VANGUARD DTECH TEAM
ENGINEERING BUSINESS TEAM
Our team photo on the front page of the team website! From left to right: Ian McEwan, Bryant Nguyen, Stefan Fahr, Annika Fedde, Zion Denzel, Mason King
My senior year in high school had some of the most interesting classes of that educational chapter, but none were as informative and natural as the Capstone Entrepreneurship course. Having gone through the Design Technology Academy class pathway, this class converged the members of Cohort 1 together to utilize their skills in a business environment. I constructed the dream team of the most talented and motivated individuals, managing their skillsets to best optimize our profit margins and general impact on the school around us.
Managing a team of 7 other members (which dropped down to 5 after personnel cuts midway through the school year) was an extremely challenging process. I learned how to cater to my managing towards each skillset within my team by assigning projects that suited the personality. A fundamentally computational and code-based project went to some members, while design and manufacturing went to others. I also brought grit and responsibility onto my members; in one instance I had the tough job of sitting down and informing two early Vanguard members that their productivity and teamwork for the first quarter of the class just didn’t meet the standards agreed upon in the beginning phases of the team.
One of the most profitable machines Vanguard utilized throughout our run was the silk screen printing press. This press was industry-grade, utilizing many advanced methods of design and screen creation. One of the hardest challenges that I worked to overcome was the photo-emulsion process of creating a proper screen for printing shirt designs. For the photo on the left, I had to research and properly expose UV-sensitive paint (the UV light hardens the exposed regions of the screen) to create my screen, which required a makeshift darkroom and proper UV exposure gear. This breakthrough in learning our equipment’s abilities allowed us to profit off of our greater shirt/screen efficiency.
Though the screen printer was a major point of profit, we didn’t have the proper volume of orders to specialize in shirts. We still needed to take any job we could find through the various school departments (math posters, journalism stickers, etc). This meant that I, as well as the rest of the team, had to be proficient in all of the other DTech machines. The machines that I received mastery in included a vinyl cutter (seen on the right), a laser engraver, two large-format Canon printers, 3 different 3D printer machines (LulzBot, MakerBot, Prusa i3 mk3), and finally CNC milling. All of these masteries that I achieved enabled our team to take a wide range of engineering jobs due to my knowledge of each system.