HCC Welcomes New Advanced Manufacturing Center Director

Advanced Manufacturing Center Director Frederick Heard
HOUSTON—The new Director of the Houston Community College (HCC) Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence (COE) is determined to make HCC the number one choice for students to learn about the manufacturing industry.

“One of the first things I want to try and overcome is the misconception of a machinist, over the years the job description has drastically changed,” said Frederick Heard.The new Advanced Manufacturing Center Director is no stranger to the manufacturing industry and has seen the infusion of high-tech equipment change the playing field for this industry. He brings over 14 years of experience in the profession, including the last 12 years spent working as a Plant Manager with Halliburton.

“There’s a demand in education to convey these manufacturing jobs are now computer and programming driven as well as some high-tech NASA technology. A CNC programmer can make $75,000 a year working in a machine environment. Kids are on computers at an early age, they understand everything is logic driven, so getting that part of the manufacturing story out there is important to get potential students interested in the programs HCC offers.”

HCC tapped Heard because of his experience and his vision to implement real-world training into the COE programs.

Manufacturing Industry Is Growing Leaps & Bounds

According to the 2015 Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Skills Gap Study, over the next decade (2015-2025) nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled. Contributing factors include the retirement of an expected 2.7 million “baby boomers” and the creation of 700,000 new manufacturing jobs due to industry growth. With this skill gap widening, Heard is laser focused on HCC producing trained workers to fill close those gaps.

“I understand the manufacturing industry need, focus and priority; and it is extremely important to meet them halfway,” Heard said. “I plan to strengthen and build relationships with area local high school districts to recruit students. The college is the bridge between industry, education, and the functional skills of the program. I see the Advanced Manufacturing COE doing a lot of outreach between secondary education and industry to assist in student success.”

In addition, Heard wants to work with the HCC industry advisory board to build program curriculum and develop potential student tours of the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence so they can touch, feel and learn about what is being created in HCC manufacturing labs, with the ultimate goal of choosing HCC as their college of first choice when it comes time to enroll for classes.

Heard earned his Bachelor’s degree in the Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston – Downtown (UHD). In 2015, he received his Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of St. Thomas. Heard is originally from Oregon. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the United States Army. He has a total of 25 years in the Army, with the last 15 of those years with the Texas Army National Guard as a Command Sargent Major.

Heard is excited to jump in and make programs at the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence more robust, not just focusing on machining; but also focusing on the non-machining side of the business to recruit a broader audience. His message to current and future students is one of change.

“The manufacturing industry is not like your father’s or grandfather’s manufacturing,” Heard said. “With HCC securing brand new cutting-edge technology and housing the industry standard state-of-the-art equipment, graduates from the HCC Advanced Manufacturing COE will train on the equipment companies use, giving them the upper hand when applying for jobs.”

In the future, Heard plans to add more programs to the Advanced Manufacturing COE including Additive Manufacturing, CNC Machine Operation, Maintenance, Mechatronics and Robotics opportunities. To learn more about the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, visit hccs.edu/manufacturing.