While COVID-19 has presented its share of challenges, for recent TFS graduate Noah Langbo, it also gave him the unique opportunity to combine two of his greatest passions一science and service.
Last spring, Noah was brainstorming with his father Keith, founder and CEO of talent acquisition and advisory firm Kelaca, about the company’s return-to-work plan.
“My dad wanted to buy protective shields to use between work desks, but it was hard to find the right size – and the ones that were the right size weren’t particularly stable,” Noah says. “So I decided to go to Home Depot, look at different materials and design something myself.”
After some tinkering, Noah selected an acrylic material – LEXAN Polycarbonate – that is virtually unbreakable and extremely durable, and developed protective shields which can easily be transported, set up with no assembly required, and used on a variety of work surfaces such as desks and conference tables. The shields are easy to clean, can be made in custom sizes and even have space to run cords underneath the stands.
And while Noah is no stranger to design – he laughs about the dozens of lego sets he still has in storage – this is the first product he’s developed from conception to market. Through the process, he learned first-hand the challenges many business owners face.
“I had to deal with competitors, learn the difference between net and gross profit, and also work through logistical issues like sourcing material and figuring out the best manner to transport it,” he says.
He credits his time at TFS, which he attended from first grade until his graduation in May, for giving him the curiosity and confidence to explore his passions. In addition to participating in the school’s National Junior Honor Society and Student Council, he also was encouraged by his science teachers, Mrs. Harrington and Mrs. Moser, to participate in programs like Science Olympiad. His biology project “Distraction/Reaction” earned him the chance to compete with students across the state as part of the NC State Science Fair in 2020.
“TFS gave me so many opportunities to encourage my love of science and I tried to take advantage of all of them. Our amazing science classes introduced me to the scientific method and walked me through the STEM design process, and the interactive labs gave me the opportunity to see how you can use science in real life,” Noah explains. “Beyond that, TFS and my teachers and principals did so much to enrich my faith and encourage me to use my gifts to help others.”
His protective shields will be used at TFS next year, and Noah has committed for every 10 shields sold, he will donate one to a local non-profit organization.
Michael Watson, TFS principal, is not surprised to see Noah use his strengths to bless others.
“Noah has always been the first to volunteer to help out and has always been a great representative of the school and our students”, says Mr. Watson. “From our Open Houses, where he acted as a tour guide for prospective families, to his leadership on student council, where he often brought forward proposals for student service, Noah has been a terrific person to work with at the school. His new venture is perfect for him一combining his love of science and design, with his outgoing personality and entrepreneurial spirit.”
This fall, Noah will begin high school at Raleigh Charter, after which he hopes to attend college to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering or pre-medicine. Whatever he does, he hopes that he can use his interests and abilities to serve others around him.