Grills designed and built by Faurecia employees will once again be raffled off following the upcoming Our Hospice of South Central Indiana free concert.

But unlike last year, raffle winners might actually be able to get their prizes home immediately after Peter Cetera and his seven-piece electric band wrap up their Sept. 3 concert in Mill Race Park.

Last summer, the goal of the competition among four teams of employees from automobile parts manufacturer Faurecia was simply to create the best and most elaborate super grill.

So when imaginative sketch-to-prototype efforts resulted in a mobile party wagon and miniature big-rig, for example, the designs drew a lot of oohs and ahs — and $3,520 in raffle revenue.

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But in terms of moving the elaborate contraptions or actually utilizing them at home, the designs were not practical for most bidders.

“So there was a little bit of a different flavor in this year’s grill competition,” said Tobi Herron, director of community and employee involvement for Faurecia.

Three teams involving 17 Faurecia employees were asked to come up with more portable, sensible, marketable and user-friendly prototypes, Herron said.

In order to encourage variety, designs for other backyard appliances such as fire pits became eligible for the competition, she said.

While the razzle dazzle may have been reigned in a little, each of the three teams still remained committed to detail, teamwork and excellence, Herron said.

The judging of the three entries was done a bit differently this year. Although there was again an executive team Judges’ Choice, there was also a Peoples’ Choice Award, Herron said.

That honor was determined by Faurecia employees who were allowed to pick their favorite design — at a cost of $1 a vote, she said.

Resembling a large octangular card table, the Peoples’ Choice winner was designed to be taken apart and easily transported with adjustable legs and articulating feet, team member Brian Biehle said.

“We wanted to create something that would bring people together,” Biehle said. “We also wanted to experiment and design something unique but that was not all-steel.”

The entry chosen by the judges, which has adjustable features such as top and sliding vents, was mostly created from existing Faurecia manufacturing materials, team member Tony Sypula said.

“Ninety percent of the components are re-purposed, which is a big accomplishment from an innovation standpoint,” Sypula said.

His team’s creation was recently coated with a bright yellow high-temperature ceramic to give it a polished finish, Herron said.

Representatives of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana were on hand during the June 22 judging in order to give Faurecia employees a better understanding of their contribution to the community.

“The concert is such a great event for our community and ultimately raises money for a wonderful cause,” said Jennifer Smith, who heads a committee that coordinates the company’s involvement in the event.

Team rosters

The following Faurecia employees worked in teams to design and create the grills being raffled off after the Our Hospice of South Central Indiana concert at Mill Race Park Sept. 3

  • Peoples’ Choice team: Brian Biehle, Thomas Miller, Julie Snyder and John Warren.
  • Judges’ Choice team: Keith Bassett, Mike Galarno, Dan Moberly, Josh Sessions, Andrew Sypula, Tony Sypula, Rodney Vogel.
  • Black Grill team: Micah Caughey, Charles Mosley, John Parsons, Tim Thompson, James Thur and Bob Williams.

How to buy raffle tickets

Raffle tickets to win one of the three grills are being sold for $10 and can be purchased at the Our Hospice center, 2626 E. 17th St., Columbus.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Information: Call toll-free 1-800-841-4938, ext. 8000.

The drawing will be conducted at the end of the concert, but winners do not need to be present to win.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.