Engineering News Winter 2016

This Hive is Buzzing with Innovation

Shane Rogers '13 (M.S. Engineering Management and Leadership) has always been entrepreneurial. As a kid, he pedaled his bike to construction sites, peddling lemonade to thirsty workers and earning as much in one hour as he would have in five from a stand in his front yard. Years later he started The Clarity Project—fair trade artisanal diamond mining that funded a school in Sierra Leone. But when he teamed up with fellow alumnus Brian Holm ’00 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering), things really got humming.

Together, the pair founded Hive Design. In addition to offering consultation and design services to other companies, Hive has created and launched three of their own products: Eligo—a “smart hydration” unit offering athletes hands-free selection of water and/or electrolytes from a single reservoir; RPM Speed Rope—sophisticated mechanics paired with cool design that does for jump ropes what Nike did for sneakers; and their latest brainchild, Edwin—"a modern minimal wallet inspired by the binder clip."

"All the products we work with are things we care about," said Rogers. "I had used a binder clip as a wallet for years and I loved it, but I wanted quick access to a single credit card and cash." Holm took the idea and with the help of Bryan Herrera '14 (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) and Phillip Priolo (industrial design intern from San Jose State University), Edwin was born. A Kickstarter campaign "blew up" and product recently started shipping.

"What makes this all work is that I'm really good on the mechanical side, and Shane is great at the other side of the business. It's a perfect melding of two people coming together to run a company," said Holm. The two had previously spent years working together at a medical device company where they gathered lots of experience designing products. Holm also managed the fabrication shop and designed the mechanical aspects of exhibits for San Jose's Tech Museum, tested the viability of fuel cell vehicles in Germany, and before graduating from SCU, led the team that pioneered the School of Engineering's Roverwerx Rover program.

"When we were doing our undergraduate work, we weren’t really thinking about being entrepreneurs, but that’s changing," said Rogers. "I applaud SCU for their forward thinking. SCU is doing a great job of getting students motivated to think about design and how to come up with an idea, and then giving them the tools to follow through." Rogers teaches an entrepreneurship course as an adjunct professor for the School of Engineering and shares his experience with other universities in the KEEN network of engineering educators.

For his part, Herrera is grateful for both his experience at SCU and the opportunity to work at Hive. "Everything I have now is due to SCU. My parents never went to college; I had zero engineering background. I discovered it on my own by playing with Legos; I liked building things. SCU gave me the foundation for a really great achievement. I never thought I’d be launching a new product a year and a half after graduation! I’m blessed with these opportunities."

As for opportunity, there's plenty of activity in the Hive. "We have a lot more going on that’s still not public. The path to market is long, but we have a chance to touch a lot of really cool projects," said Rogers.

More information:

Shane Rogers, Brian Holm, Bryan Herrera, Mechanical Engineering, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Engineering Management and Leadership