The winner of the third annual Innovator of the Future (IOF) contest for the 2007-2008 school year is Bernie Sievers, a student in the Advanced Manufacturing Programme at Vincennes University in Vincennes, Indiana, USA. The IOF competition is sponsored by CNC Software Inc., the developer of Mastercam CAD/CAM software.
Each year, Mastercam’s IOF contest helps introduce students to real-world manufacturing by asking them to produce a specific part that will be judged by a special guest from the manufacturing industry. The 2007-2008 contest required entrants to design and cut an automotive steering wheel. In addition, each contestant had to submit a written description of the part, including the inspiration for the design, the materials used, and other information.
The guest celebrity judge for IOF 2007-2008 was Boyd Coddington of the popular cable television show American Hot Rod. Coddington had been the celebrity judge for the first IOF contest and was so impressed by the calibre of the parts entered that he was eager to serve in the role again.
(Sadly, Boyd Coddington has since died. CNC Software issued a statement saying that working with him was an honour and declaring that “his efforts towards keeping America’s youth interested in manufacturing are an inspiration to everyone in our industry.”)
Bernie Sievers’ winning entry was a steering wheel with holes along the top and bottom to add to the sleek racing style. Sievers is a race car enthusiast, and he is interested in applying his skills to 5-axis cnc machining.
The contest runner-up was Kenyon Burrell from Eastern Arizona College, whose design integrated aesthetics and ergonomics. Coddington was impressed by the boldness of Alex Beranek and Jordan Hinkson from Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Virginia, in entering a competition typically dominated by college students. They were awarded honourable mention.