It’s amazing we’re at the end of the year already, and hard to believe we’ve only been in our new space less than four months. With a year that included a massive move in the middle of it, AMRoC Fab Lab never let up on programming and went full STEAM ahead with our robotics and entrepreneurship programming, adding an Aerial Drone Competition program for middle and high school students, a weekly sewing group, and combat robotics meetup to our regular offerings.

All our youth robotics programs are busy and thriving, our Equity in Entrepreneurship program now includes one incubated company – Stryke Esports – and November kicked off our Entrepreneurs LaunchPad session with nine new businesses, as well as our Young Innovators program.

The shop has been humming with activity, most recently with laser etching trophies for ROBOTICON, our annual competitive youth robotics showcase that we hosted throughout October at University Mall, but also with a few fun small business projects.

We also welcomed three great additions to our team: Program Director Brandy Jackson, Drone Program Coordinator Clinton Millsap and Sewing Specialist Liz Kirby.

Read on to learn more about these fantastic folks, check out recent highlights and see our calendar of activities for the rest of the year, below, and jump in wherever you’re inspired!
Our Interview with REC Foundation CEO Dan Mantz

Interview with Dan Mantz

Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation CEO Dan Mantz spent some time with us sharing updates on some of the more recent REC Foundation initiatives like the Factory Automation Challenge (FAC) and Aerial Drone Competition programs, as well as the Bell Advanced Vertical Robotics, VEX GO, VEX IQ, VEX Robotics Competition, VEX AI and VEX U, many of which we host in AMRoC.

Holiday Closures

November 24-26 and
December 23-31

Please Note: Stryke Esports is accessed through their own entrance at AMRoC, and will be open during some of these holiday dates, including November 25 & 26 Please visit to see the company’s holiday¬†hours.¬†

Shopping that Matters

Your holiday shopping can benefit FCDI/AMRoC Fab Lab youth programs through our Amazon Smile affiliation. Thank you!

Programming through December

Please confirm all program dates on the AMRoC Calendar Page

Regularly Scheduled Meetups and Programs

  • Tuesdays at 6:30pm -Uptown Tampa Drones Tweak & Fly Meetup
  • Wednesdays at 5:30 pm – Sewing Group Meetup – Register HERE
  • Thursdays at 6:30pm – Youth Drone Club – RSVP to [email protected]
  • Fridays at 5:30 pm – VEX IQ Elementary Robotics team meeting – Participating students must be registered. Visit our Youth Robotics page to learn more and sign up.
  • Saturdays -Middle and High School Robotics team meetings – Participating students must be registered. Visit the Youth Robotics page to learn more and sign up.

Other Meetups, Classes and Special Events

  • December 4 – First Friday at the Fab Lab: Supporting Local Small Businesses over the Holidays – Meet Local Entrepreneurs! Watch livestream on
  • Open Make – typically 2nd & 4th Fridays from 3pm to 7pm -Only December 9, due to holiday closures – RSVP here.

Visit our Calendar Page to confirm dates, times, and registration information for all programs.

Meet Our Newest Staff!

Brandy Jackson is our new Program Director at AMroC Fab lab. Ms. Jackson is a veteran STEM educator of 23 years and the founder and CEO of Scoutlier, a learning development and delivery system. In 2017 she was highlighted as one of the top STEM educators in the world by MIT. In 2020, she was one of the 12 finalists for teacher of the year in HCPS. Her work and learning platform are used by the Office of Naval Research and USF Florida Inventors Hall of Fame to create Rapid Innovation Challenges.


Clinton Millsap is our new Drone Program Coordinator, running both youth and adult programs at AMRoC. He is in Information Technology by trade and has been involved with drone operation, building, and repair since 2015. Clinton is leveraging his passion for technology and flight to inspire those of all ages to get robots off the ground! And he’s doing just that with our inaugural Aerial Drone Competition program, the first in the Tampa Bay area!

Liz Kirby is our AMRoC Fab Lab Sewing Specialist, and volunteering her time each week to share her expertise and love of sewing. She has sewed for over 50 years and taught sewing in a fabric store for five years. She has 15 years’ experience in the fabric world.

“The importance of having life skills in this world matters to me, and I would love you to join a sewing class at AMROC.”

AMRoC Spotlights!

Congratulations to our Young Innovators Challenge semi-finalists, two of which are shown here, during our October Innovation Gathering Open House, meeting with USF College of Education students and Florida High Tech Corridor CEO Paul Sohl.

Below left, our latest Equity in Entrepreneurship cohort kicked off with a talk on the Business Model Canvas by Dr. Shane Smith of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship. Below right, our awesome middle and high school FIRST Tech Challenge youth robotics team members – Team Duct Tape – had a great first competition in Lakeland in and are getting ready for their 2nd meet in December. Please join us in cheering them on!

ROBOTICON 2022 Wrap-Up

Enjoy the drone’s eye view of one of our FIRST Robotics Competition matches during ROBOTICON in October and check out the full ROBOTICON Wrap Up HERE with photos and more videos!

AMRoC R&D Labs – Helping You Helps Us!

Stuck on a design or programming problem? AMRoC R&D Labs is available for consultation and hire to solve business and creative needs and challenges across a diverse field of expertise for public, private and government sectors.

Professional fees benefit youth programs, in addition to solving your work challenges. The team is currently working on technology solutions for marine, communications, and aerospace projects, and welcomes the opportunity to explore creative solutions to your business challenges, as well!

AMRoC Fab Lab resources include CNC milling, laser cutting, 3D printing and rapid prototyping, CAD design services and more.

Visit our AMRoC Services page to learn more and schedule an appointment.

Wishing you and yours all the joys of your season and a New Year rich in curiosity and creativity! From all of us at the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation and AMRoC Fab Lab