Students from the College of Textiles at N.C. State University networked with members of the marine industry during IBEX last week, the nation’s largest marine trade show. The topic was innovations in marine design and how young talent can provide fresh ideas for making boating more fun.

Three N.C. State students Morgan Green, Lauren Michelakis, and Caroline Cox attended the show with their practicum professor Nancy Webster, Paige Mullis, director of concept development at Glen Raven, and Bill McDaniel, marine market manager for Glen Raven. The students were the winners of a Marine Design Challenge sponsored by Glen Raven to encourage creative thinking and innovative new ideas for boat design.

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Marine products companies were eager to talk with the students to learn more about their ideas on how boating can be made more appealing, particularly to women, which are an important audience to influence relative to boat purchasing. Among the many marine leaders meeting with the students were Cindy Steele, design director/ national sales manager for Syntec Industries and Jeff Wysong, president of Lexington Seating.

In addition to conversations related to the Design Challenge, marine products companies discussed the possibility of future internships involving college students with the goal of bringing new ideas to the industry that will appeal to a new generation of boaters.

Nancy Webster was a recent guest in the Concept Gallery, and you can hear her comments about young talent in this interview.