Re: Students Awed by Technology & Career Opportunities

From: Terry T. Wohlers (
Date: Thu Sep 12 2002 - 18:23:15 EEST


It was not my intent to place blame, but rather to urge those affiliated
with exhibitions to explore ways in which they might involve students. If
you felt I was unfair or offensive, please reread my note. I've added it
below. It's good to see that WESTEC and IMTS have found ways to involve


Terry Wohlers
Wohlers Associates, Inc.
OakRidge Business Park
1511 River Oak Drive
Fort Collins, Colorado 80525 USA
Fax 970-225-2027

Message text written by


Blaming the exhibitors is completely unfair, and offensive.

The point was that trade shows are not the right place.

I routinely take equipment to schools for demos and seminars just about any

time a school or teacher asks. I've recently done several demos and more
a few student models for high schools and colleges in Southern California.
recently did this jointly with Marshall Burns at the school where he
Doing these projects only costs me gas and time away from selling (maybe my

competitor got an order that day because I wasn't around to respond), not
king's ransom of a trade show. We never turn students away at trade shows,
but we all have to focus on buying customers.
Maybe you have the pull to get SME and others to give us a break for
aside times for students. Maybe you will be willing to give a FREE copy of
the Wholer's Report to every student we present to. Perhaps Wohlers
Associates, Inc. would sponsor some educational shows. Do one in Denver,
I'll bring in a machine.
As Roger Spielman pointed out, the WESTEC show has times where students are

literally brought in by the busload. It's interesting to look down the
and see people (not RP vendors) pulling in their samples, and some even
down and leave. Your point of having a volunteer or some form of leader
most likely be a big improvement. Some organization and discipline would go
long way to help. Many exhibitors just aren't prepared to deal with large
swarms of students appearing in the booth and grabbing everything in sight.
I have never seen any RP vendor except the old BPM, turn away students or
anything less than gracious. At the last WESTEC show, I built at least a
dozen models for student who brought files to the show!
I guess you missed the point. RP vendors are not backing away from
to students, it's just that trade shows are not the right place.
To place the bulk of the problem on the exhibitors, Terry, I think you are
WAY out of line.

My thoughts

Glen Chancellor<

Ed and everyone else,

I also understand why they don't do it. Isn't interesting how we easily
find reasons not to do something when it's challenging or difficult? We
tend to latch on to excuses (many are valid) to support our backing away
from the problem. If we continue to back away from this one, I'm afraid our
U.S. manufacturing base will continue to shrink. Of course, the problem is
much deeper and wider than what's being discussed here.

It's my hope that the organizers of design and manufacturing exhibitions,
and especially the exhibitors themselves, begin to welcome junior high,
high school, and college students. I'm not suggesting that shows are opened
up entirely to students. I could envision knowledgeable volunteers leading
student groups through the exhibition during slow periods. Often, the first
and last days of shows are slow. Another option would be to have special
hours, perhaps late in the day, when students can tour the show floor on
their own.

Thanks to those of you who sent e-mail messages to me privately. In the
future, I encourage you to post them to the list so that everyone can
benefit from them. Several of you had excellent thoughts and ideas. I
applaud those of you who are sharing your time and resources with schools,
inviting them to visit your facility, organizing projects and educational
activities, and so on. We can only hope that these acts of kindness are

One last thought: While working at Colorado State University (1981-1986), I
learned to NOT be bashful. I urge instructors, research personnel, lab
managers, and others at educational institutions of all levels to make
contact with local design and manufacturing companies. I'm sure many of
them would be glad to cooperate in some way, but you may need to take the
first step.


Terry Wohlers
Wohlers Associates, Inc.
OakRidge Business Park
1511 River Oak Drive
Fort Collins, Colorado 80525 USA
Fax 970-225-2027

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