Koby Pack, recent graduate of Weber High School, got interested in 3D printing when he was 14. This wasn’t a passing phase — he saved up $900 and bought an actual 3D printer.
“That was a pretty big deal for me at the time,” Pack said, “to spend that much money on something.” When it arrived, he kept it at home and started building things with it.
Fast forward to early July, shortly after his high school graduation, and Pack was making a sales pitch to business professionals, convincing them to buy the same 3D printer he’d purchased years before.
Pack’s pitch was part of the sales presentation competition at the 2019 National Leadership Conference of the Future Business Leaders of America, an organization with clubs in high schools across the country.
About 9,200 students participate in this conference each year, according to FBLA’s website.
Pack wasn’t able to transport his 3D printer to the national contest in San Antonio, but he brought along several products he’d made with the printer to use at his sales presentation.
He was up against about 100 other students from across the country in the sales presentation category. They had advanced from state competitions to the national contest.
Pack made it out of the first round of national contestants to the final round, which involved 16 finalists, who all gave their presentations a second time.
His pitch to buy the printer? This brand of printer, Robo 3D, makes 3D printing accessible to everyone.
“They’re probably one of the first affordable, consumer-based 3D printers. Before then, it was all really DIY. If you wanted a 3D printer, you’d have to buy a box of parts from China, and you’d have to do coding yourself, and you’d have to build it all yourself, and it wouldn’t really work,” Pack said. “You really had to be knowledgeable.
“What Robo 3D did, and one of their main selling points is ... you pull it out of the box, plug it in, and it just runs — it runs more like a paper printer that people are familiar with ... that was one of the main platforms that I used in my sales presentation to sell people on the idea that ‘hey, anybody can get into 3D printing now — you don’t have to have all this technical know-how anymore, we’ve made a machine that’s just as reliable as an ink-jet printer.’”
“I was able to watch Koby’s final presentation, and he’s just the ultimate professional. He just had it down ... smooth as silk. I was so proud of him,” said Alan Rawlins, Koby’s FBLA advisor at Weber High.
Rawlins said that immediately following Koby’s presentation, he thought Koby was in the top five, if not the winner of the competition.
Pack was well prepared with background knowledge in 3D printing.
Besides tinkering with his personal 3D printer, Pack had done an internship through Weber School District with WhiteClouds, a company located in Business Depot Ogden. At the time Pack was interning there, it was the “largest full-color 3D printing facility in the world,” he said.
Pack had also reached out to the CEO of Robo 3D, who got back to him the next day and offered the company’s help with his presentation. Pack was able to work with their marketing team to prepare for his big pitch.
Robo 3D even offered to provide him with a new printer to use at the presentation, but logistics prevented Pack from taking them up on the offer.
Pack said the biggest thing he gained from this experience and his time in FBLA was confidence.
“I was kind of aimless beforehand ... I didn’t really know what I was good at,” Pack said. “I kind of just thought I was just your ... average Joe, wasn’t really good at anything, but being in FBLA just built my self-confidence ... ‘hey, you can do business and this is something that you’re good at and that you like.’ It kind of just opened the door to something that I do want to pursue.”
He also said that he wouldn’t have had this success without his advisor, Alan Rawlins.
“If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if I would have joined FBLA ... he almost recruited me,” Pack said. “I felt pretty special. He just took me under his wing. He’s one of the greatest teacher ever, just super, super supportive if you needed anything.”
Pack participated in FBLA during all three years at Weber High and his freshman year at Snowcrest Junior High. He was Weber High’s Sterling Scholar in business and marketing, and a state runner up in that category.
Pack leaves in August to serve a mission in Atlanta for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Afterward, he’s interested in pursuing both engineering and business degrees, but he’ll take the next couple of years to decide between University of Utah, BYU and Utah State.
Rawlins said he couldn’t be happier for Pack.
“Numerous people have said this to me, and I agree with them,” Rawlins said, “I cannot think of a more deserving kid than Koby Pack to have this happen to ... it could not have happened to a better kid.”