The New England Rubbish Deconstruction Society

The NERDS logo


A unique team-building event

The Rubbish Deconstruction League

Single day corporate programs for up to 120 participants. Trade show events. School programs for grades 6 to 12. Presented by Jeff Del Papa, founder of “The NERDS”, the first American team to participate in the Emmy-nominated Junkyard Wars TV show.

Corporate program

Looking for a motivational program? An unusual event for trade show entertainment? Want to really challenge your employees' intellects?  Get them working as a group, designing and building; testing their creativity, not their fear of heights.  Try an event that has them construct a solution to a real world problem, with limited time and resources (literally, a pile of junk); an event where ingenuity, improvisation, and lateral thinking are rewarded.

Lecture program.  A two hour lecture that mixes project mananagment advice with an entertaining example of its' application "in extremis".  Includes viewing of an episode of the TV show, as well as a question and answer session.

Building challenge. A one day program that has participants wielding tools on scrounged materials, solving a real problem. After an introduction that includes viewing an episode of the TV show that inspired this event, tips on time management, and how to approach a solution, the teams are led to the competition field.  After a tool and safety briefing, they hear the challenge for the first time, and the clock starts ticking.  (The introduction works well as an after dinner event the evening preceding the competition.)
Team adjusts its machine
I select challenges that have multiple valid solutions, and I have group tested each challenge to see that viable solutions can be built within the time limit.  The teams may be provided with a “tip” sheet outlining some of the possible solutions, and after a brief time for design, they are turned loose to scavenge and build.

The normal schedule is for 90 minutes of build time.  I visit each team, offering advice, and checking progress.  I make an effort to see that all teams build something that if it can't actually complete the challenge, it will fail in an informative way.  After several warnings (ten minutes remaining, teams, it's officially time to panic...), time is called,  there is a short break for refreshments, and the teams then try their machines on the course.  Competition will involve several rounds, and the teams will usually continue to tweak their machines between their turns at the pitch (to give every team a chance at some form of success). With a full set of 10 teams this will take between 60 and 90 minutes.  An overall winner will be declared, and (optionally) winners in “humor” categories like “best self-destruct”, “most moving parts”, and "grubbiest team member".  Private post-mortem analysis for each team is available as an option.

For groups larger than 60 people, I turn it into a bit of a spectator event. The event will feature two different challenges, with participants building in one challenge, and watching the other.  When there are two building sessions, the pre-event lecture has to take place the day or evening prior to the actual challenge.

The event can be run indoors or out.  The challenges used will be tailored to the available space.  All materials and tools are provided, along with a single trophy for the winner (made of real junk, just like the TV show).  Event T-shirts, additional trophies, and photo/videography are your responsibility.Duct tape holds the universe together

Trade Show Events

As mentioned above, this makes great trade show entertainment, especially for technology oriented companies or  products.  For trade shows, it would be the customers and prospects doing the building, with a short cycle-time challenge using "clean" junk.  Some will just be spectators watching the competition, there will also be groups waiting to actually compete, providing  plenty of opportunity for product promotion.

More information on site requirements and program costs are available.  Any further questions, or to schedule an event, contact Jeff Del Papa, (617) 460-6424

School Events
Grades 6 through 12, and Not for Profit Organizations

Enrichment – a 2-hour presentation that includes viewing one commercial-free episode of the show, wrapped in a talk about the making of the show and how we arrived at our solution to the problem.  (Suitable for single classes up to large assemblies.)

Building (schools only) – A combination of presentation, classroom projects, and a competition.  The event is launched with the Enrichment program, with a slightly different ending; students leave the event with a challenge that they are to build.  Building is done in the classroom, supervised by the students’ regular teachers, using recycled materials and age-appropriate tools. I return to judge the actual competition day.

Building (Not for Profit organizations)  A reduced cost verson of the normal corporate single challenge. Half day event for up to 60 people. You supply the junk and tools.

Fundraising – For adults this time.  The Faculty's Finest vs. The PTA All Stars, in a no-holds-barred building showdown.  I supply the tools, challenge, and commentary.  You supply up to 4 teams, a venue, scrap materials, and an audience. (Wannabe sportscasters from your school are optional but encouraged.)

For more information, or to schedule an event, contact: Jeff Del Papa   (617) 460-6424.  Detailed site requirements, an event planning guide, and a price schedule can be found  here.