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NFL turns to Sun Devil for Super Bowl paint job

ASU's field painter is off to paint the Super Bowl field — for the 22nd time.
January 18, 2017

ASU facilities manager has painted the field for every NFL title game since 1996

With a little paint and a lot of footsteps, Peter Wozniak transforms a patch of green grass into a maroon-and-gold emblem that incites thousands of football fans.

Wozniak is in charge of painting the field at Sun Devil Stadium — a job he has done since he was student worker in the late 1980s.

And while creating 70-foot pitchforks is still a joy, he has been gratified to have his work displayed on the biggest football stage of all — the Super Bowl.

Wozniak leaves this week to begin painting the field at NRG Stadium in Houston for the Super Bowl, which will be his 22nd time working the big game. His efforts will be seen by more than 160 million people around the world when the game is broadcast Feb. 5.

Wozniak, the athletic facilities maintenance manager at ASU, has painted the field for every NFL championship since the 1996 Super BowlThe Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-17, and Diana Ross performed at halftime., which was held at Sun Devil Stadium. Brian Johnson, ASU’s athletic grounds facilities manager, has worked with Wozniak at most of them.

The 1996 Super Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe was the first time Pete Wozniak painted a Super Bowl field, and he has been doing it ever since. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals

“Super Bowl 30 at Sun Devil Stadium was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I was fortunate to be asked to do more,” Wozniak said. “We just keep the work ethic and don’t take it for granted. It’s great to represent ASU nationally.”

It takes three weeks for Wozniak and his team to organize the three trailers full of equipment and then paint not only the main field, but all the practice fields and rain covers as well as sites for the NFL Experience, the fan festival held during Super Bowl week. They typically work 70-hour weeks leading up to the game, and have to accommodate many hours of rehearsals by the halftime performers.

“They actually have 30 to 40 hours during game week doing their rehearsal, while each team only gets one hour the day before the game,” Wozniak said. “It’s kind of ironic. You’re there to play the game, but the halftime is its own event.”

Weather is sometimes a challenge. Wozniak’s team had to deal with snowy conditions at the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

“We worked on the end zones in big heated tents,” he said. “We had to bring our paint machines into the tents because the paint was freezing. We blew and shoveled and plowed the snow so they could practice.”

The cold wasn’t unfamiliar, as Wozniak is originally from New York, transferring to ASU as a student in 1986.

“I signed on to work T-shirt security. And I was looking for more work, and I got more hours to do this,” he said of field painting. “It was a fun job, and you could see the results of your work every day.”

He stayed on after graduating, and now painting the field is a tiny — but glamorous — part of what he does. 

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

“Right now, I have students packing clay at the softball field, but that’s not as exciting as painting the football field,” said Wozniak, who is in charge of the stadium, the practice fields and the soccer, lacrosse, wrestling and softball facilities.

The summer after he painted the field for the 1996 Super Bowl, the NFL asked Wozniak to go to Monterrey, Mexico, to do the field for a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Dallas Cowboys. That led to jobs at the subsequent Super Bowls and dozens more international games. He has traveled to Mexico City, Tokyo, Sydney and London.

Not too much has changed over the years.

“The football field still has white lines, numbers, hash marks. We do more branding now,” said Wozniak, who grids out the end-zone designs on graph paper.

“We’ve learned ways to make our jobs easier — what type of paint to use, painting tips and the sequence of events, so we’re more efficient,” he said.

“It requires a steady hand and patience. You can’t be rushed when you do it.”

Wozniak said that because he has more people and more time, he’ll get to be more precise with the Super Bowl field design. But otherwise, it’s similar to painting the pitchfork at Sun Devil Stadium.

“With either one, we want it to be perfect.”

Top photo: Pete Wozniak paints the pitchfork on the field at Sun Devil Stadium. He painted the field when the Super Bowl was held at Sun Devil Stadium in 1996 and has done the Super Bowl fields every year since. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


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ASU partners with industry for manufacturing research innovation

New ASU hub is largest additive manufacturing research facility in Southwest.
January 18, 2017

New hub's $2 million in cutting-edge 3-D printing equipment will allow students to stay on forefront of rapidly growing sector

As 3-D printing evolves, the field of manufacturing is experiencing a paradigm shift through additive manufacturing — producing parts layer by layer via computer control.

To stay competitive at the forefront of this industry, Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering has launched the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub.

Located on the Polytechnic campusThe Polytechnic campus is home to the Polytechnic School, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering., which is home to the Polytechnic School, one of the six Fulton Schools, the 15,000-square-foot space is the largest additive manufacturing research facility in the Southwest.

It boasts $2 million in cutting-edge plastic, polymer and metal 3-D printing equipment along with advanced processing and analysis capabilities to allow students, faculty and industry partners to stay on the forefront of the rapidly growing additive manufacturing sector.

“This facility is a culmination of the kinds of energy and ideas that we think are important to driving a very modern educational experience and doing very creative things in research,” Dean Kyle Squires said at the launch event Wednesday.

