Biddeford-Based Thermoformed Plastics of New England Project Provides Valuable Lessons for COT Students

Thermo ProjectWhen the owner of a leading New England manufacturing company visited the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology (BRCOT) to learn more about programs and future workforce, nobody imagined he’d be contracting the school to help him finish off his new employee breakroom.

After touring the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology over the winter, Paul Tyson, managing owner of Thermoformed Plastics of New England (TPNE), a locally-based plastics molding company, was intrigued by the interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students at Career and Technology High Schools.  Tyson invited students and instructors from the BRCOT to tour TPNE’s space and pitched the idea of students finishing up a breakroom space he was renovating for his employees.

“Our success is only possible because of the hard work and dedication of our employees, and when it’s time to take a break or eat lunch it’s important to me that they have a place to go that is comfortable and welcoming.  It wasn’t enough to just have a table and chairs, I wanted a space as nice as they experience when going out for lunch or dinner. So, when I saw all the disciplines being taught at BRCOT, it seemed to me to be a great opportunity to provide the students with a hands-on learning experience and for us to get something extra special for our employees.  And who knows, maybe one day one of these students will be enjoying their lunch in our breakroom!”

After touring TPNE’s space and visualizing the counter-height break tables with Engineering & Architectural Design Instructor Eddie Driscoll, it became apparent that designing and building the tables would be an opportunity to bring students from four different Career and Technical programs together in a real-world project setting.

Driscoll assigned the project to engineering students Nick Desjardins and Dan Frechette. The two seniors would create CAD design prints from hand-drawn sketches provided by Tyson, and also take on a real-world project management assignment, shepherding the project through development.

Desjardins and Frechette would also oversee the fabrication of tables by Welding students Logan Matthews, Brady Evans and Curtis Bertrand, as well as the fabrication of the metal feet by Precision Machining student Carl Pellerin.  Once completed, Advanced Woodworking students Brady Sexton and Alex Thurlow would mill the butcher block table.

“Managing students from another class and ensuring that everyone was on track with the timeline was a great project management experience for our students,” said Driscoll.

In total, the project involved eight students and four instructors: Eddie Driscoll (Engineering & Design), Adam Wilder (Welding), Marc Cadorette (Precision Machining) and Michael Aaskov (Basic Carpentry and Advanced Woodworking).

Based in Biddeford’s Industrial Park, Thermoformed Plastics is a locally owned and operated, custom thermoforming company that offers complete design, prototyping, tooling and production services to a wide range of industries, including Medical, Retail, Material Handling, Defense, Telecommunication and Food Packaging.

Shown left to right:  Logan Matthews (Welding), Brady Sexton and Alex Thurlow (Advanced Woodworking), Mike Aaskov, (Instructor), Paul Tyson (CEO TNTP), Matthew Boutin (Precision Machining) Marc Cadorette (Instructor), Adm Wilder (Instructor) and Eddie Driscoll (Instructor). Not shown, Nick Desjardins, Dan Frechette, Carl Pellerin and Brady Evans.