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Saint Thomas Academy Team 1 of 8 Chosen to Compete on PBS Docuseries ‘Make48’ Aug. 12-14

A team comprised of Mark Westlake, director of the Saint Thomas Academy Innovation Center, and three former captains of the Academy’s Experimental Vehicle Team, has been chosen to compete in PBS’ 48-hour invention docuseries, Make48, Aug. 12-14 in Madison, Wis. Only 8 teams are selected for Make48 competitions.

Westlake’s teammates include:

  • Daniel Staelgraeve ’21 of Saint Paul, who is studying engineering at Michigan Tech
  • Rob D'Agostino '14 of Woodbury, an engineer at Endogenex with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Purdue University
  • Sam Westlake of Lakeville, who graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota this past spring and is a mechanical engineer for Scanlan Industries

Make48 is a nationwide invention-competition docuseries distributed by American Public Television that gives teams a design challenge at the start of a two-day event. In 48 hours, teams create a prototype, promotional video and sales sheet, and present their ideas to a panel of judges. The teams have access to a makerspace and Tool Techs to help fabricate inventions, patent attorneys, marketing professionals and other resources.

Make48 Madison, which will be held at Fab Lab Stoughton, in Stoughton, Wis., is sponsored by Trek Bicycle. The competition theme is “sustainable mobility.” All the inventions created by the competition teams will become the property of Trek.

“Based on the competition theme and Trek being the title sponsor, we think our collective experience building solar and electric prototype vehicles will be an advantage for us as we address the design challenge,” Mark Westlake said. “Plus, Dan and Sam have in-depth knowledge of bikes – Dan works in a bike shop and Sam has been an avid bicycle racer for years. Everyone on our team brings unique skills that should help us do well.”

The teams’ inventions are evaluated based on:

  • Product Originality
  • Problem Solution
  • Target Audience
  • Competition
  • Marketability
  • Manufacturing Ease
  • Expandable/Options
  • Packaging
  • Potential Selling Price/Margins
  • Product Demonstration

The first-place team wins $2,000 and advances to nationals in March 2023.