Mike Wong, left, Gates Lamb and Mina Berglund have raised Kickstarter funds to launch a new children s toy line called IKO Toys. The toys are created using
Mike Wong, left, Gates Lamb and Mina Berglund have raised Kickstarter funds to launch a new children s toy line called IKO Toys. The toys are created using recyclable materials. Alexandria Gonzalez/Park Record.
The Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies (PC CAPS) has completed projects for several well-known companies since its beginning in August 2013. After a successful fall semester creating robot-detecting robots for Hill Air Force Base and researching project management software for Adobe, PC CAPS spring semester students are hoping to raise the bar working on innovative projects with new clients.

Abby Godinez and Chase Christensen are Park City High School juniors, both working with Vanessa Pierce of RAMP Sports on a project called "The Art of Shred." Pierce asked Godinez and Christensen to research ways to "upcycle" the scrap RAMP throws out at the end of the season, and the two students came up with an art contest.

"Any local artists interested in taking scraps from RAMP skis and snowboards are welcome to do so and make art with it," Godinez said. "They can either keep the art they make and post a picture of it on RAMP's Facebook page or give the art to RAMP."

Pierce said the company strives to conduct "green practices" in every aspect, so not only do they use Forestry Stewardship Certified (FSC) bamboo to make their skis and snowboards but they also try to find ways to recycle or "upcycle" the scraps from the products they make at the factory.

"We have a lot of scrap that we need to find a place for, and we always would much rather upcycle than recycle," she said. "The other options were either to throw it away, which we don't want to do, or to ship the scrap to Colorado to recycle and pay for the carbon footprint and shipping."

Godinez and Christensen's upcycling art contest project is just one way Pierce said the company is hoping to carry out green practices long term. The students are also helping RAMP find ways to convert scraps into bike features or reinforcement on the biking trails in town.

After working with a group of PC CAPS students in the fall on a different project, Pierce said RAMP president Mike Goode was more then happy to approach the program for help again this semester.

"I think it is a really great program," she said. "It shows them how to deal with real-life situations and what it's like working in the real world, dealing with supervisors and communicating and asking a lot of questions to get information and answers their superiors might not have."

Mike Wong, a 1996 graduate of Park City High School, agreed, adding that he wished there had been a program like PC CAPS available when he was attending school in the district.

Wong studied industrial engineering, specifically injection molding, at the University of Arizona and returned to Park City. He is now working on launching a children's toy line called IKO Toys with a group of PC CAPS students.

Gates Lamb, Mina Berglund and Paige DaBell, all juniors at PCHS, all chose to work with Wong on a geometric shape called an icosahedron. Lamb said an icosahedron is formed when equilateral triangles are brought together to build a sphere.

"I started mentoring students last semester and introduced Mina, Paige and Gates to a new geometric shape," Wong said. "They took it, tweaked it and created something that has never been seen before."

Wong used his experience in injection molding to take high density polyethylene (HDP) and turn it into the triangular shapes the students worked on last semester. The shapes are then snapped together to create larger, spherical shapes. "We think we've created the next Lego," Wong said.

Lamb said most people are confused when they are first handed the shapes, but once they start using their imagination, they build creative shapes like dogs and bowls.

This semester, they launched a Kickstarter campaign, an online platform for raising funds for creative projects. As of Monday, April 7, the group had reached their $21,000 goal. That money will be used to purchase the steel mold and HDP to create the toys as well as the initial run of products. There are 10 days left to donate to the group, and Wong said the extra money will go toward new product ideas.

All five students involved in the two projects are in agreement that the PC CAPS program has given them real world experience and opened their eyes to many different aspects of both creating and running a business.

"I have never learned this much in a school project. There is just no way," Berglund said. "It's crazy how much I have learned in just a couple of months from this, everything from creating a design to marketing a product and sending out press releases. I'm so glad I decided to be a part of PC CAPS."

For more information on IKO Toys, visit www.ikotoys.com. To learn where to pick up scrap from RAMP and how to enter "The Art of Shred," visit www.rampsports.com/repurpose-recycle-factory-scrap.