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Industrial Design Student Wins Joseph Withers Scholarship Award

Posted February 3, 2014 in StudentIndustrial Design

Continuing a partnership that has strengthened design in West Michigan since 1993, Belwith Products and Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University (KCAD) are pleased to announce Wes Keely as the recipient of the 2013-2014 Joseph Withers Scholarship Award.

Wes Keely

The scholarship was established to honor Joseph W. Withers for his years of valuable service as President of Keeler Brass, a decorative hardware company with a rich heritage of forward-thinking design that dates back to 1893 and continues today alongside the other industry-leading brands operated by Belwith Products. The award is given annually to an outstanding KCAD junior or senior in the Furniture Design, Industrial Design, or Interior Design programs who demonstrates exceptional merit both in and out of the classroom.

A 20-year veteran of the music industry who’s toured the world over, Keely now joins the long list of Withers Scholars because he’s making even more noise as a student. How? As a junior Industrial Design major with a passion for entrepreneurship, he works every single day to nurture community among his fellow designers.

Last year, Keely founded the KCAD Entrepreneurial Group to provide student entrepreneurs with a forum for collaboration and development. Through KCAD’s Student Mentor program, he provides guidance and support to new students as they acclimate to the College’s bustling ecosystem. He also works in KCAD’s state-of-the-art FlexLab, assisting students with 3D printing and laser cutting, and has been tasked by administrators with creating a curriculum for the Continuing Studies Program that engages youth learners in design thinking.

“Wes is the kind of student who is going to be a distinguished alumni the moment he graduates,” said Sandy Britton, Dean of Student Success and Chair of the KCAD Scholarship Committee. “He’s someone who’s going to give back to his community always.”

That’s because Keely believes firmly in helping others find the kinds of opportunities that have been offered to him. Using $5000 in seed funding from StartGarden, he developed KBrakes, a stabilizer for kick drums, from an idea into an innovative product that’s been featured in the world’s largest drumming magazine, Modern Drummer, and adapted by UK-based company Serenity Custom Drums for use on every kit they sell. Now, thanks to the support of Belwith Products, a company that continues to drive innovation in West Michigan, Keely can continue designing his dreams while helping others do the same.

“If you’re active in your community, it’s not just you versus the world,” said Keely. “All these people that you’ve now established relationships with can help you on your journey towards doing what you want to do.”