Students and educators at Hortonville High School are operating a manufacturing business, Polar Bear Enterprise.
The pilot program is off and running this year. By manufacturing necessary items for projects within the school and community, students gain valuable life skills, and in return, deliver quality products.
High School Principal Todd Timm and Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology (MET) instructor Jeff Lebeck are astounded at the student involvement and seriousness they demonstrate while running a real business. Polar Bear Enterprise allows students from the business education and MET departments to collaborate on a daily basis in making real business decisions.
The course enrolls students with experience pertaining to the job descriptions required for running the business. At this time, that includes one business student, two graphic design students, two engineering students, and four trade students.
“We have chosen students with different business and MET expertise to ensure all duties of running a business are covered,” Lebeck said, “which has turned out to be a great experience for everyone.”
The course Business Manager, Mariah Gitter, is a senior at HHS. She oversees the financial aspect of the quickly growing business. She is responsible for monetary estimates and follows the customer’s order through to a final billing.
Since the start of the school year, Polar Bear Enterprise students put their manufacturing business to good use, putting out laser engraved signs and awards, custom design and fabrication with customer specified material, and custom screen-printed merchandise.
Senior Molly Schneidewend and junior Morgan Pfeffer share the workload as a design team. A meeting with customers to discuss their new product lays the groundwork for the designers. After brainstorming, research, and graphics work, the customer receives a product design pitch.
While meeting with the village of Hortonville, Schneidewend and Pfeffer used a Power Point presentation. The village requested a quote and design suggestions for picnic tables, benches and signage.
The student designers tackle any revisions of their work to ensure that client needs are met, and they receive a high quality product from PBE. Once the client approves the design, specifications transfer to engineers and machinists.
Hortonville High School senior Alex Turkow and junior Jake Spaude are the engineering masterminds at PBE. They use a computer numerical control (CNC) machine to create scaled and detailed drawings. These drawings work as the blueprints of the product, an essential step in the process.
Turkow said he looks forward to working at class every day. He is making plans for attending Milwaukee School of Engineering.
Four trade persons from HHS, seniors Tiger Woods, Austin O’Brien, and Ty Dreier along with junior Bailey Bungert, manufacture and package the products at PBE. Along with the CNC machine, these young, skilled individuals work with a laser engraver, plasma cam, and have access to a rapid prototyping machine to test for form, fit, and function before final production.
Bungert wants to attend UW-Oshkosh to major in architecture. She said taking this class demonstrates how to work with others to deliver a product on time.
Manufacturing is nearly complete for the village. They placed an order for steel benches, wooden picnic tables and metal signage.
In spring, the school will take applications for acceptance into next year’s course. Contact the business at email@example.com with any questions. The business website is www.polarbearenterprise.wix.com/pb-enterprise.