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follow your dreams – even if involves a cheesy tie

February 21, 2012

For his age, he is on the small side.

If you saw him sitting on the bench in the office kitchen like I did, you probably wouldn’t think much of him. His crooked grin might just make you look at him long enough to wonder why a fifteen year old is wearing a tie. The yellow earth moving machines that make up the pattern on that tie seem like an unusual choice – until you get to know a little of his story. His journey to this day hasn’t been a smooth one. It is true to say however that without the care and persistence of one man, Dr Andrew King (his father in everything except the biological sense), he would not be here today.

When you ask Andrew to tell the story of the last fifteen years a change comes over him. While he will rub the back of his neck and tell you that there were many time he thought they would never see this day, he is clearly pleased and proud of what they have achieved together.

To get this far is a dream come true and they are not stopping there. A trip to Europe is on the cards for the next few months that will include a visit to Bologna. If someone had suggested a year or two back that it might be possible to take him overseas, I know Andrew would have smiled and said “Look, that would be nice but we are just taking it one day at a time. We have a few things to sort out so we’ll see …”.

He was right.

They were supposed to make the trip last year but it took them longer than expected to get the paperwork right.

He got it done.

Now the fifteen year old in the engineers boots and yellow tie is off to the children’s book fair in Bologna. The dreams don’t stop there though. There will be other trips overseas. Andrew plans to talk to a number of schools to see if they can find a place for him.

A long way to come for a bear that was conceived in a sand pit.

Nobody can remember the exact date he came into this world. Andrew’s eldest son was three at the time and, being an Engineer, Andrew started to tell his son stories about a bear who loved creating things.

Although that’s not telling the whole story.

The stories Andrew started to tell his son were about the process of creating things. Of trying and failing. Of trying again and failing again. Again and again and again – ten times over.  Of learning from each one of those failures and adapting your design. Of creating something that can solve our problems and make the world a better place. Of not giving up just because the first nine attempts failed to deliver what you had dreamed it would.

Early sketches of Engibear

Early sketches of Engibear

That first story was the beginning of Engibear* but it contains within it the whole story of Engibear. In the fifteen years since that first day in the sand pit the stories have grown and changed. The early sketches of Engibear are rough but they contain the essence of the bear he has become. The bearbots (you will have to buy the book to find out how they fit into the story) have developed and grown along with their creator through a process of trial and error.

There have been false starts, promising relationship, disappointments and thrilling developments.

Engibear in 3D along with the book cover.Through it all Andrew persisted, treating everything as a chance to learn and to improve but all the while staying true to his dream: To bring a character in the world who will share with kids his passion for the process of creating sustainable engineering solutions for the challenges we face.

It is a big dream and one day last week in an office kitchen in Brisbane I saw Engibear standing on his own two feet. Handmade, complete with the crooked grin, and only four inches high.

If you had seen him you probably wouldn’t have thought much of him. For those who know his story he is a source of inspiration and a wonderful example of how dreams can come true as long as you stay true to them.

There is even talk of him bringing out his own range of ties….

***

* ‘Engibear’ and ‘bearbots’ are the registered trademarks of Andrew King. Images  used with permission. If you would like to be one of the first to receive a copy of the first book in the Engibear series then shoot me an email using the Contact Me page and I will put you in contact with Andrew.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Megan permalink
    February 21, 2012 6:39 am

    It is wonderful to see just a little of Andrew and Engibear’s story. One to expand on over a coffee (or a beer).

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