Technology camp gives teens hands-on modern manufacturing experience

Two of the five judges, pictured in blue shirts, making rounds to observe and evaluate the work of the campers on competition day.

The future of American manufacturing was on display at the seventh annual Stihl Manufacturing Technology Summer Camp on July 28, 2018, held on the Stihl Inc. campus in Virginia Beach, Va. New champions were crowned at the free camp, which was developed in collaboration with “Dream It. Do It. Virginia” to promote careers in modern manufacturing by giving high school students a hands-on experience in technology-based projects. Through an essay application process, 29 high school students — from Virginia Beach to Richwood, Ohio — were selected to participate.

During the four-day camp, students learned to build LED desk and dome lamps out of Stihl components. Participants worked in small teams to develop technical, production and budgeting skills to find the most efficient way to construct prototypes. Through this challenge, students completed every step of bringing a product to market — from time studies and building electronics to marketing products to the judges.

One of the many activities leading up to competition day included learning to solder.

“At Stihl, we recognize the ongoing skilled trades gap in the United States and across the globe,” said Lorraine Wagner, director of manufacturing at Stihl Inc. “We believe by creating opportunities for students to learn about manufacturing, we grow awareness that will lead more young people to pursue these important skills-driven career paths.”

On the final day, five teams competed to determine the best process to manufacture and assemble as many lamps as possible in a short time period. Each member of the winning team received a scholarship of $1,000 from the Virginia Industry Foundation.

“We wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for all of us,” said Yosef Woods, a senior at Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, Va., and member of the winning team, Team Bright. “It was a team thing. Everyone had a job to do and stuck to the plan. We were very innovative, finding an easier way to manufacture our lamps and make our process more efficient.”

2018 Manufacturing Technology Summer Camp (MTSC) “Overall” winners, Team Bright. From left to right: Coach Aleric Sanders, Stihl Inc.; Eli Anderson, Hickory H.S.; Kyler Brazukas, Princess Anne H.S.; Aniya Burnham, Landstown H.S.; Yosef Woods, Deep Creek H.S.; Mason Zahn, Kellam H.S.; Victoria Schilke, Grassfield H.S. and Coach John Foster, Stihl Inc.

The 2018 winning team members from Team Bright — who built five desk lamps and five dome lamps — are:

  • Yosef Woods, Deep Creek High School, Chesapeake, Va.
  • Victoria Schilke, Grassfield High School, Chesapeake, Va.
  • Eli Anderson, Hickory High School, Chesapeake, Va.
  • Mason Zahn, Kellam High School, Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Aniya Burnham, Landstown High School, Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Kyler Brazukas, Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Coach John Foster, Stihl Inc., Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Coach Aleric Sanders, Stihl Inc., Virginia Beach, Va.


The competition was judged by academic, corporate and community leaders. The 2018 judging panel included:

  • Thomas Stout, dean of STEM at Tidewater Community College
  • C. Patrick Koelling, Ph.D., associate professor of industrial and systems engineering at Virginia Tech
  • Wade Powell, Dale Carnegie education specialist at Infotec
  • Paul Dockery, vice president of business development and marketing at Infotec
  • Ernie Langevin, Tidewater operations manager at Industrial TurnAround Corp. (ITAC)


For more information about Stihl Inc., visit


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