Work station that will fabricate graphite-composite ski poles

Product Development Center (PDC) Touts Olympic Presence

As Andy Liebner coaches a Mexican cross-country skier at the 2018 Winter Olympics, he will likely be using poles that Lake Superior State University’s Product Development Center had a hand in developing. Liebner custom manufactures graphite composite ski poles out of a company he owns – United States Ski Pole Company – in Cheboygan, Mich.

Through Sault Sainte Marie’s Smartzone (SSMart), Liebner hired the PDC in 2014-15 to redesign and rebuild a machine used in the wrapping process of the ultralight carbon fiber poles. Two engineering students, Tim VerStrate and Phil Coullard, worked the rebuild on top of still another client-driven senior project required for graduation. That venture designed, built, and automated a prototype CNC milling machine for Redwing, Minn.-based Mactech, Inc.

VerStrate, originally from Escanaba, Mich., is a 2015 graduate in mechanical engineering-vehicle systems concentration with an electrical engineering minor. He works for VanAire, Inc., a leading source of high-pressure gas valves and actuators for North America, located in Gladstone, Mich.

Phillip Coullard, from Pickford, Mich., graduated in electrical engineering with a digital systems emphasis in 2017. He works for Cloverland Electric, Dafter, Mich., a cooperative that provides service to Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula.

About the Author

John ShibleyJohn Shibley
Photographer/Staff Writer

Shibley has been a writer, editor, photographer, and videographer in the public relations office since 1991, except for a five-year stint as hobby and planetary science editor at Astronomy magazine in the mid-90s, where he was a finalist for the American Astronomical Society’s Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award.

LSSU Alumni & Friends are now eligible for discounted vacations offered by Collette Travel

Islands of New England

Islands of New England
Collette Travel

September 6 — September 13, 2018 8 Days - 11 Meals

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LSSU Alumni & Friends are now eligible for discounted vacations offered by Collette Travel

Discover the South Pacific Wonders

Discover the South Pacific Wonders
Collette Travel Sydney Opera Reef Snorkeling  

October 2 — October 16, 2018 15 Days - 20 Meals

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