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KSSB & Make48 Event Supporters '23

The second Kansas State School for the Blind competition is getting ready to launch in 1 week!

We had a successful competition last year with Jon Harding (KSSB superintendent) and Lydia Knopp (makerspace coordinator) at the helm. The first-place winning team, the Little Red Hens, did their school proud by competing at Nationals this year with Mariah Pressley (Trane Technologies) leading as their team captain.

A new set of competitors from Kansas and Missouri will create a prototype in 48 hours under the challenge theme, TOYS. Design Edge is the challenge sponsor for the KSSB competition and the criteria for the challenge will be revealed at the launch on June 9th.

Here are the team captains and companies who will be on hand at the KSSB competition. Some are coming from the Kansas City metro, and others from around the country. They all have one thing in common, they’re big supporters of giving opportunities to the inclusive and the underserved in our communities.

The DeBruce Foundation is a Kansas City organization whose mission is to ensure individuals have the necessary skills and opportunities to succeed in a rapidly changing economy. They have provided free solutions that positively impact the way we look for, prepare and pursue careers, called the Agile Work Profiler. By monitoring how individuals make gains through their initiatives, DeBruce gains insight on how people might become agile in the face of an ever-changing world of work.

Last year DeBruce nominated Matt Zimmerman to be team captain at KSSB last year. This year the team captain will be a new face, Bill Kriege from Rockhurst University.

Wet & Forget is a popular brand of cleaning and household products that has been around for over 40 years. Known for their innovative solutions for indoor and outdoor cleaning, they believe in working "smarter not harder." By listening to their customer needs this New Zealand company developed the easiest cleaning solutions for everyday problems.

VP of Sales, Adam Smith, is reprising his role as team captain this year! His time with the KSSB was very special and it was one of the most satisfying things he’s ever done. We’re looking forward to seeing him lead a new team.

This will be the first competition for MTI Events. MTI Events is a full-service incentive company located in Overland Park, KS. Their services include travel incentive programs, meeting planning, special events, trade shows, merchandise incentive programs, team building and more. The local company has operated programs and meetings on six continents and in more than 40 countries around the world.

Their team captain is Kelly Arnberger, an educator and ex-superintendent from Belle Plaine School District in Kansas. Kelly attended the Wichita 2022 competition with the SweetTarts team, whose students won the People's Choice award.

Cyderes is a global cybersecurity company offering solutions such as managed security, identity and access management, and professional services. Backed by an ever-expanding group of 800+ passionate cybersecurity professionals, Cyderes is among the largest managed security services providers in the world. Helmed by Robert Herjavec, Cyderes brings together the brightest minds in cybersecurity to carry out the vision of providing a new, more secure, normal in business operations.

Cyderes’ team captain is still under wraps…..

Since 1974, Mark One Electric has evolved and diversified, providing an array of electrical construction services from design/build and pre-construction to underground, data/comm and specialty systems. During their tenure, Mark One has grown to over 200 employees and is the specialty contractor of choice for the Kansas City construction community.

Nick Privitera will be team captain for Mark One. Nick helped lead a team last year with KCBAS (KC Blind All Stars) nonprofit organization that supports the Kansas State School for the Blind.

For more than 50 years, Kadean has been a design-build, focused commercial general contractor. With years of experience in the industry, Kadean delivers a trusted, reliable, and valuable construction experience that customers always choose to repeat. Their focus on teamwork, transparency and integrity has defined Kadean’s business philosophy and collaborative culture.

Joe Kelley will brainstorm and lead the KSSB team during the 48 hours.

The Blind Spot sponsored last year and are returning to sponsor the VIP fireside chat & dinner. Chris and Nicole Carr founded the Kansas City-based organization to bring inclusion to the visually impaired community. With an annual gala, the Blind Spot KC also creates an array of experiences for both the blind and sighted. A few of their immersive events include a Blind Dining Experience, Pop-Up Happy Hour and Blindfolded at the movies.

They have planned a very special VIP night for our guests!

The KC Blind All-Stars Foundation (KCBAS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB).

Fueled by a passion for equality and inclusion for persons who are blind or have low vision, KCBAS stands by the belief that youth who are blind and/or visually impaired can be valuable, contributing members of their schools and communities. KCBAS is dedicated to providing assistance to low vision and blind students in education, technology, career assistance and experience, sports and music since 1973. Their mission is to enhance employment, education and leadership opportunities; and experiences in sports music and the arts for students with visual impairments.

Founded in 1919, Garver is an employee-owned multi disciplined engineering, planning, and environmental services firm with more than 1,000 employees across the United States.

Consistently recognized as a best firm to work for, Garver invests in people and all the places they call home. Offering a wide range of services focused on aviation, buildings, construction, enterprise solutions, federal, survey, transportation, water, and wastewater, Garver sits in the top 100 of the Engineering News-Record's prestigious Top 500 Design Firms list and is consistently recognized as a best firm to work for. This will be the first Make48 competition for Garver.

Westlake ACE Hardware will be our neighborhood hardware store at this event!

Competitors, team captains and the film crew will head to ACE on Saturday morning in Kansas City, KS to buy much needed materials for the Toy challenge. With only 1 hour, teams will grab their gift card and shopping list. ACE offers products in a wide range of categories including power and hand tools, heating & cooling, electrical, plumbing, animal care and outdoors.

During the weekend teams and techs will work with a wide variety of tools and materials from our partners. Thank you to our sponsors for spearheading this event with KSSB. Learn more at

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