“After touring the Polaris facility, I was overwhelmed by the advanced technologies and procedures used in their manufacturing plants,” was one comment from a Green Power Racing student after touring the impressive Polaris Industries site in Madison, AL. The Green Power Racing team from Bob Jones High School was given an in depth tour of one of North Alabama’s leading advanced manufacturing sites in the last week of August. The Engineering Manager led about fifteen students in a discussion and tour of the facility. Students learned the history of Polaris, engineering and technological advancements of the company, and even how solutions were created to various engineering issues. One student voiced how they, “...appreciated the fact that the lead engineer chose to give our tour and I thought it was cool to hear him talk about issues that he’s faced as an engineer.”
Currently North Alabama and the southeast in general is experiencing somewhat of a, “renaissance of manufacturing.” Weekly, new industries are choosing Alabama to call home in moving their current operations or expanding existing production sites. Another side of this rebirth is the integral part that technology plays in advanced manufacturing here locally and also nationally. In the past we might not have associated job titles such as software developer, computer hardware engineer, and more with advanced manufacturing. However, today when you tour an industry’s floor students and colleagues are blown away with the reliance and power that technology holds in the future of our production possibilities. One student stated, “After touring the Polaris facility, I was overwhelmed by the advanced technologies and procedures used in their manufacturing plants.” While another student mentioned that they, “really enjoyed learning about the use of robots in the facility, because robots have always seemed like something out of movies. To see them in real life brings light to our technological advancements.” Through this outing students were able to see skilled maintenance technicians and
engineers who troubleshoot, manage, and repair technology on site, along with the daily logistical operations that runs a manufacturing floor.
It is our goal through industry insights like this trip to Polaris to allow students to take further steps in evaluating how their education during high school and after can prepare them for their endless career possibilities. Green Power Racing is a phenomenal extra curricular that students at all of our secondary schools can be a part of during their time as a student in Madison City Schools. Patriot Racing was started two years ago with the purpose of getting students more involved in STEM and in particular, engineering fields. Feel free to head to Patriot Racing’s YouTube page to watch a collection of videos to learn more!