AKRON—Will Mars' biggest ideas used to be held together with nuts and bolts, electrical tape and maybe even a little Super Glue.
In those days—his earliest days of innovation—inspiration was welded into place. Ingenuity clicked together with Legos. Because making, doing, building, problem-solving is who he is.
It's what he's aways done.
And it was all of that—the science and math and let's-figure-it-out—that helped to define his childhood. For as long as he could remember, he wanted to be an engineer.
Maybe, he thought, he'd make a career in electrical engineering like his father. Or perhaps he'd follow the footsteps of a family friend and pursue mechanical engineering. He did, after all, adore aerospace with its planes and rockets and air ships.
All he knew was that he wanted to build something. Make something. Something that would make an impact.
Growing up in Northeast Ohio as the oldest of 10 children, Mars found plenty of time to test his great, big engineering ideas. Take for instance, the upcycled tricycle he and siblings once designed.
"Somehow we had a pile of old bicycles in our yard and my dad had a welder," Mars said. "One time we took a bunch of the bikes and welded them all together into a huge thing with three wheels and lots of bike frames holding it all together.
"We actually went on the road with it," Mars said with a laugh. "It was a multi-person vehicle. It had three people—you had a steering person and you had two pedaling people in the back. It was sort of a tricycle-type of configuration."