SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NextFlex®, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute, presented the annual NextFlex Fellow Awards to two deserving individuals in recognition of their exceptional commitment to both advanced manufacturing and the flexible and additive electronics member community. This is the eighth group of NextFlex Fellows that have been recognized for their outstanding contributions in support of the NextFlex mission.

This year’s Fellows include:

Zachary Kiehl, CEO & Founder, Sentinel Occupational Safety

Sentinel is an important commercial partner with NextFlex and AFRL, and Zach has been a driving force in development of unique and needed platforms such as the Confined Space Monitor that creates safer working environments both in military and industrial settings. He is a strong supporter of NextFlex, and has actively participated in important engagements with the Department of Defense and recently was a thought leader panelist during an Education and Workforce Development Summit supported by the Department of Labor and the White House. In addition, Zach is an able spokesperson and has participated in media interviews on behalf of NextFlex about technology and the education and workforce needs of the advanced manufacturing sector.

Emily McGrath, Senior Fellow and Director of Workforce Policy, The Century Foundation

Emily recently departed her role as Director of Education and Workforce Development at NextFlex to join the Century Foundation where her span of influence has expanded to include policy development that will improve people’s lives in education, health care, and in the workplace. In her new role, she will focus on workforce policy for the manufacturing sector, which will enable her to continue to work with NextFlex and the other Manufacturing USA institutes across the country. Under Emily’s leadership, she expanded FlexFactor® to 13 states, reached over 15,000 participants through NextFlex education and workforce programming, and created new education and learning programs that span K-12 to colleges and universities, and to the incumbent workforce. In addition, Emily formed an extremely capable team who not only supported her strategic vision but executed that plan to accomplish the expansion to date around the country.

“As with all our previous Fellows, we cannot overstate the positive impact that this year’s recipients have had on the hybrid electronics community,” said NextFlex Executive Director Dr. Malcolm Thompson. “The lives that Zach has bettered through his team’s work on health and safety solutions and the number of students that Emily has reached through her exceptional education and workforce development programs is a testament to how much they deserve this recognition.”

About NextFlex

NextFlex is a DoD sponsored Manufacturing Innovation Institute funded by Air Force Research Laboratory Cooperative Agreement numbers FA8650-15-2-5402 and FA8650-20-2-5506. NextFlex is a consortium of companies, academic institutions, non-profits and state, local and federal governments with a shared goal of advancing U.S. manufacturing of FHE. Since its formation in 2015, NextFlex’s elite team of thought leaders, educators, problem solvers and manufacturers have come together to collectively facilitate innovation, narrow the manufacturing workforce gap and promote sustainable manufacturing ecosystems. For more information, visit and follow NextFlex on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE)

Hybrid Electronics are driving the next generation of electronics by providing PCB manufacturers and heterogenous packaging experts novel solutions such as the advanced additive hybrid electronic systems we are creating. FHE gives everyday products the power of silicon ICs by combining them with new and unique low-cost and environmentally friendly additive printing processes and new materials. The result is fast time to market, lightweight, low-cost, and highly efficient smart products that can be flexible, conformable, and stretchable with innumerable uses for consumer, commercial and military applications.