NC3 Designates Ira Friedman Founders Award Winner for 2020

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The National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) is excited to announce that Ira Friedman is being presented the 2020 NC3 Founders Award for his vision and leadership.

In the early days of his career, Ira came from the Measuring Tool business with Mitutoyo and quickly identified an opportunity to manufacture accessory items for machine tools, measuring tools, and small volume fastener items; many of which, prior to that time, largely came from overseas. In 1987, Ira co-founded the Accurate Manufactured Products Group (AMPG) and began forming Precision Fasteners. After four years of growth with Precision Industries Inc., Ira was recruited by the L.S. Starrett Company, where he continued to work for the remainder of his career, until his recent retirement.

In 2014, the president and CEO of the L.S. Starrett Company seized a unique opportunity to partner with NC3 to create a Precision Measuring Instruments (PMI) certification. This new certification would not only ensure instructors nationwide were highly trained, but also that students within an array of industries would learn the skills they needed to succeed in the workforce. The highly valuable knowledge Starrett was willing to share transformed both CTE and industry.

Ira Friedman is the groundbreaking engineer who was chosen to champion Starrett’s PMI certification, and he worked tirelessly to develop it. Ira is an incredible engineer, and his expertise is unparalleled, but he is also much more than this. He’s an educator and a true leader. His dedication to technical education is only exceeded by his personal commitment to being a genuine friend and mentor to those around him. Ira is an empowering, uplifting, and inspirational individual who believes in Starrett’s mission to his core.

When asked about Ira, the groundbreaking curricula he helped develop, and how he’s helped pave the way forward for career and technical education, Earl Bailey, National Education Partnerships Manager at Snap-on, Inc., said “Ira was the cornerstone of the Starrett program, and he led the way in the conception of development to deployment of the Precision Measuring Instruments (PMI) and Advanced Measuring Instruments (AMI) certifications. Ira has positively impacted the lives of over 77,000 students who have obtained these certifications as well as hundreds of instructors who have now been correctly trained in these disciplines.”

Ira knew how to effectively support instructors nationwide, but he was exemplary in the fact that he supported them in a way that was so impactful they left Train-the-Trainer events feeling inspired and renewed. This had a positive impact that rippled out from the instructors he worked with directly, to their students, their colleagues, their schools, their communities, and hundreds of companies in an array of industries nationwide.

John Lee, TCAT NC3 Coordinator and SkillsUSA Coordinator, shared that Ira’s passion was driven by more than the fact that he knew the L.S. Starrett Company produced the best measuring tools in the world; Ira was genuinely concerned by the lack of skilled workers who could use this world-class equipment properly. “Ira was driven by a passion to succeed. He wanted certifications to be free to students, but he also wanted to ensure the students would be successful and well-compensated once they entered the workforce,” John said. There are countless stories from instructors around the country about PMI certifications ultimately being the determining factor in their students being hired over other candidates. “Starrett is perceived worldwide as, hands-down, the #1 brand for precision measuring instruments and having a PMI certification from Starrett on a student’s resume makes a huge difference,” he said.

Jeremy King, Lead Faculty of Design Technology & NC3 Master Instructor at WSU Tech, agreed with John Lee’s comments above and added that Ira’s expertise and passion for PMI transformed how he and his colleagues teach at WSU Tech. “Before I met Ira, I’d never used precision measuring tools in my life. Ira was my go-to person when I had a question about a particular tool, and how to operate it. If I ever had a question and Ira was there, I usually had my answer,” he said. “Since I first met Ira, he’s helped me grow as an instructor, and he’s always been there to support me as well as offer suggestions.”

When asked about Ira and the legacy of his work, Craig Foucht, Executive Director of Wayne Business and Industry Center at Wayne Community College and NC3 Curriculum Coordinator, shared a quote by James Keller. ‘A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle.’ “Ira not only inspired me, he’s inspired faculty around the country to want to be better,” he said. “Ira lit a candle inside of us. As the first PMI Master Instructor, I try to emulate the energy and essence of Ira in every Train-the-Trainer by lighting others’ candles. Instructors nationwide will continue to light candles thanks to Ira, and his flame will never die.”

