Meet CCAD Outstanding Senior Jake LaBombarbe

May 10th, 2012 by Katlin McNally
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2012 Outstanding Senior Jake LaBombarbe

At the end of the academic year, CCAD deans present the Outstanding Senior for their divisions. Today, in part nine of our 10-part series, meet Industrial Design major Jake LaBombarbe.

Q) What was your proudest achievement while at CCAD?

A) I have a lot of moments and awards I am proud of. Other then this award it would probably be my current internship at Concept Engineering; I got that based on reputation alone. Another proud moment was placing in the Akro-Mils competition. That design competition was the first time I was able to push more than one idea at a time, and it was the first time I was paid to do Industrial Design. Both of my proposals for the competition were based on shelving designs—one was at a 30-degree angle so you could see what would be placed on the shelf, and the other was the style of a garage door, where you could pull down and cover the shelving racks when needed.

Q) What scared you the most while you were at CCAD?

A) I was scared before I even got here. I was studying sculpture at the University of Toledo and I was 25 hours away from graduation when I decided to come to CCAD. My whole purpose studying at Toledo was so I could build my portfolio to apply to art school and study Industrial Design. I chose CCAD because of their partnership with Hasbro and their great reputation, but it was definitely intimidating to come here.

Q) What are your plans after graduation?

A) I just got an amazing job offer that I am really excited about. I can’t share the details now since all the paperwork needs to be signed, but it has been killing me trying to keep it a secret.

Q) What’s your ultimate dream job or goal?

A) I want to go back and get my master’s, which I will probably work on while I am working full time. Having the teachers that I had here at CCAD convinced me that I would love to be able to teach Industrial Design down the road. I loved being able to help freshmen and sophomores when I was a senior. They had these itty-bitty parts, and I was able to help them flesh out a large project and fully developed idea. I would also love to be able to freelance toy designs, that is a hobby of mine.

Q) Why is it important as an alumnus to give back to CCAD?

A) The amount of help given to me during my time here makes me feel obligated, and I want to give back. I got a lot of financial help and assistance from the faculty as a student, and I want to extend that help to future students. The school was also there for me emotionally during my sister’s passing; they allowed me to take off a semester and come back right where I left. The school has made such an impact in my life that I want to come back and help do the same for someone else.

Q) Do you remember a single point that made you sit back and say, “This is why I am doing this?”

A) It was during one of my final projects, which is actually the centerpiece of my portfolio. I designed a web camera called the “Wubbagoo.” It is a small figurine of a guy whose eye is a webcam, and he is holding a magnifying glass up to his eye. It seemed like all the factors for that project came together smoothly. I realized I was good at this and I needed to keep doing it.

Q) What smell, word, or whatever will always remind you of your time as a student?

A) The smell of Bondo. The smell of Bondo equals the smell of Industrial Design.

Q) What will you miss the most?

A) My classmates. I made some great friends while here and I know we will all keep in touch. They say that when you are in Industrial Design your classmates will be your competition, but it never felt like that. Everyone had their highs and lows, and everyone was also there for each other. It is a really tight group of people.

LaBombarbe's "Wubbagoo" webcam design

Q) If you can describe what graduating feels like in one word or sentence what would it be?

A) Relief.

Q) What was your favorite class at CCAD?

A) Structural Design with Justin Martini. The class used to be a required foundation course, and he would teach you the meticulous details of design. You would sit there with rulers, paper, and pencil, and he would say to you, “you will probably never do this again in Industrial Design and will do everything with FreeHand [software], but you need to know the foundations of what you are studying.” He was the first teacher that really left a permanent mark on me. I still pop into his classroom to ask him how he is doing.

Q) What did you like to do during your free time?

A) I enjoy cooking. I was actually a chef for close to 10 years before coming to CCAD. I went the Anthony Bourdain route and worked as a dishwasher and worked my way up to head of kitchen. My fiance Stacey and I love to go out and do different things when our schedules permit it. But I love everything about Industrial Design—I will often design and do my own personal artwork when I have time.

Q) What is your fondest memory at CCAD?

A) At the end of last semester my classmates and I all went out to Tip Top to celebrate. It was the first time everyone in Industrial Design came out, and we took up multiple tables. It was a nice, family kind of feeling to be surrounded by these people and relax.

Q) What would you change about your undergraduate career?

A) I would have finished my degree at Toledo before coming here. I was in such a rush to get started, but I missed the opportunity to have two bachelor’s degrees.

Q) What is your advice to future CCAD students?

A) When you become a senior, remember where you were as a sophomore. I help out whenever I can, and I think it is important to pay it back. Pay back all the advice and help you received when you were starting out. Another important thing in life is to be yourself…unless you can be Batman, then be Batman.


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