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Ian Staples ‘14

Ian Staples
Ian Staples

Ian Staples checked out Keene State when he was in high school, but opted to attend Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and focus on industrial design. Two years later, he realized it wasn’t a good fit, partly because he found that “industrial design was very arts based, but there was a big disconnect between designing and actually understanding how things are made.”

That disconnect was bridged when he transferred to Keene State. “This program definitely helps you understand how to build things, because you do build them,” he says. One example is the model for a two-door car he designed that allows back-seat passengers easy entry and exit through a large hatchback. The model, printed with a 3D printer, is on display in the TDS Center. “I had a blast doing that project,” he remembers. He also remembers that it was great to have the freedom to design his own project; at his first college, students were all given the same assignments (to design a birdfeeder, for instance).

The summer before graduating, Staples interned with G3K Displays in Springfield, Vermont. The company, which manufactures retail store fixtures, offered him a job after he finished his degree. His work entails “a lot of engineering, a little bit of designing,” he says. The computer-aided design skills that he honed at Keene State directly apply to his job at G3K, he adds. “I definitely learned a lot of transferrable skills,” he says. He then went on to work with Orion RED, a full-service design, engineering, manufacturing, and program management company.

Joseph Breckell ‘13

Joseph Breckell
Joseph Breckell

Joe Breckell took a manufacturing job at Tidlin Corporation in Keene after high school, and realized he wanted to further his education in the manufacturing field. He had a couple of prerequisites in choosing a college. First, he wanted to stay local. Second, he says, “I prefer a hands-on program, and came across SPDI rather quickly. I thought, what a perfect fit. It was that easy.”

Breckell’s capstone group worked with a “customer” – a local volunteer firefighter who wanted a way to alert responders of the status of individual rooms within a burning building. The group was charged with creating an inexpensive wedge that could be used to prop a door open or keep it shut, could be affixed to a door hinge or slid along the floor like a door stop, and could be color coded to indicate whether, for instance, the room had been checked out for fire victims. They designed and manufactured 30 prototype, sets with three parts per set in red, yellow, and green. The “fire stops” were distributed to fire departments to test during training exercises.

Breckell worked for Moore Nanotechnology Systems, a Swanzey, NH-based manufacturer of diamond-turning machines – machines that use a diamond tool to create an optical finish. For instance, he says, a company that makes cell phones could use such a machine to create a mold to make the camera lens or the screen.

He then continued his career as technical sales/applications engineer for ABTech, Inc., manufacturer of metrology equipment and motion systems designed around ultra-precision air bearing technologies.