Three Rolla Technical Institute (RTI) students competed in the WoodLINKS USA/International Woodworking Fair competition held Aug. 22-25 in Atlanta.
The program is a national competition involving the design, production and marketing of a ready-to-assemble wooden product or products.
Schools throughout the United States submitted projects in May and five schools were selected, with RTI being one of them.
The RTI project was a collaborative effort among students from three different programs: drafting/design, taught by Don Block; wood manufacturing, taught by Robert Studdard; and marketing, taught by Abbey Auten.
The students involved in the project were Lucas Shelton, drafting/design; Zach Ludden, wood manufacturing; and Nikki Look, marketing.
In order to have their project considered for the competition, they had to go through a thorough application process which included submitting a marketing plan, technical drawings, assembly instructions, a one-page description, and photos. The RTI students competed against students from the four other schools and were judged on a combination of their submitted woodworking piece, their written materials, and their sales/presentation abilities.
The students’ competition entry was a side table called “Travolo Di Stiles,” meaning “stylish table” in Italian. The table has stylish curved legs and a functional glass top.
The students marketed their table as “the table for everyone” by offering the table in four different wood types and at four different price points. As Lucas, Zach, and Nikki designed their table, they not only had to make sure it looked good, but that it could be quickly and easily assembled by someone who knew nothing about the product. Therefore, the students designed the table so it could be assembled with only eight screws. Lucas refined the design and produced drawings of it in AutoCAD. Zach took the drawings and used the CNC router to cut out the table. It was then Nikki’s job to create the marketing plan for the product.
The students were thrilled when they were invited to participate in a national competition, never dreaming that they would win; however, that is just what they did. On August 24, after days of competing and presenting, it was announced that the Rolla Technical Institute team was the National Winner of the WoodLinks Ready-to-Assemble Contest.