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Kettle Run grad qualifies for national tech competition

Thursday, Jun. 12 | By Hannah Dellinger
Kettle Run High School senior Joseph Baier has qualified for nationals for 3D CAD (computer aided design) engineering in Bill Davidson's class.
Photo by Adam Goings
Kettle Run High School senior Joey Baier has known since he was a freshman that he wanted to explore a career in mechanical engineering.

After four years of working with computer-aided design (CAD) programs in KRHS’ engineering classes lead by Bill Davidson and being a part of the school’s Technology Student Association (TSA), Baier recently won the title of TSA 3D CAD state champion and will compete at the national competition at the end of July in Washington D.C.

“I’ve been doing this competition since I was a freshmen and I finally won this year,” said Baier.
All four years of his high school career Baier has qualified for the TSA state championship. His freshmen year he took eighth place, his sophomore year he earned seventh and his junior year he finished fifth.

He said that each year the competitors receive a design problem on the spot to resolve using the program Autodesk Inventor 3D. This year he was tasked with designing a kitchen multi-tool with six elements to it.

Baier designed an 8x10x1/8 inch board made out of stainless steel. It incorporated an apple cutter, cheese grater, potato slicer, potato peeler, bottle opener and a corkscrew opener.

Davison said that while the other competitors attempted to design something that looked like a kitchen Swiss Army Knife, Baier made a design that was simple and functional, which is what the judges were looking for.

“I wasn’t surprised at all [that he won] because he’s been with me since ninth grade and he was good from the beginning,” said Davidson. “The problem that they gave him was a design problem and that’s where we had an advantage.”

Davidson said that it was clear from the beginning that Baier had the drive and the talent to go far in TSA.

“He’s always been naturally talented that way, even as a ninth grader he got way ahead of everybody else in the class, including seniors back then. He’s just super super talented,” said Davidson. “He’s kind of a naturally creative person. He’s driven and he hates to lose. I knew that he’d win eventually.”

Baier credits Davidson’s class with fueling his interest in engineering.

“I kind of had an idea that I wanted to be an engineer, but when I took [Mr. Davidson’s] class I really liked it and I was pretty good at it and it showed me what I really wanted to do,” he said. “That’s why I joined [TSA], because of Mr. Davidson’s class.”

Baier is serving as president of TSA during his senior year. He helped to promote the club to his peers and to raise money for the team.

The TSA program includes all kinds of technology-based career paths from engineering to architecture to fashion to music.

This year KRHS took 13 students to the TSA State Tournament. KRHS junior Patrick Kimball and KRHS sophomore August Lutkehus took second place as a team in the technical problem-solving competition.

The two other Fauquier County High Schools also had success at the TSA state tournament.

Liberty High School sophomore Jonathon Thibodeau earned second place in the architectural 2D CAD. Thibodeau and LHS seniors Rachel Strong and Jacob Yates placed fifth as a team in the architectural renovation competition.
LHS Juniors Travis Burgess and Brandon Robertson took fourth place as a team in structural engineering. Burgess also received fourth place in the dragster design competition.

Fauquier High School junior Dara Lehman took third place in architectural 2D CAD.

Baier said that he will attend Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University this fall. He will major in math, and hopes to be able to transfer into the engineering major after his first year.

“I want to especially thank to my mom and dad for pushing me,” said Baier.

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