Name: Trans “RJ” Olpindo Lualhati
Graduation Year: Spring 2016
Major/Minor: ISBT (Integrated Science, Business and Technology), with a Biotechnology concentration
Current Job/Company: 3D Printing Materials Engineer, Trauma | Depuy Synthes
Can you tell me about Dashbot and how it started?
Dashbot is a 3D Printing and Prototyping company that started and was founded in my dorm (St. Basil’s) my fall semester of my Junior year (2014). I started the company because at that time I was at my lowest. I was not doing well in school and I had just gotten out of long term relationship with my then girlfriend. So my mind was not focused, nor was I motivated to do anything. But one thing kept me kind of on track, and that was ISBT and 3D printing. Dr. Weaver had showed me what a 3D printer was and some of its capabilities. My mind at the time became so wrapped up and obsessed with the machine that I bought 2 printers the next day and played with them and learned the ins and outs of it. With my research I found that only so much was being done with them. So I ventured out and found helpful and necessary things that could be printed out. I got into the automotive field because I was printing knobs and dashboard items for my car that were broken and were hard to find. Business innovation solutions and consulting was already strong skill of mine, so I made that into a division. Household items became a division because I was printing out door stops, spare command hooks, toothbrush holders and so much more in my dorm and found it as another cool and fun “need” in that market and also made it convenient for people in my dorm to grab what they needed from me since it was being made in house essentially. My medical division was my strongest division since it was my main passion to get into healthcare. With the formation of my company, I researched and developed more prototypes of prosthetics and anatomical models for learning purposes and that already took off since no one in Philadelphia was doing it. Also my concentration was biotechnology and for that reason I gave my whole self to helping those in need. The spring semester of my junior year is when I made headlines in Philadelphia and on campus when I made a 3D printed prosthetic hand for Chef James who is currently still a cook in the La Salle Union building. Because of this, La Salle took notice as to how we could further technology like 3D printing to assist students through education.
But in all, Dashbot is a holding company for my 4 divisions which include automotive prototyping, innovative business solutions, medical and anatomical prototypes and household needs. These 4 divisions became the top fields that 3d printing was growing in and I wanted to impact these markets with my designs, innovation plans and printed goods. Its been 3 years now and I am still active in 3 of the 4 fields.
The medical division I no longer hold within Dashbot due to conflict of interests with Depuy Synthes which is my current employer now. Essentially they brought me into the company because of my extensive knowledge in 3D printing and medical devices so it was best that I took my talents and focus to Depuy and not with Dashbot.
What made you decide to major in the ISBT program at La Salle?
What made me go into the ISBT program was because of its unique culture and rarity of the major. It is unique and rare at the same time because there only a few integrated programs that have science and business together in the US. Instead of double majoring in a specific science and specific form of business, the ISBT program gives you all of the sciences, and the necessary business tools to make you walk the walk, and talk the talk at the same time. My ability to not only showcase my passion through science, but when it comes down to making money and talking numbers, the ISBT program really instills the balance that some people cannot achieve.
How do you think La Salle helped prepare you for your career?
La Salle prepared me for my career by being the older sibling I never had. I use that reference because growing and learning at La Salle, I became independent and empowered without the constraints of being sheltered and watched over like a hawk. La Salle was always there to catch me when I fell when trying but always helped me up but never lead me by the hand. I did things with a purpose without anyone telling me what to do. But when I made mistakes and hit barriers, La Salle as whole was there to guide me but not hand things to me. I loved that feeling so much. Academically, the professors on campus were so open and became very close to me. Because of the small size of our campus, the student to teacher ratio was low, making it very easy for me to get a hold of any professor when I needed help. Unlike other institutions where the student to teacher ratio is so high, the relationship building aspect is lost and I knew that from seeing some of my other friends fail because they couldn’t get the necessary help they desired. At La Salle, I got then when I wanted and when I needed it.