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Nationals Team Spotlight: L Quadratics Representing Wichita

Eight teams had to brainstorm for a solution to the challenge theme, “Community Gardening for Food Accessibility” and create a prototype, sales sheet, and 1-minute marketing video at the GoCreate-Make48 2022 June event. As the Challenge Sponsor, Koch Industries and a team of community members crafted a challenge focused on improving access to food throughout Wichita.

Teams created a variety of solutions, and judges Bill Bender (Koch Disruptive Technologies), Leah Dannar-Garcia (FireflyFarm/Rise Farm), and Jennifer Marshall (Spirit Aerosystems) had the hard decision but awarded team L Quadratics as the first-place winner at the Wichita event!

Jo, Jay, Justin and Lacie won 1st Place in Wichita

Team Members Lacie Leatherman, Jay Leatherman, Justin Leatherman and Jo Leatherman are a family who drew on their diverse talents and experiences to create a solution in 48 hours. The team won $2,000 and a seat at Nationals for their product, the Hydro Pal.

L Quadratics with the Hydro Pal

The Hydro Pal is an easy two-minute assembly, resulting in a self- contained, solar-powered unit that will ensure plants survive while their owners are away. To use the Hydro Pal, fill the UV-resistant reservoir with enough water to hydrate your plants for four to five days, and enjoy your time away! Upon return, collapsible disassembly allows easy storage wherever you want. Hydro Pal helps protect agricultural investments and conserves water by distributing only what is needed at the ideal time of day. Made from recycled materials, with minimal shipping volume and a lightweight design, the Hydro Pal fell within the judging criteria.

In a few weeks L Quadratics will compete in Kansas City to build a brand new idea under the challenge theme ‘Animal Wellness’. We asked the group a few questions to learn more about them.

How did your team meet?

Jay is the father to Lacie and Justin. Justin and Jo are married, and went to school together growing up. Even though they were only a year apart, they never fully connected until after college when they both moved back around Wichita, and hung out with friends. Justin’s pick up line was “where did you go to middle school?” It worked!

What’s a fun fact about you?

Jay is an excellent horseman and participates in competitive ranch roping.

Lacie possesses an incredible ability to get things done under pressure and at the last minute.

Jo is a FANTASTIC piano player and Justin is conversational in Wookie! Hoyaarg aga huwaga? (How are things at the office?)

How did you form your team?

How we became a Make48 team is a little crazy! Lacie had put together another team and they all became unavailable at the last minute. Still wanting to participate, she asked her family with very little notice. Luckily it was one of the only weekends everyone was free, and they agreed! They sure didn’t know what they were getting into when they said yes during that family dinner!

What’s The Biggest Strength On Your Team?

Our strength definitely lies in the diversity of our backgrounds. Jay is a retired tool designer. Lacie is an innovator and entrepreneur. Justin is in logistics, and Jo is a family doctor. We think it’s a pretty great recipe for success.

What do you think you’d do differently, if anything, at Nationals?

We don’t plan on changing anything!

At Nationals, What’s one thing you want to do, or see, at the Kansas City Competition?

Lacie wants to know if you can have Travis Kelce swing in for a celebrity appearance?! (We will try to manifest it Lacie!) Outside of that, we’re looking forward to seeing the Make48 team again, connecting with the other teams, and meeting the new tool techs. As a family we’re going to try and get one good dinner on the Plaza.

For the first time, teams have a chance this year to win the Spirit Stick Award. The winners will receive a KC gift bundle and CEO, Tom Gray will take the team out to dinner (in their city). Where do you think the team will choose?

If our team wins the Spirit Stick Award, we’re leaning towards a good meal at Chester's Chophouse and Wine Bar.

And our last question… Favorite snack at the M48 Event?

We all enjoyed the healthy seed muffins, but Jay loves anything coffee or chocolate. (Jay will be first in line at the coffee station in the morning!)

Jay and Lacie with the custom-made trophy

Good luck to the L Quadratics! To learn more about the host location GoCreate, a Koch Collaborative, follow them at Instagram and on Facebook.

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