First published: September 25, 2017
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Notes about this article: I received word less than 24 hours in advance that the vice president would be visiting the location of our college which is about 90 miles away — not enough advance notice, unfortunately, to have submitted my information for a background check which might have allowed me to meet (or at least get much closer to) the vice president during his brief visit with faculty and students from our college. We decided to cover the publicity his visit would bring to our college rather than the content of his policy speech. I was required to arrive before 11:00 AM to set up my video gear in the press area before everyone was required to evacuate the building. When the building reopened at 1:00 PM, each person emptied his or her pockets and went through one of two metal detectors — it was just like going through security at the airport, except that the contents of my pockets included my iPhone, two iPod touches and lavalier microphones, an extra battery for my video camera, and the usual assortment of keys, IDs, etc. It was exciting observing both the heavy security presence and the swarm of media (TV crews, reporters, and photojournalists) which accompany events like this. I uploaded photos throughout the day to Instagram and Twitter. The video which I created (see below) includes footage from three different cameras: my Canon XA20 video camera (for the vice president’s speech), iPhone 7 Plus (interviews with our staff), and DJI Phantom 3 drone (indoor aerials). The next day at work, I edited and published the video and wrote this story. The drone footage was actually filmed during a visit to the building nine months earlier. Within 24 hours, the location director, associate dean, dean, and a vice president all emailed their compliments of my work — in particular, the video.

Vice President Mike Pence visited Flagship East, home of Purdue Polytechnic Anderson, on Friday (September 22). Pence gave an address about healthcare policy and tax reform in Wylam Center, the facility’s home for startup companies and manufacturers Go Electric and Leclanché.

The visit provided an opportunity to bring publicity to Purdue Polytechnic Anderson, including its educational mission, the new facility, and opportunities to create partnerships with local businesses, according to Corey Sharp, director of Purdue Polytechnic Anderson.

Vice President Mike Pence

“It gave the community a glance at what we do here and the degrees that we offer,” Sharp said. “Hopefully people will think that their son or daughter, or maybe themselves, would like to take a class or two with us.”

“New industries are moving into this region, and they need a trained workforce,” said Andy Schaffer, associate dean for statewide technology. “That’s what we do. We’ve seen many times that these programs are needed in communities.”

3-D printed bust of Mike PenceSharp noted that Pence’s visit offered a new opportunity for elected officials, reporters, and members of the community to see the building’s Maker Space, a 12,000 square foot laboratory providing students and local entrepreneurs the use of 3-D printers, machine tool technologies, welding, and other engineering technologies. The facility’s Red Gold Innovation Commons provides a gathering space for students and public events, he said. Additionally, visitors were able to see the building’s advanced automation lab, featuring robotics and a fully automated production system.

Students and staff created a 3-D printed bust of the vice president to present as a gift. The project took over 30 hours to print and required 1,200 layers of plastic, Sharp said.

“With this new facility, our added degree programs, and our expanded faculty and staff over the last five years, we’ve more than doubled our enrollment, in particular with full-time students,” Sharp said.

Sharp was informed of Pence’s possible visit about a week in advance, and the vice president’s staff confirmed his selection of the site a few days later.

“The Secret Service have been great to work with,” said Sharp. “It has been an exciting week.”

Watch the video below for a brief tour of Purdue Polytechnic Anderson’s new facility and a summary of Vice President Pence’s visit.