Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Future City with 25 Voices

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Release Date: 

January 10th, 2017

Design mistake during competition leads to design career at 3M

Current 3M employee and 2002 Future City Competition participant Jo Etter, was inspired to join the Competition by her English teacher at Minnesota’s Chippewa Middle School. That year the theme was energy sources for powering cities. “Getting an intro to the different types of engineering helped shape my career path even though I didn’t realize it at the time.”

It was Jo’s first experience designing to scale. While creating a miniature school for her group’s model, she overlooked what seemed to be a small detail and as a result, the school piece ended up being larger than the other pieces on the model. After Jo redesigned the school however, she took a special interest in the model’s aesthetics. “Not only did the redesign of the model pay off when we won the Minnesota regionals, the skills I learned during the Future City competition have proven to be vital to me as mechanical engineer on 3M’s product development team.”

If there is one piece of advice that Jo has for Future City participants, it is to “get out of your comfort zone, and try all of roles within the group!” Through working with her group and presenting at Future City, Jo learned that the groups where everyone speaks up are not only more successful, but learn more about themselves in the process. Take Jo’s team for example - they went on to win Finals!

The 25 Voices that we are spotlighting to celebrate the 25th Anniversary include mentors, former participants, teachers, and sponsors. You can read them on our Facebook page or on FutureCity.org.