Each year, Ashwaubenon High School students participate in the Wisconsin Formula Student USA initiative, conceived by technology and engineering instructors Mike Besel and Jeremie Meyer. Over eight months, these students learn to design, build, and race Formula First-inspired cars. This practical approach advances their understanding of engineering, CAD, fabrication, welding, and CNC machine operation. Though individual tasks are assigned, team spirit and efficient communication are essential.
Badger Sheet Metal Works (BSMW), a regular steel donor for class projects, has supported the Formula Student program for several years. This year, BSMW had the privilege of being lead sponsor, aiding the students in their unconventional choice of crafting a jeep-styled race car they named “P10.” BSMW cut, shaped, and custom powder coated the parts. The team’s design prowess earned praise from Jeff Lindsley, General Manager at BSMW, who was blown away with the concept.
“They did excellent work with the design,” said Lindsley. “After Jeremie sent us the 3D model, I knew we were going to be all in.” Speed’s always a goal with these cars, but aesthetics were also important with this project.
Community involvement, a pillar of company philosophy, motivates the sponsorship of Ashwaubenon High School. BSMW aims to inspire interest in manufacturing and fabrication careers among students at a time when they aren’t entering the industry as much as they used to.
“Manufacturing is not going away, and we hope to contribute to the development of future craftsmen in our industry,” said Lindsley.
BSMW’s involvement with students went beyond sponsorship; leadership often visited the classroom during the project, interacted with the students, and answered questions about fabrication careers. The company often hires graduates from local tech schools, like NWTC and Fox Valley Tech, and champions gender inclusivity in an industry that many assume only caters to men.
“There are quite a few women working in the shop at Badger now,” says Courtney Schwartz, a Quality Coordinator at BSMW. “And when we’re working with students, we want to make it clear that women can play just as big of a role in the industry as men.”
As the students made progress on their project, excitement grew for “race day” at Elkhart Lake. Each spring, the Formula Student finale unfolds over two adrenaline-filled days at Road America. Teams from across the state compete for the fastest time. Independent problem-solving is crucial, as students handle any race car malfunctions without instructor aid. Top-end speed in the cars, which are powered by lawn-mower engines, is an impressive 40-50 mph.
BSMW donated a “Badger Sheet Metal Works 100-Year Anniversary” banner to hang in the school’s shop as well as race-day shirts to the students. Company leaders also attended the event to show their support for the Ashwaubenon High School team. Although the jeep-inspired P10 didn’t clinch the top spot, the students enjoyed an unforgettable, educational experience.
“They may not have won a trophy, but they surely would’ve won the ‘Most Unique Vehicle’ award,” quipped Lindsley.
About Badger Sheet Metal Works
Badger Sheet Metal Works is a custom and OEM metal fabrication partner for various industries, including food and dairy, mining, petroleum, material handling, and architecture. The company employs approximately 100 people in a custom-designed plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The facility includes a 70 by 320-foot main assembly bay with four crane rails featuring a total lifting capacity of 30 tons and a 22-foot under-hook height.