Dr. Doug Marriott

L.A. Valley College, Dean of Adult/Community Education & Workforce Development

"SMI has been a leader in new economic Development models and workforce training solutions. We have been a partner with them in creating processes that connect the college with local high schools, apprenticeship models and internships for our students. SMI is our premier partner in working towards improving outcomes for industrial technology students and the employers who seek excellence."

Mark Feuerbach

President, California Industrial Technical Education Assoc. (CITEA)

"SMI has been a critical partner for CITEA for over 25 years. They are a key connection to engage industry. Organizationally, as well as individually, our many members have done numerous projects with SMI that benefited students and provided supplies and equipment for our classrooms. Equipment received by CTE Instructors has made it possible to teach and complete state standards. The creative input from SMI directors has been helpful in policy debates that benefit all Californian Teachers and the Companies that benefit from our students."

Charlie Wilken

Founding Instructor, Van Nuys High School Machine Tool Academy

"The Small Manufacturers Institute was our partner from the beginning of our Academy Development. They built upon the foundation of our initial grant in the 1990's and led from that point. They helped solve problems for us as they came up. They helped develop community partnerships, build internship programs and supported getting funding to completely refurbish our machine shop with new equipment, air conditioning and electrical upgrading. They helped facilitate in-kind contributions to our California Partnership Academy every year which is a requirement of our existence. They have worked with the National Tooling and Machining Association to help support community advisory boards and get grant funding for various scholarship programs such as the Haas Foundation grants to encourage our students to continue to pursue a career in manufacturing. They helped us to reach down to the middle school to extend our program there. They have been visionary in bringing industry and academia together."

Dr. Seth P. Bates

San Jose State University, Professor & Chair Emeritus (Retired); Department Chair Aviation & Technology

"In the academic environment where Industrial Technology education has been declining for more than 30 years, SMI has been a bright spot in supporting the programs and individuals holding this critical academic framework together. The leaders of SMI have been true and capable partners."

John Chocholak

Retired Shop Teacher, Ukiah High School; CITEA Former President

"The impact from SMI has been enormous. The value of equipment and supplies (not considering the impact from new programs) amounts to more than 2 million dollars. More than 30 schools throughout California have benefited from the donations of small engines, major equipment and small supplies. SMI negotiated, managed, and distributed these donations from the closure of the C-17 facility, major college shop closures, and small engines. The relationships, time, and professionalism required to make these donations was extraordinary and really puts SMI into a class of their own as an advocate for manufacturing"

Tarek Shraibati

Senior Director for Programs REC Foundation

"The SMI has made significant contributions to the VEX Robotics programs and youth in California. SMI provided two trailers to store and transport competition fields to events throughout California including, but not limited to San Diego, Corona, Bakersfield, Tulare, San Jose and Sacramento. One trailer was used for the inaugural VEX Championship in Las Vegas Nevada and a second trailer was used to start events in Phoenix Arizona. The trailers are part of a set of five that the REC Foundation and FUTURE Foundation maintain. Each trailer contains all fields and elements to run a competition. This year the trailers supported over 30 competitions and leagues attended by thousands of students. The SMI trailer model has been duplicated in a number of states across the US. It allows for a pooling of resources to reach more kids.

SMI, under Marty and Ralph was also responsible for numerous teacher training workshops in the early years of the VEX robotics challenge. Their efforts were significant in getting the program established in California where there are now over 2,000 teams from San Diego to Fall Rivers (Modoc County). The REC Foundation is also continuing Marty and Ralph's teacher training model by working with Community Colleges including Laney College (Oakland) and Shasta College. Teacher training has in fact, become a key element of the REC Foundation programs.

The importance of these programs in terms of workforce development has led to adoption of the VEX Robotics competitions across the US and in 70 countries. The SMI was instrumental in starting and supporting the program in its earliest years."

Mike Starr

Owner Juell Machine

"I have been a participant in several SMI activities over the years. Most significantly they have done extraordinary work with students and schools. I have been a part of SMI's Student Summit at the WESTEC Convention where their largest program had over 1200 students attend the tradeshow and career awareness program. For many years, I served as a judge at their Manufacturing Challenge Exposition where students/schools from the Western United States, Canada and Mexico compete with projects they design, manufacture and document for presentation. SMI has been a leader to keep industry engaged in schools and helping trade associations stay active and relevant at the local level."

Chris Cagle

Regional Affairs Manager, South Bay Workforce Investment Board

"SMI has been an important and valuable partner with the South Bay Workforce Investment Board for the development of new and innovative pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs. They have been involved since the early stages of our efforts to provide meaningful career pathways for job seekers and the advanced manufacturing aerospace industry. With their help, the Aero-Flex pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship program was created and is now in use throughout the nation."