The National Fluid Power Association has launched the new NFPA Education and Technology Foundation to continue and extend its support of fluid power education and research activities.

Building on programs successfully developed through NFPA's Education Fund, the new foundation will pursue initiatives that:

  • Actively engage students at all grade levels in learning about fluid power,
  • Encourage the development of new teaching resources — fluid power laboratories as well as online, print, and hands-on instruction tools,
  • Support research in motion control through fluid power at the two-year, four-year, and graduate school levels, and
  • Foster ongoing forums between educators and industry so that ideas and priorities of mutual interest can be shared and set.

According to Greg Willard, chairman of NFPA's Education Committee and president and CEO of Quality Control Corp., "We will continue to support many critical programs through our Education Fund but have recognized the need to dramatically increase the availability of funding. As we partner with schools and universities, we are seeing an everincreasing number of teachers and researchers who are eager to begin or further develop work related to hydraulics and pneumatics."

An example of this growth is more schools and universities have become Educator Members of NFPA. In 2000, there was only one such institution. That number has grown to 34, all engaged in research projects or teaching activities important to developing an informed workforce for fluid power. It is hoped that through donations to the new foundation, a stable platform of support will be created for these schools and the dozens more that are likely to join.

The foundation is applying for designation as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and has been separately incorporated from NFPA. Its seven-member board of directors is comprised of NFPA board members and Education Committee chairmen. Marwan Kashkoush, chairman of NFPA board of directors and corporate vice president for worldwide sales and marketing at Parker Hannifin Corp., will serve as its first chairman.

Donations are currently being accepted at www.nfpa.com

In other NFPA news, the organization welcomed representatives of six international fluid power associations to its 2007 Spring Conference, held February 22 to 25 in Palm Springs, Calif. Through a series of short presentations, each society described several priorities for the fluid power industry in its home country, then worked together with the NFPA board of directors to identify areas of common concern.

The most pressing issue for all the societies was the need to attract qualified workers into the industry. In response, NFPA and the participating international societies formed a working collaborative to promote a stronger fluid power industry around the world, especially to engineering students and young people considering engineering careers.

The creation of an international marketing and outreach program for fluid power was discussed, with all the societies represented sharing responsibility for its development and execution. An expanded discussion on the tactical realities of such a program is planned for the next international fluid power summit, to be held in conjunction with the Motion, Drive, and Automation exhibition in Hannover, Germany later this month.