Honeywell Aerospace, Concept Laser Inc., Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies Inc. (PADT) and Stratasys Ltd. partnered with the Fulton Schools to establish the Hub.

Visitors from industry, education and business were invited to tour the space and see student demonstrations of projects and research.

“This space was designed to bring together all of you — our industry partners, our community partners, our students, faculty and staff — to work on ideas, to share ideas, to develop solutions in interdisciplinary and meaningful and creative ways,” Polytechnic School Director Ann McKenna said.

McKenna said the concept of a hub is indicative of the energy, collaboration, excitement and fun of bringing people together to solve problems.

3-D-printed pitchforks rest on a table

Students created 3-D printed ASU pitchforks with the equipment in the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub for the visitors at the grand opening Wednesday. Photo by Jessica Hochreiter/ASU

“I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be alive in manufacturing than today and tomorrow,” said John Murray, president and CEO of Concept Laser Inc., which was recently acquired by General Electric. “As I look at the forecast, it’s 10 times out of the gate — 10 times the amount of business, the number of machines, the research and development — everything is accelerating at a pace that’s really hard to imagine.”

Murray said Concept Laser is excited to connect with ASU students in order to find the talented people industry partners need as the field grows.

“We are just scouring the Earth trying to find talented engineers, technicians and materials science people who can really bring a lot of vision and help this technology expand,” Murray said. “Education is an absolute cornerstone to this entire industry and its ability to expand, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

Don Godfrey, Engineering Fellow-Additive Manufacturing at Honeywell, recounted the experiences his company has had working with “brilliant young minds” at ASU. Honeywell is a long-time partner to the Polytechnic School, having sponsored many eProjects, in which student teams work on real-world problems presented by industry.

They’re also working with four students who have been able to reduce the weight of a bracket by 50 percent. In another capstone project, students are helping to develop a new alloy for additive manufacturing. Students are working on increasing understanding of the alloy, and the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub will soon begin to make parts with it. What they learn will be part of a million-dollar contract to kick-start Honeywell’s Czech Republic program.

PADT co-founder Rey Chu benefitted from long-standing industry partnerships with the university as a proud graduate of ASU with a master’s in manufacturing.

“I received a wonderful education that gave me the foundation that allowed me to have a very prosperous and successful career for the past 30 years,” Chu said. “I was able to go into the workplace and take all my research work that I’ve done and contribute from Day 1. From a personal perspective, this industry and university collaboration will really benefit students and give them a really good foundation to allow them to find a good career going forward and benefit industry.”

“Education is an absolute cornerstone to this entire industry and its ability to expand, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
— John Murray, president and CEO of Concept Laser

There are many more opportunities for the university and the Polytechnic School in particular to partner with local industry in manufacturing.

“We have a lot of very prominent manufacturers in the state of Arizona, but beneath that are upwards of 4,500 small- to medium-size manufacturing companies who need the workforce and who need the talent that we’re trying to create,” said Malcolm Green, associate director of corporate engagement at the Fulton Schools.

“We invite businesses who have not yet participated [as a partner with the Polytechnic School] to join our cause: participate by hiring a student, participate in the student projects in our eProject programs, participate through internships and participate through mentoring — we all wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have strong mentors in our lives.”

Assistant professor Keng Hsu has also been instrumental in this effort as the director of the Additive Manufacturing Center within the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub.

“He’s done a fantastic job of creating a program that’s feeding the pipeline for the employers, and we’re very appreciative of everything that he’s doing,” Green said.

Squires notes that the Fulton Schools will soon be the largest producer of talent at all degree levels along with the largest college of engineering in the country.

“To maintain that status, we’ve got to have the kinds of tools, technologies and people that draw industry to the table,” Squires said. “This facility has the tools and techniques that will advance our educational programs.”

The Polytechnic School is a natural home for this type of center, as the home of the only manufacturing undergraduate degree program in Arizona and one of only 22 ABET-accredited manufacturing engineering programs in the country.

“The Polytechnic School is a school of all things technological with humans at the center of the system,” McKenna said, “and in this case, the humans at the center of the systems are our partnerships. We value those partnerships, and it really is what will help us continue to grow as a school and to help our students be successful.”

As a whole, the Fulton Schools emphasize the extracurricular activities that are important for students to learn new skills beyond what they’ve learned in the classroom to grow as engineers.

“The industry is hungry for well-educated talent,” Chu said. “That’s so important, and that’s what I see as the opportunity with this Hub — to allow industry to team up with university researchers and graduate students that do wonderful work that really lays the foundation that allows us to grow and benefit the community, the industry and the whole economy.”

Top photo: ASU faculty and students demonstrate projects and research conducted at the Polytechnic School, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, at the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub on Wednesday. Photo by Jessica Hochreiter/ASU

Monique Clement

Lead communications specialist , Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering