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President Obama's visit puts Boise State tech lab in spotlight

January 21, 2015View for printing

The Boise State University engineering lab that President Barack Obama will tour Wednesday has contributed to Idaho’s high-tech economy since 2001, helping local industries and entrepreneurs develop new products and bring them to market.

By Bill Dentzer

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Boise State University tech lab's secret: Turning bright ideas into business

"It's Idaho's best-kept secret."

After Wednesday, the secret will be out.

President Barack Obama will visit the lab Wednesday, and highlight its reach building businesses, training students and creating jobs.

Chuck Ceccarelli had an idea for how tow trucks could pull cars up an embankment by stringing towing line from the side of a truck.

He drew all the plans on his office floor, but couldn't figure out how to get it into a computer, where he could manipulate the design and improve production.

Ceccarelli went to the New Product Development Lab at Boise State University , part of TechHelp, which brings engineering students and businesses together to solve manufacturing design problems.

Together they figured out how to get the design loaded in the computer and streamline production.

Nine years later, Ceccarelli runs In the Ditch Towing Products in Mountain Home, a company with more than 50 employees that manufactures an array of towing accessories.


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