, Chris Bley). Notable industry leaders and experts led these discussions, shedding light on the state of research and development and the importance of innovation corridors.

The day continued with a featured, all-female leader panel (moderated by Community Air Mobility Initiative Executive Director, Yolanka Wulff), discussing government’s role in supporting AAM innovation and safety, followed by discussions on infrastructure, vertiports, and test facilities (moderated by UC Berkeley transportation futurist and researcher, Adam Cohen). Following that informative session, Fireside Chat with Carol Dietrich, Founder & President @Jump Aero Inc. and Dean Donovan, Partner @Diamond Stream Partners. Rounding out the day with exploring new return on investment opportunities in the AAM market (moderated by CSUMB College of Business Professor, Dr. Jennifer Kuan).

The evening concluded with a Networking Reception at the University Center, allowing participants to build valuable connections.

**Day 3 – Partnerships & Workforce Development**

The final day began with breakfast and registration, followed by an inspiring keynote from Daniel Theobald, Co-Founder & President of MassRobotics,  setting the stage for discussions on agtech innovation and workforce development.

Panel discussions on public-private workforce development partnerships and community partners in workforce and economic development highlighted the importance of collaboration in nurturing talent and creating economic opportunities.

The symposium concluded with closing remarks, emphasizing the significance of partnerships and workforce development in the rapidly evolving AAM and UAS industries.

The 2023 DART Symposium was a resounding success, with participants and speakers leaving with a deeper understanding of the potential and challenges of the AAM and UAS sectors. The event fostered collaboration among industry experts, government officials, and community leaders, paving the way for a more connected and innovative future.

For more information about the 2023 DART Symposium and upcoming events, please visit https://montereybaydart.org/symposium/.

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**Contact Information:**

Josh Metz Executive Director Monterey Bay DART (831) 254-8299

Our Sponsors and Partners


SIEDI Delegation Explores FIRA-USA 2023

Author: Barbara Meister, SIEDI Mentor

A SIEDI (Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative) delegation explored the emerging world of robotics in agriculture by attending the FIRA-USA conference in September at the Salinas Rodeo Grounds. Participants included representatives from Mujeres en Acción, ALBA and Loaves, Fishes and Computers along with the Ag Tech class from Rancho Cielo

Drone Pavilion

The conference drew entrepreneurs, academics, government scientists, graduate students, venture capitalists, journalists and growers from all parts of the globe. Thanks to our partners at DART, 12 of us had the chance to see field-level robotic demonstrations, meet company representatives, and hear panel discussions about the emergence of robotics and mechanization of agriculture, its promises and possibilities, and the threats and opportunities that come with technological innovation.   

SIEDI leaders had several key takeaways and lots of questions.   Robotics is driven, at least in part, by the shortage of farm labor. Robotics and the mechanization of production agriculture will certainly change work.  

Some new jobs will be created as robotics will require engineering and programming skills for their creation and problem-solving applications. Could these be job opportunities for graduates of Hartnell and CSUMB’s new Mechatronics program? Could the sons and daughters of farm workers be prepared for these jobs? 

Drone Pavilion

Some jobs will be replaced, not immediately, but over time. There is not a robotic solution to harvest strawberries in the field (yet?) because it is difficult for a robotic eye to see the fruit under the leafy canopy of a strawberry plant. A more likely robotic application will be a machine to cut the pre-harvest berry runners and replace those jobs. For a grower, the higher return on labor is during harvest, not during pre-harvest maintenance of the plant.  

Some jobs are at present being replaced. The mechanized PlantTape,  only needs 2 workers to operate it when typically there are 8 or more workers riding a machine and feeding transplants into the soil.  

Some jobs will become safer. We saw an autonomous sprayer that could run at night, by itself and thus eliminate or reduce pesticide exposure for workers. On the other hand, the job of a sprayer often pays a $2-3 per hour premium, and is an attractive job for some because of the higher pay. What happens to these workers when they are replaced by machines?  

Ag Demonstration

Some jobs will be made more efficient. We saw smaller robots, called Burro and Amiga, that could carry small loads behind or alongside a worker, reducing physical burdens and increasing time-labor efficiency. For piece-rate crops, like strawberries, the time a harvester spends carrying a carton of berries to the end of the row is money lost. Will the cost-savings of a robot flow to the worker because they are more productive now? 