Matt Janisin, Vice President of Business & Workforce Solutions at Gateway Technical College echoed this sentiment by adding, “The confidence Ira instilled in me, the other NC3 Master Instructors, and every other instructor he met at NC3’s Train-the-Trainer events continues to positively impact thousands of students each day. The high expectations Ira set, the knowledge he passed on, and the genuine care he showed both teachers and students is a lasting legacy. Ira is the person I aspire to be, professionally and personally.” 

To date, there are currently 248 schools implementing PMI and/or AMI curricula, and 77,000+ certifications have been issued nationwide.
The PMI Certification Ira helped develop has been, and continues to be, by far the most highly sought-after certification within the NC3 Network.

Roger Tadajewski, Executive Director of NC3, is humbled by Ira’s work. “Ira’s unrelenting dedication to career and technical education has undeniably supported NC3 and its mission. He’s helped us solidify core concepts that have shaped our organization and supported us to become national leaders. We’re incredibly grateful for the leadership Ira has shown over the years, and for the training and inspiration he’s instilled upon hundreds of instructors within the NC3 Network,” he says. No award can truly express the important role Ira has played in CTE. Through his work, the legacy of Starrett and the quality of their precision measuring tools continues to set the standard in both education and industry nationwide.

In the past, the NC3 Founders Award has been presented to revolutionary individuals in the NC3 Network who not only helped NC3 build deep industry-educational partnerships, but who also helped develop, implement, and sustain NC3’s industry-recognized portable certifications, which are built on national skills standards.

Past recipients of the NC3 Founders Award include:

  • 2019: Clark Coco, Dean, Washburn Institute of Technology
  • 2017: Lakeshore Technical College Administration
  • 2016: Dr. John Richman, President, North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS)
  • 2015: Frederick Brookhouse, Education Business Development Manager, Snap-on, Inc.

To learn more about Ira Friedman, please watch our short celebratory video below. Also, be sure to follow NC3 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to further join us as we celebrate this high-achiever!

Did you know our next Precision Measuring Instruments (PMI) Train-the-Trainer is being held in February 2021? If you’re interested in learning more about this upcoming event or the revolutionary PMI & AMI certifications Ira championed, please contact Frank van den Berge.

If you’d like to see an NC3/Starrett Center of Excellence in person, please join our mailing list to be the first to know when we’ll be hosting our next world-class benchmarking tour.

About NC3:

NC3 was established to help build a workforce prepared to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s industries by connecting employers and educational institutions in synergistic partnerships that foster effective training, elevation of skilled careers, and employment opportunities. In fulfilling its mission, NC3 builds deep industry-educational partnerships and develops, implements, and sustains industry-recognized portable certifications built on national skills standards. We, along with our global industry partners Snap-on Inc., Trane, 3M, Festo, Lincoln Electric, Greenlee, Kubota Tractor Corporation, L.S. Starrett Company, Daniels Manufacturing Corporation (DMC), Palmer Hamilton, Tormach, Dremel, and Certiport, envision an industrial labor market where all workers have the jobs they need to thrive and all companies have the well-trained employees they need to operate and grow. Learn more at

About the L.S. Starrett Company
Founded in 1880 in Athol, Massachusetts, the L.S. Starrett Company has created a business and brand that has become synonymous with quality and performance. For those who build or manufacture anything requiring critical measurements, inspection or cutting, Starrett tools and saws are superior products that are essential to those with a need to finish first.

Starrett manufactures a full line of application-designed precision tools, saws, custom solutions and vision and optical systems that optimize job and process performance. Our confidence hinges on 140 years of experience focusing on your needs and your success. We take great pride in offering innovative tools, backed by unmatched service and support.

Today, Starrett tools are manufactured, marketed and used worldwide. With over five generations of practical innovation, exceptional quality and unmatched precision, Starrett remains the “World’s Greatest Toolmakers.”

Find NC3 and the L.S. Starrett Company Online:


Instagram: @NC3skills
Twitter: @NC3partners

The L.S. Starrett Company
Instagram: @starrett_tools
Twitter: @StarrettTools

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