Fourteen-year-old Emmanuel Christian Oshitoye grew tired of breaking parts off the axles on his skateboards every month and paying up to $50 to replace them.
“I was thinking about it and thought, ‘We don’t need those pieces,’” said the Federal Way eighth-grader, who goes by Christian. “We could make it one solid piece.”
A Bothell company that designs cabin parts for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner liked his concept so much it helped Christian design a sturdier skateboard axle, called a truck, last summer.
The company, PCSI Design, made a plastic prototype of the truck and mounted it on a skateboard. Carlos Veliz, the firm’s chief executive officer, presented it to the skater at a Dec. 18 assembly at Lakota Middle School in Federal Way, where Christian is a student.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Christian, who turned 14 Sunday. “I never thought I would do something this big. This summer kind of changed the whole perspective of what I thought I was capable of.”
Christian’s effort also earned him an internship next summer at PCSI Design to refine the truck and create a finished version to test ride.
Veliz said his company wants to continue mentoring Christian with his design and ultimately manufacture the truck.
“He’ll be a very young designer producing his very first product,” Veliz said. “It’s phenomenal.”
Eleonor Oshitoye is proud of her son.
“I’ve always wanted when he had an idea to believe in it and push for it,” she said. “I just want him to see anything’s possible.”
Oshitoye knew Veliz and arranged for her son to meet with him last summer. Veliz was impressed.
“He’s a very sharp young man,” Veliz said. “He has a lot of vision.”
The company let him work in its offices last August, using a computer to design a new truck.
“I imagined taking out those bolts (from the trucks) and looking at it in my mind,” Christian said. PCSI employees gave him tips on using computer software. “If I got stuck, they would help me,” Christian said.
When he rides, Christian likes to tighten each of the two metal trucks on a skateboard for stability.
“We like them to stay firm,” Christian said. “When the board is wobbling too much, you can’t go down hills.”
A bolt surrounded by rubber bushings holds together the top of a conventional truck to its mount. When the truck is tightened too much, the bushings break and the bolt gets stripped.
“I just made it so there aren’t two pieces,” Christian said. “There’s just one full truck.”
But the plastic model needs more refining. For one thing, it’s too wide. That’s the job Christian will tackle next summer, hoping to turn a prototype into a product.