MyNorth News Service

(Press Release provided by Baker College)

CADILLAC: Baker College of Cadillac students in the computer aided design (CAD) program are angling to help a Manistee County inventor bring his patent-pending fishing rod holder to market and netting real-world experience in their classroom along the way.

Mark Chmura has spent two years designing and prototyping a fishing rod holder and has been working with the Alliance for Economic Success (AES) for a business plan. When more manufacturing information was needed, they turned to Baker College.

Students in instructor Tom Carrington’s SOLIDWORKS course this quarter will reverse engineer the rod holder, model it and provide recommendations concerning scaled manufacturing to achieve ideal production costs.

“Students will also assess design and part alternatives that may better meet product and production goals.” Carrington said. “This type of analysis is what CAD professionals provide for manufacturers, so students are learning skills that they will be able to apply to their jobs after graduation.”

Carrington also hopes that the class will identify companies in the Manistee-Wexford region that have an interest in manufacturing the holder.

Betsy Evans, AES business development director, said, “We are extremely pleased that Baker College accepted this project. We’re looking to them for specific plans to create a prototype that can be put through a rigorous production analysis, ensuring the rod holder is engineered to support its claims. And, we need assurance that manufacturing costs will enable a reasonable market position and that its design is scalable as sales increase. The involvement by the students will help move Mark’s invention one step closer to becoming a product that can be sold worldwide.”

Chmura claims that his fishing rod holder can be easily shifted to 1,000 positions with one hand and that anglers can remove a rod from it effortlessly, with or without a fish attached. He sees great potential for the rod holder, citing that boats on the Great Lakes for anglers seeking salmon and trout often have 20 or more rod holders, most of which currently have challenges involving use and durability.

Chmura operates Pier Pressure Charters and Guide Service on Lake Michigan, is a fisherman himself, having won a number of fishing tournaments, and represents a number of fishing equipment and tackle manufacturers.

Mark Lagerwey, Baker College of Cadillac dean of business and technology, said, “Baker College has a long-standing tradition of offering real-world experiences—in and outside the classroom—to students in all of our programs to ensure they have the tools to succeed when they receive their diplomas.

“This partnership with Mark Chmura and AES is an excellent example of a project that our students will be able to add to their resumes. This is helping them to become job-ready.” (Watch a video about the project.)

For more information about the computer aided design program at Baker College of Cadillac, contact Audrey Charmoli in the admissions office at 231.876.3100 or

About AES:

As a full-service economic development organization servicing Manistee County and surrounding areas, AES works collaboratively with all businesses, governments and community organizations. Assistance is available for all business sectors (industry, service, small and medium businesses, agriculture, etc.), municipalities and community organizations to support and promote activities that drive economic growth, while balancing and preserving quality of life. For more information, visit

About Baker College:

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It serves more than 28,000 students on multiple campuses and online. Baker grants certificates and associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in more than 150 programs across diverse academic fields, including business, health sciences, engineering, information technology, education and human services. An impressive 97 percent of available graduates are employed. Every Baker graduate receives Lifetime Employment Assistance—free and forever. Baker is a pioneer in online education and offers students the option of completing a degree 100 percent online, without ever visiting a campus. For information, visit or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook,