Upper Saint Clair STEAM Program Partners with Tom Brown, Inc.

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Since 2019, Tom Brown, Inc. has collaborated with the Upper Saint Clair STEAM Program. Through USC’s Innovation and Consulting course, STEAM courses—Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics—grant students real-world experience in these various disciplines.  Brendan Brown, our president and a graduate of USC coordinated the partnership. Upper Saint Clair High School is located just south of Pittsburgh in Upper Saint Clair Township, and initiated its STEAM program in 2014. Through these courses, students use human-centered design techniques along with traditional problem-solving methods to build their skillsets within the disciplines noted above. The program then collaborates with local business and communities to solve real world problems using their newly acquired skills and the students’ personal strengths. These problems are varied and require students to explore topics they might not otherwise encounter within the confines of a traditional classroom.

2019 Upper Saint Clair STEAM Projects

In the first year of Tom Brown’s partnership, there were five projects presented to USC students:
  • Warehouse Lighting Project – conduct a cost/benefit analysis of converting current warehouse lighting to a more energy efficient system.
  • Inventory Management – Benchmark our current inventory management system and develop a new system or recommend an established system that best fits the needs of the business.
  • Delivery Service – optimize delivery truck service schedules and present a promotion plan for this new service capability.
  • Online Marketing – improve search engine optimization (SEO) using keywords from the current website.
  • Minimize Product Waste – Audit the current processes for slitting bulk product and optimize the process to reduce waste.
The students presented their research and ideas to Tom Brown, Inc personnel. Many ideas were excellent and implemented and all the projects yielded actionable tasks for improvement.

2020 Upper Saint Clair STEAM Projects

Second year projects include:
  • Water Jet Wastewater Management – develop a plan to optimize waste water from water jet cutting of foam materials.
  • Forklift Training Program – design a forklift training program that meets all OSHA regulations so employees can be trained and certified.
  • Emergency Action Plan – design an emergency action plan to cover fire, injury, and other catastrophic events including an evacuation plan and roles and responsibilities.
  • Minimize Machine Scrap – design new components and processes to reduce scrap and improve material utilization.
  • Marketing Program for New Solvent – develop a marketing and promotion plan for anew solvent to remove misapplied sealants, caulks, and adhesives.
  • MIT App Inventor for Inventory Management – using MIT App Inventor to make an app for multi-bin, multi-SKU inventory management.
  • Engineering New Roof Canopy – design a new free span canopy roof from a recent cleared area at the rear of the building to hold overflow inventory.

Students Remain Undeterred

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly adds a new dimension to the USC STEAM program this year. Students must collaborate online with classmates, teachers, and business owners to complete research, design solutions, and present their recommendations. However, like each of the projects listed above, the USC STEAM program students met this challenge and excelled. Look for future blog posts detailing individual projects and their outcomes. Learn More about Tom Brown, Inc’s Community Outreach TBI believes in being an active member of our community. If you’re interested in partnering with us for a similar program, contact us today.
Rick Alexander

About the Author

Rick Alexander is the National Sales Manager for Tom Brown, Inc. His early experience was in R&D, product management, and sales management for both Main Tape and Adhesives Research, Inc. Rick brings over 40 years of pressure-sensitive tape experience and Tom Brown’s world class converting capabilities to help solve customer bonding, assembly, and sealing challenges.