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Exciting Kickoff for PLTW Event This Weekend!

This weekend marks the commencement of the highly-anticipated Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and Make48 competition, set to kick off tomorrow, at The University of Missouri-Kansas City. Seven dynamic PLTW teams are gearing up for a weekend of innovation, creativity, and friendly competition. 

6 photos of teams competing at project lead the way - make48
Project Lead The Way-Make48 Competition Teams

Make48’s event emcee is the accomplished Maker, Lizzy Cook, founder of The House of Timber. While this is Lizzy's debut as an emcee, she brings a wealth of experience from previous events, including the 2023 KSSB challenge as well as competitions in Wichita and North Little Rock in 2022. The event commences on Friday, February 2nd, and continues non-stop until February 4th, offering teams an immersive experience filled with innovation. Participants can anticipate a diverse array of activities, including a delectable BBQ affair hosted by Scott's Kitchen.

Beyond PLTW, several prominent Kansas City companies and organizations are actively participating. Sporting Kansas City, The DeBruce Foundation, Dimensional Innovations, and Operation Breakthrough will have mentors, tool techs, and representatives supporting the teams throughout the weekend. Startland News is making a welcomed return, hosting the VIP "Fireside" chat on Saturday night, followed by a delightful dinner and cocktails on the Plaza at Rye.

The teams will benefit from the presence of Tool Techs who will be assisting throughout the weekend. IP attorneys Eric Anderson (UMKC) and Nick Apel (Erise IP) will ensure that teams receive the necessary search for prior patents. The UMKC representation includes Brian Kanoy (fabrication studio manager), Walt Accurso, Huan Ding, Riley Harris, Faith Denning, Nick Porter, Derwin Bunce, Allen Dale, Justin Crumley, Graham Crump, Eleanor Reed, and Joe Crow. 

Make48's team comprises professionals from various parts of the country. They know their way around the competitions. We will welcome Ryan Patterson (ShopBot Tools), Matt Rohr (Onshape), Travis Putman, Craig Fabin (Operation Breakthrough), Clint Hanson (KCAI), Jeff Becker (3 Link Studios LLC),  Tyler Isaacs (Wooden Whiskers Trading Co), Lizzy Cook (House of Timber) and Ryan Holland (Arcos Media) to help the teams with their builds. 

Saturday morning teams will gather their essential supplies at Westlake Ace Hardware, an exciting and entertaining activity where the teams have limited time to shop. Westlake has been a proud supporter of past competitions, and they have generously provided $200 gift cards to each team, allowing them to acquire the necessary materials for their prototypes.

A unique addition to this year's event is the introduction of trophies. Three trophies will be awarded at every Make48 event – one for the team with the best pitch presentation, another presented by The DeBruce Foundation for exhibiting outstanding Agilities©, and finally, an overall winner trophy. Remarkably, the Tool Techs will design and create these trophies within the intense 48-hour timeframe.

The judging panel, consisting of four esteemed individuals, includes Mark Byrd (New Reflections), Kristie Larson (DeBruce Foundation), Jason Rausch (Project Lead The Way), and Chioma Atanmo (Sporting KC). Cameras will capture all the exciting moments throughout the weekend, and will air on This Old House Makers Channel later this year. 

While three trophies will be presented, the team emerging as the overall winner will proceed to Nationals in November. The Nationals will take place back in Kansas City at Operation Breakthrough's Ignition Lab powered by 87 & Running. The stage is set for a thrilling weekend of innovation, collaboration, and fierce competition at the PLTW event! 

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