As a high school student, Benjamin Tremblay didn't know much about the plastics industry. Then he got involved with the Quinebaug Valley Plastics Institute and Quinebaug Valley Community College High School Plastics Expo. Now he's working for one of the sponsors and advising other students.
Tremblay went to Tourtellotte High School of North Grosvenordale, Conn., where he was on a 12-person team that won the People's Choice Award in 2004. That year, the team designed a light-emitting-diode necklace that could be adjusted to any size.
Tremblay is the type of person the expo tries to attract. The experience, he said, made him decide to attend Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, Conn., where he earned an associate's degree in engineering science. He's now an applications engineer at Web Industries Inc. of Dayville, Conn., and attends the University of Connecticut part time in pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree.
``When I was a senior, [the expo] gave me direction. I hadn't had much exposure to what went on in the industry.''
Working on his school's project in 2004 really piqued his interest and gave him an incentive to look at the plastics industry for his future, he said.
``My immediate response was - if I could do it and get paid, there was not too much downside,'' said Tremblay.
When he competed, there were four teams. Now there are six and the assignments are much more involved.
He said he learned a great deal in the first competition and has learned even more working as an adviser for Killingly High School, which won the 2008 competition.
- By Frank Antosiewicz