Vice President Mike Pence visited Flagship East, home of Purdue Polytechnic Anderson, on Friday (September 22). Pence gave an address about healthcare policy and tax reform in Wylam Center, the facility’s home for startup companies and manufacturers Go Electric and Leclanché.
The visit provided an opportunity to bring publicity to Purdue Polytechnic Anderson, including its educational mission, the new facility, and opportunities to create partnerships with local businesses, according to Corey Sharp, director of Purdue Polytechnic Anderson.
“It gave the community a glance at what we do here and the degrees that we offer,” Sharp said. “Hopefully people will think that their son or daughter, or maybe themselves, would like to take a class or two with us.”
“New industries are moving into this region, and they need a trained workforce,” said Andy Schaffer, associate dean for statewide technology. “That’s what we do. We’ve seen many times that these programs are needed in communities.”
Sharp noted that Pence’s visit offered a new opportunity for elected officials, regional news media, and members of the community to see the building’s Maker Space, a 12,000 square foot laboratory providing students and local entrepreneurs the use of 3-D printers, machine tool technologies, welding, and other engineering technologies. The facility’s Red Gold Innovation Commons provides a gathering space for students and public events, he said. Additionally, visitors were able to see the building’s advanced automation lab, featuring robotics and a fully automated production system.
Students and staff created a 3-D printed bust of the vice president to present as a gift. The project took over 30 hours to print and required 1,200 layers of plastic, Sharp said.
“With this new facility, our added degree programs, and our expanded faculty and staff over the last five years, we’ve more than doubled our enrollment, in particular with full-time students,” Sharp said.
Sharp was informed of Pence’s possible visit about a week in advance, and the vice president’s staff confirmed his selection of the site a few days later.
“The Secret Service have been great to work with,” said Sharp. “It has been an exciting week.”
Watch the video below for a brief tour of Purdue Polytechnic Anderson’s new facility and a summary of Vice President Pence’s visit.
More coverage of vice president’s visit (Herald Bulletin)