Hayes Hegemier is a local high school student at Western Albemarle. This past April, Hayes competed in and won the Tom Tom Youth Summit Festival for young entrepreneurs with his company, Hayes Elements.
Hayes Elements creates personalized, custom, 3D printed bike components for mountain bikers of all ages. Hayes purchased his first 3D printer a few years ago and started teaching himself CAD design from reading and watching videos online. "I started designing mudguards when I saw that a few of my friends made their own out of a two-liter bottle," Hayes explains. "I thought it would be really cool if I could make personalized mudguards for my friends and me."
Hayes entered the Tom Tom competition after being encouraged by one of his high school teachers, Ms. Padron. Hayes knew a little bit about business and pitching from his entrepreneurship class, but said the whole Tom Tom experience was new to him. "I was not expecting to win at all, but I am super happy that I did it and that Ms. Padron convinced me to do it. Otherwise, I would have never been in the i.Lab and met all of the cool people who are a part of the program," Hayes says.
Hayes and his two siblings live in Free Union, Virginia and love to build mountain bike trails around their house. While Hayes is extremely passionate about mountain biking, he is also interested in the technology side of the bike industry. "When I figured out that I could 3D print cool looking mudguards, I got really excited," Hayes explains. Right now, a few of Hayes' friends and family are test riding with his mudguards and giving him feedback on how to make the design better. One of Hayes' friends is racing at the Mountain Bike Nationals in Winter Park, Colorado with one of his designs.
3D printing can be a tedious process, and the machines are complicated. Hayes has dealt with his fair share of machinery malfunctions, but he is usually able to fix them himself by rebuilding the machine. One time, when Hayes' printer broke, he was able to temporarily fix it just enough to 3D print his own replacement part for his machine and repair it.
This summer, Hayes is working on finding new materials and ways to print that will enhance his design. He is also creating a website that allows customers to purchase and customize mudguards online. Hayes wants to sell his products to whole teams that can be personalized to their school's colors and mascot in the future.