College student paves the way for women embarking on 3-D printing career

MACOMB, Illinois -- A college student is breaking barriers - and a glass ceiling - by making things a new way.

Linnea Carr uses something called additive manufacturing, a method that's revolutionizing work for local businesses.

"In middle school, I was specifically told that I wasn't smart enough to do anything like this," Carr said.   Now she's turning discouraging words into motivation.  "The personality type I have, I was like, yeah, right, I'm going to do it."

Linnea Carr, WQAD photo

It's a career in additive manufacturing, better known as 3-D printing, and it's revolutionizing local methods.

Ossian Manufacturing is a family business in Davenport that specializes in ice melting technology that makes more quickly and cost-effective with 3-D printing.

It's already growing jobs at Genesis Health Systems Group in Davenport; the company added nearly 40 new jobs in 2017.

Virtual Solutions Engineer Travis Sample, age 29, says he works on multiple things per day, "agriculture, automotive, general industry, exercise equipment, for example, so it's just always something new and exciting."

3-D printing balances classes and career for Carr.  She divides time between Western Illinois University and the Quad City Manufacturing Lab.

Students working in Additive Manufacturing, WQAD photo

Eric Faierson with the Quad City Manufacturing Lab said that the students get hands-on experience operating a variety of equipment in the field.

"I go into classes seeing how this could help me in everyday life," Carr said, "where it's not so much of an abstract idea."

For Carr, it's more than a career.  She's breaking down stereotypes and helping to recruit more women and minorities into Western's program.

The Quad Cities Chamber is making additive manufacturing one of its key priorities.  It offers a group that meets up each month for anyone who's interested in learning about 3-D printing.

3-D Printing, WQAD photo

Coming up Thursday, October 26th there is an Industry 4.0 event at the Rock Island Arsenal where anyone either in the field or wanting to learn about the field can gather. Click here to register for the event