14 Aug Commitment to Environment and Community Keeps Key Tech in the “Eye-con” Business.
We’ve Only Got Eyes For You! Key Tech outfits yet another trash wheel with iconic peepers.
Baltimore’s iconic family of “Trash Wheels” steals the hearts of its locals and visitors. More importantly, the Wheel’s environmental impact surpasses their entertainment and PR impact by, literally, truckloads. Truckloads of trash. When placed at the end of a stream or a storm drain outfall, water wheels can keep hundreds of tons of trash out of urban waterways using only renewable power.1
Captain Trash Wheel is the third “Wheel” to call the Baltimore area its home, and the third recipient of Key Tech’s fabricated character “extras.” He sits at the mouth of Masonville Cove, Baltimore, and is the most recent Waterwheel family member, thanks to Masonville Cove Partners: Maryland Port Administration (MPA), Maryland Environmental Services (MES), Living Classrooms, and the National Aquarium. Not only do the trash wheels keep the harbor clean, they educate kids on the importance of environmental conservation.
Masonville Cove Partners contracted with the same builders of the first two waterwheels, and connected with Key Tech as the donor, fabricator and installer of the now iconic googly eyes as well as the Captain’s unique “helm” wheel. Key Tech, through the efforts of its VP of Operations, Keith Lipford, designed and fabricated the Captain’s ships’ wheel and googly eyes, which help to give the Captain a special personality.
The Cove installation – one long day of labor in June, was performed by Keith and another Key Tech employee, Jonathan Reed, Mechanical Engineer. Equipped with a new set of eyes and a ships’ wheel, Captain Trash Wheel can see (ornamentally at least) and control his course on his new ships’ wheel. With aesthetics and character elements designed to warm the heart and grab your attention, the community is increasingly becoming more aware of the importance the trash wheels play in preventing ecologically damaging and unsightly trash from getting into Baltimore’s beautiful harbor.
“You have performed a true public service in helping MDOT-MPA, the Waterfront Partnership and others bring the Trash Wheels to life and raise awareness with the public about the importance of not only getting trash out of the Harbor,
but keeping it out in the first place.”
Chris Correale, Director, Harbor Development, Maryland Port Administration
In May 2014 the Waterfront Partnership installed the first Water Wheel trash interceptor at the end of the Jones Falls in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Since then it has collected over 500 tons of trash and debris using only hydro and solar power. It’s become famous around the world and even has its own Twitter account where it tweets as “Mr. Trash Wheel”.2
Key Tech became involved with the first of the Trash Wheels, officially called the Inner Harbor Water Wheel, in 2015. The Waterfront Partnership engaged with Key Tech in order to bring personality to the water wheel, where Key Tech contributed a more robust pair of permanent eyes as well as the addition of nighttime lighting. As the showcase location, Mr. Trash Wheel has high visibility in the heart of the Inner Harbor, and the Waterfront Partnership wanted to make him an appealing as well as functional attraction. The eyes and the lights accomplished this goal.
A second trash wheel, the Canton Trash Wheel, affectionately called “Professor Trash Wheel”, was installed in the Harris Creek outfall in Canton, Baltimore, complete with a set of Key Tech, Inc. googly eyes of the female variety. The Mayor was at the unveiling of Professor Trash Wheel and Key Tech got a plaque and verbal recognition.
“Understanding the technology and the potential benefit to cleaning up the inner harbor, I wanted to help in any way possible,” Keith Lipford, Key Tech VP of Operations, “it was a very rewarding experience.”
Key Tech recognizes the environmental and educational importance of the trash wheels and donates time and money to help with efforts to make people more aware of their impact. With over 300 hours given to the projects, and a notable investment in materials, it’s not a small torch to carry, but one that is professionally and personally fulfilling.
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