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Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations

Lucky Drum: DCC/SVHEC Product Design & Development Grad Wins Top Honors at AWFS


DCC Grad Ben Scarborough is shown with CNC-milled snare drums.

Ben Scarborough with his first-place AWFS award.

South Boston, VA, August 1, 2011 - He had never won first place in anything in his life—until now.

Recent Danville Community College graduate Ben Scarborough took home first place honors in the national Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) 2011 Fresh Wood Student Competition. Scarborough’s entry, three CNC-milled snare drums (known as Dead Ben Drums) withstood stiff competition from students at Brigham Young University and Art Center College of Design to win the production category’s blue ribbon.

“This demonstrates that the SVHEC and the Business of Art & Design program are right on target with giving students opportunities to do amazing things, and the things they do are recognized by real employers,? said Business of Art & Design Coordinator
Ben Capozzi. “This is a testament to the strength of Clint Johnson’s instruction and the innate talents of students in the Southside region.?

The uniquely designed snare drums were entered in the production category because of the advanced manufacturing techniques used to produce them. Scarborough spent months planning his designs in the TopSolid Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software before ever touching a piece of wood. He then used a 3-axis Computer Numerical Control (CNC) router to produce the wooden portions of the drums.


For Scarborough, who only entered the competition after being coaxed by his Product Design & Development instructor Clint Johnson, this win was the ultimate surprise.


“I’m shocked. I wasn’t even going to enter the competition, but Clint pushed until I did. To compete against the likes of BYU, and to win first place speaks volumes about the quality of Danville Community College’s Wood Science degree, and the Product Design & Development specialization on the SVHEC campus,? Scarborough added.

The AWFS 2011 Fresh Wood Student Competition is the largest of its kind, and highlights outstanding construction and design achievements by students. Students must complete a rigorous application process and be selected by a jury to earn a place at the biennial competition. Scarborough was one of 41 finalists selected from 138 applications. His work was judged by a panel of nationally and internationally acclaimed woodworking and design professionals.


“I’m really proud of Ben. The student competition had one of the best showings that I’ve seen in a long time, and for the DCC/SVHEC Product Design & Development program to be right there with Appalachian State University, College of the Redwoods, and Auburn University—big names who’ve been there for awhile—is pretty impressive,? said Product Design & Development instructor Clint Johnson.

While Scarborough is personally gratified by his win, he also sees implications for the wider Product Design & Development program. “This proves the PD&D win with the Chair (first place AWFS 2009 Fresh Wood Student Competition) wasn’t a fluke,? he stated. “We have two first place finishes because we’re surrounded by other quality work and quality individuals. We’re establishing a culture of high end professional woodworkers through the holistic education you can receive here,? he continued.

Ben Scarborough received his Associate of Applied Science in Wood Science with a specialization in Product Design & Development from DCC, May 2011. He is currently employed as a technician with the SVHEC’s R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency. Scarborough hopes to use his first place win as a springboard for establishing Dead Ben Drums as a producer of custom drums. He is currently focusing on snare drums, but hopes to expand to entire drum kits in the future.

Product Design & Development at the SVHEC is offered in partnership with Danville Community College. Registration for fall 2011 courses is currently open. For more information about the Product Design & Development program
click here.


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