Collaborative innovation laboratory

Alumnus Tyler Duffy presents ideas for collaboration at interdepartmental CommUnity

Alumnus Tyler Duffy spoke to students studying business, technology, computer science, and engineering at an interdepartmental CommUnity on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Duffy graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a bachelor of business administration degree. He now runs his own business, Campground Automation Systems, which helps simplify the check-in process at campgrounds across the country. The company uses a combination of computer science, engineering, technical, and business skills to succeed. In his presentation, Duffy emphasized the importance of different fields collaborating together to achieve common goals.

Duffy has been supportive of collaborative learning in previous projects as well. In 2011 a check-in kiosk was needed for FedEx shipping facilities, and Duffy approached Walla Walla University students to design it. The team consisted of an industrial design student and two mechanical engineering students. The team worked on the project eight hours each week with regular Skype meetings to give updates to Duffy—who now lives in Tennessee—and to receive feedback. In the end, the students were able to provide a 3-D CAD model of the kiosk, a detailed plan for construction and assembly, and thorough documentation of the design process.

Duffy hopes to encourage more collaborative projects like the 2011 FedEx project. “There are a lot of businesses out there that don’t have time to solve these types of problems,” he says. During his presentation, he encouraged students to find a project to work on and try to work together across departments. “In the real business world such collaboration occurs all the time, so it’s best to gain experience now,” he says.

“Experience is critical in today’s workplace,” says Don Riley, professor of engineering. “For a student to get good experience, it takes willpower, self-motivation, relentless determination, and a can-do attitude. Students with the drive and ambition to do this, will find the support necessary to be successful while at WWU.”

Once a year, each WWU academic department hosts a CommUnity program where students hear presentations relevant to their major. This year, the School of Business, Department of Computer Science, Department of Technology, and the School of Engineering cosponsored this Collaborative Innovation Laboratory CommUnity in order to encourage “a culture and environment that encourages students to collaborate with various disciplines, furthering innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Posted on November 14, 2016

Tyler Duffy presents to a variety of majors at the collaborative innovation laboratory