Kondex Partners with Fond du Lac High School for Project GRILL.
Kondex Corporation recently completed its fifth year as a manufacturing partner with Project GRILL (Growing Readiness in Learning and Leading). This program of Fond du Lac Works, a division of the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce, pairs local manufacturers with high school technical education students to design and build a working charcoal grill from scratch.
This year, Kondex mentored students from Fond du Lac High School, under the direction of Eric Ciha, Technology/Engineering Instructor, and Cory Clark, Automotive Mechanics Instructor. Kondex representatives Gary Kneiss and Jon Maul met with the students throughout the school year to offer advice and support as needed.
After researching Kondex and learning many of its products are used in the agricultural industry, the students decided to build a grill that looked like a combine. “Originally, the students wanted to buy an old combine [to house their grill], and even found one listed on Craig’s List for $700,” commented Clark. “This would have been much too large to work on in our shop, and we wanted them to take on more manufacturing efforts.”
The team formed a new plan to extend a lawn tractor frame and manufacture a new body with a grill attachment. Their completed project was not only fully drivable, but it also featured an articulating grill attachment, a hopper for supply storage, and a decorative unloading arm to bring the combine look to reality. One of the bigger challenges was adjusting the steering and drivetrain, as the engine would now be positioned behind the driver.
“I’m very proud of the team. They were very creative, and managed everything,” said Ciha. “When things took longer than anticipated, they came together to prioritize what needed to be done, and were very excited throughout the project.”
“What stood out most during the project was the group’s ability to work as a team,” said Clark. “From initial planning and troubleshooting, the team took their idea and made it work. They did a great job.”
Fond du Lac High School students partnered with Kondex Corporation to build a combine-themed grill.
L to R: Nathan Lobajeski, junior; Nick Immel, senior; Michael Mendoza, senior; Alex Thompson, senior; Brady Ryan, senior; Travis Sabel, senior; and Ben Pertl, junior.