Rock West Composites Announces Quaranvent Design Competition Winner

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Rock West Composites held the Quaranvent Design Competition during the late spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in hopes of providing a fun activity for those living under quarantine. The competition concluded at the end of May, and the winning design, a 15-foot lightweight inflatable backpack kayak by Craig Monroe, was announced last week.

When customers have shared their projects with us in the past, we were always amazed at the creativity and innovation we would see, so we knew this would be a great competition. Plus, we hoped to offer some focus and fun for our customers with the challenges of isolation during quarantine.

In early April, Rock West Composites (RWC) announced the Quaranvent Design Competition as a way of engaging with the public during the nearly nation-wide quarantine that happened in the late spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The period for entries closed at the end of May, and the prize options included combinations of cash, RWC product, and donations to organizations working on COVID-19 relief efforts. On June 25 the company announced the winner was Craig Monroe, who designed a 15ft kayak that was inflatable, incorporated RWC carbon fiber components, and could be easily transported in a backpack.

The judging criteria included the innovation and uniqueness of the idea, the usefulness of the design, the potential business case for the product, and the use of RWC materials and products. The inclusion of RWC materials was not required. Themes around the pandemic, flattening the curve, and social distancing were encouraged. The selection committee was excited about the variety of designs submitted but ultimately felt that the backpack kayak fit all the key points of the competition.

The winning entry keeps with the theme of social distancing and engaging in healthy activities. It uses a combination of inflatable parts and carbon fiber structural elements to make the kayak lightweight enough—at 12 pounds or less—for hiking. The innovative design collapses into a manageable backpack size, making it easier to transport and for the user to access remote areas by foot. The easy to assemble structure and durable Dyneema® skin adds to the practicality of the design. The committee thought this design had a great potential business case. You can read more about the entry on the company’s website: https://www.rockwestcomposites.com/blog/announcing-the-winner-of-our-quaranvent-design-competition/.

“We were excited to see the entries come in over the period of the competition,” said Dave Erickson, the General Manager RWC’s Salt Lake City operation. “When customers have shared their projects with us in the past, we were always amazed at the creativity and innovation we would see, so we knew this would be a great competition. Plus, we hoped to offer some focus and fun for our customers with the challenges of isolation during quarantine.” As part of the winner’s package, Mr. Monroe is receiving a cash prize and RWC is making a $2000 donation to Feeding America, a hunger-relief organization.

To visit Rock West Composites’ website, go to https://www.rockwestcomposites.com.

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Julia Willis
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