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The Making of the 2024 East Bay Innovation Award Trophies

East Bay Innovation Award Trophy
The 2024 East Bay Innovation Award Trophies were produced at Laney College's Machine Technology Department. Image by Malcolm Wallace Photography.

By Mark Martin, Regional Director-Advanced Manufacturing, Bay Area Community Colleges

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony – now add the East Bay Innovation Awards to the list. When the event organizer, East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA), sought a locally-made trophy that embodied the spirit of excellence, they turned to Laney College’s Machine Technology Program for a solution. With Laney’s expertise in precision manufacturing and access to state-of-the-art CNC machines, the college embraced the challenge with enthusiasm.

As the largest of the four Peralta Community College District campuses, Laney College stands as a cornerstone of innovation and opportunity in Oakland and the East Bay. It was here that the trophy’s journey unfolded, from inspiration, concept, CAD design, prototype, and finally to production where the trophy came to life through skilled hands and attention to detail, showcasing the training and craftsmanship developed at Laney College.

The design process included the use of the latest manufacturing technology – in the form of 5-axis CNC machines. Five-axis machining allowed for unparalleled precision and complexity in a design, as well as reduced the time to manufacture the 12 trophies. Laney College and other Bay Area community colleges offer training in these and other advanced manufacturing technologies. The advanced skills of the students and faculty in the colleges enable the Bay Area to continue being a lead innovator in engineering, manufacturing, and cleantech technologies.

At the awards ceremony on March 28, as recipients proudly accepted their trophies (and noticed the heft of the 5 pounds of aluminum!), they were not just receiving an award – they were receiving a symbol of excellence designed and crafted by the hands of skilled trades people in the region. This was a testament to the power of education and collaboration that happens in the East Bay – and served as a reminder of the vital role that technical education plays in driving innovation and economic growth in the entire Bay Area.

Special thanks to all those who made this happen: Steve Wiersema for his inspiration and sketches on the trophy design, Autodesk for providing the CAD software (Fusion) that is available to ALL educators for free, Hayward-based TCI Aluminum for their quick and efficient turnaround on supplying the aluminum stock needed for the trophies. And finally, to Laney student Scott McKinney, who took the CAD design and brought it into the real world.

And indeed, a picture (or video) is worth a thousand words, so check out the making of the trophy here.

To learn more about the Bay Area Community College’s manufacturing education and offerings, please contact Mark Martin at and visit their website. To view the East Bay Innovation Awards and trophies, check out the event gallery.

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