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Engineering teacher to use lessons from Lindt chocolate factory in class

Brian Lee, who spent 30 years in manufacturing, wants to use real life examples in his Carlos E. Haile engineering class.

Brian Lee is looking forward to incorporating his 30 years of manufacturing experience into his classroom during his first year of teaching.
Brian Lee is looking forward to incorporating his 30 years of manufacturing experience into his classroom during his first year of teaching.
Photo by Liz Ramos
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Lakewood Ranch's Brian Lee, who has worked 30 years in manufacturing, always dreamed of touring the Lindt chocolate factory and Lindt Home of Chocolate Museum in Zurich, Switzerland.

In March, Lee and his family were able to cross the trip off his bucket list. 

As he toured the chocolate factory, Lee learned all about the technology and machinery used to make different types of chocolate.

He didn't understand at the time, though, he was doing research for a potential future lesson plan. Lee just started his first year of teaching engineering at Carlos E. Haile Middle School.

He will be using his experience at the Lindt factory as a real-world example of the engineering design process for his students at Haile.

Brian Lee, an engineering teacher at Carlos E. Haile Middle School, will use his experiences from touring the Lindt chocolate factory in Switzerland in his lessons.
Courtesy photo

While director of operations the past three years at Innovative Optics of Sarasota, Lee became inspired to teach.

He was impressed with impact that Manatee Technical College instructors, such as Advanced Manufacturing Instruction Gil Burlew, had on his son, Jeremy.

Now he looks forward to taking his years of manufacturing experience and applying it in the classroom. He will show students how to take an idea and create a prototype from it before deciding to manufacture it. 

In the case of Lindt chocolate, Lee will show students how a product goes from the testing stage to mass production. That lesson will include videos of his tour, as well as a look at his personal chocolate bunny he made at the factory and brought home with him.

“That was the cool thing, we got to see the equipment,” he said. “It's all designed by engineers. There’s a mix (in the process) of machines and people. Some of it is mechanical for mass production but then it’s not completely mechanical. You have people who make the little red bow that goes around a (chocolate) bunny’s neck. That’s done by hand.”

Brian Lee will teach his students how Lindt uses a combination of machinery and people to create their chocolate bunnies.
Courtesy photo

In Lee’s classes, students will be able to design their ideas on a computer-aided design program before creating their design using 3D printers and other technology. Finally, they will build their products. 

“It’s all about the excitement of creating something and getting to see the final product,” Lee said. “It’s pretty cool and rewarding. The idea is that hopefully the kids will know they can dream something, they can have a vision for something, and take the design and maybe make it. Who knows what could come from that? Businesses could be created potentially.”



Liz Ramos

Liz Ramos covers education and community for East County. Before moving to Florida, Liz was an education reporter for the Lynchburg News & Advance in Virginia for two years after graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism.

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