Skip to Main Content

Fail Early. Fail Often.

Friday, February 15
Noon – 1:00 PM
RUCH 103

Our culture tells us that failure should be avoided at all costs. But failure should be embraced by innovators as a way to try new things and learn from those that don’t work out. Every time something doesn’t give us the results we want, it’s also an opportunity to learn and problem-solve.

Engineers who engage in problem solving activities have many directions they can pursue. The sooner they eliminate the unproductive ones and explore the options within the remaining avenues, the more time and money they save.

Join us to hear from local engineers on the projects they’ve worked on where failure played a big role in how they succeeded.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Thomas A. Edison

Originating from Silicon Valley and its ocean of start-ups, the real aim of “fail fast, fail often,” is not to fail, but to be iterative. To succeed, we must be open to failure—sure—but the intention is to ensure we are learning from our mistakes as we tweak, reset, and then redo if necessary.

Dan Pontefract, The Foolishness Of Fail Fast, Fail Often


Photo of Dave Schenker

Dave Schenker

Co-owner, Versus, LLC and Delta Vehicle Systems, LLC, CEO Greenspeed Research

From Idaho’s Wood River Valley, Dave brings a custom building & metalworking background. With a formal Mechanical Engineering education, he is a builder of race vehicles and holds the World Record for Fastest Landspeed of a Vegetable Oil Powered Vehicle at 209.091mph and fastest C-engine Diesel Truck at 219.411mph. He is a respected leader who donates time to development of STEM learning opportunities for the next generation of engineering students.

Rich reavis

Rich Reavis, P.E.

Director of Engineering, Hardware Systems, Black Box VR

An Idaho native, Rich proudly describes himself as a “nerd-lete,” enjoying all things sports and tech from an early age. Rich has served in various leading technical and business development roles across multiple industries since graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Boise State University. Rich joined Black Box VR in 2017 and serves on the executive team as the Director of Engineering, responsible for product development/design, manufacturing operations, and procurement for mechanical and electrical hardware systems. He also serves as an active member for the Idaho Virtual Reality Council (IVRC) and contributing writer for Virtual Reality Fitness Insider (VRFI). As an active BSU alumnus, he is currently serving as a Member at Large for the BSU COEN Alumni Chapter.

photo of Tony Clark

Tony Clark

Area Lead Mechanical Engineer, POWER Engineers

After completing his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at University of Missouri at Rolla, he joined Siemens Power Generation as a Field Service Engineer repairing gas turbines, steam turbines and generators. Tony joined POWER Engineers when he moved to Boise in 2008 where he has worked in thermal power plant design projects including gas turbine, combined cycle, biomass, geothermal, and solar thermal technologies.

Ben Blaine

Director of Mechanical Engineering, VersaBuilt

Together with my former partners at House of Design and the owners of Rekluse Motorsports, we co-founded VersaBuilt in 2013, creating a patented robotics and CNC solution called MultiGrip. This technology has been applied to multiple robotic solutions, including the VBX-160 with ABB and Fanuc robots, plus a newly released product platform for Universal Robotics. Currently, I direct a team of mechanical engineers, machinists, plus a videographer and a technical writer to develop new products and customer solutions for VersaBuilt. My background is in Mechanical Engineering with experience in Medical Device design & development, Machine Design, and Industrial Robotics.

Ed Zimmer

Associate Director, Boise State University Venture College

Ed retired as CEO of ECCO Group in October 2009 after a twenty-four year career, where the company grew from twenty employees to the world’s largest manufacturer of warning lights and reversing alarms with over 500 employees and plants in Boise, England and Australia. Before joining ECCO he served as the Olympic Coordinator for USA Gymnastics and as Head Gymnastics coach at the University of Washington and Boise State. Ed has served as a director for the Boise State Foundation, Foothills School, Bishop Kelly HS, St Luke’s, Ballet Idaho, Boise Area Chamber of Commerce, and other local and national non-profits.  He chaired the capital campaign to build the Idaho Anne Frank Memorial in Boise, was a founding director of the Idaho Human Rights Education Center, and is a docent at the Anne Frank Memorial. He has degrees from Miami-Dade College and the University of Illinois-Chicago. He currently divides his time between the Venture College and Blac-Rac Manufacturing, a local start-up.  Ed and his wife, Amy, have two children and live in Boise. 

Watch the video