SIEDI leaders concluded that at present, robots have both the potential to be a complement to making work safer, less physically demanding, and more efficient for workers AND robots can displace workers. We are  eager to explore the questions of opportunities and threats to our Salinas Valley workforce. How do we create a pathway for the  jobs being created by innovation in ag tech for our youth? How do we re-skill and up-skill those currently work to plant and harvest our food? What impact will robots have on wages for farm workers?  

Drone Pavilion

As SIEDI prepares for its plan of work for the next two years, we are eager to have more conversations, starting with farm workers themselves – what do they want from ag tech? And with small farmers, can robots improve efficiencies at small scale? What capacity do our educational institutions, adult schools and community colleges have for upskilling and re-skilling our current workers? What kind of partnerships can we create alongside these institutions, including CSUMB and UCSC, to prepare our Salinas Valley students for the design, engineering, programming and manufacturing of ag tech? We are eager to talk with farmers who are using and experimenting with ag tech to find out what they are learning and the impact on their labor force. And we want to talk to the ag tech companies in our region  to understand what problems they are trying to solve and their workforce needs.   

Robotics and automation are happening. SIEDI is ready to be proactive in mitigating the downsides and shape how this innovation can enable more Salinas Valley families to be included in the economic opportunities this technology will create.

Monterey Bay DART Workforce Training Center Feasibility Study

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release 3/22/23 

Monterey Bay DART Partners with the Hatamiya Group to Study Feasibility of Regional Workforce Training Center for Future Jobs in Advanced Manufacturing, Drones, Automation, and Robotics Technology 

Marina, CA – Monterey Bay DART is pleased to announce that it has contracted with the Hatamiya Group to complete a regional workforce training center feasibility study. The study will assess the need and demand for a regional workforce training center focused on preparing the local workforce for the jobs of the future in advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology. The continued growth of Joby Aviation’s advanced manufacturing operations at the Marina Airport, along with the presence of a growing cluster of advanced air mobility, agtech, and national security oriented firms throughout the Central Coast are driving increased interest in career technical education, and demand for workers with future-relevant skills including carbon fiber manufacturing, electric drive train assembly and maintenance, robot operations and maintenance, and skills generally grouped under the mechatronics heading.

The Monterey Bay DART Initiative is committed to promoting good fit, future-relevant economic and workforce development in the Monterey Bay region. As part of this mission, it recognizes the need to invest in the local workforce and prepare them for the jobs of the future. The feasibility study will take into account existing facilities, programs, structures, site options, and other factors to assess the need and demand for a new regional workforce training center that will provide the necessary training for individuals seeking employment in the advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology fields.

“We are excited to partner with the Hatamiya Group on this important study,” said Josh Metz, Executive Director of Monterey Bay DART. “The development of a regional workforce training center focused on advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology will help create new opportunities for our local workforce, and support economic growth and development in our region.”

The study will include an analysis of labor market trends, employer demand, and workforce training needs in the Monterey Bay region. It will also identify potential funding sources and partnership opportunities to support the development and operation of the workforce training center. The study process will include data gathering through surveys and direct interviews with employers, educators, public agencies, elected leaders, and community organizations.

“We are honored to have been selected by Monterey Bay DART to complete this study,” said Lon Hatamiya, President and CEO of the Hatamiya Group. “We look forward to working with the Monterey Bay DART team to assess the need and feasibility of a regional workforce training center, and identify opportunities to support the growth and development of the local workforce.”

The feasibility study is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023. The findings and recommendations of the study will be presented to the Monterey Bay DART Board of Directors and made available to the public.

For more information, please contact the Monterey Bay DART office at ‪(831) 264-8299.

About Monterey Bay DART: The Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to promoting innovation, future-relevant, workforce, and economic development solutions. The team includes representatives from local government, business, education, and community organizations. Montereybaydart.org 

About the Hatamiya Group: The Hatamiya Group is a consulting firm specializing in economic development, workforce development, and strategic planning. The firm has over 30 years of experience working with public and private sector clients in California and throughout the United States. Hatamiyagroup.com