Lewes employee wins ‘better mousetrap’ award

Chaney’s innovation saves money, gives city additional plow
June 18, 2024

An old plow lying around the City of Lewes maintenance shop sparked an idea for Christopher Chaney.

The idea led to an innovation that won him first place in a statewide Build a Better Mousetrap competition.

Chaney designed and built a bracket to attach the plow to a new loader, saving the city money by repurposing what it already had.

“It’s adequate for the beach, but also for snow removal on larger streets – easier to get around,” Chaney said.

Chaney was given his first-place trophy, an actual mousetrap, and a $100 gift card at the June 10 mayor and city council meeting.

The contest is run by the University of Delaware’s T²/LTAP Center. The mission is to foster innovation and celebrate the innovations that come out.

“These are not things that get bought on eBay. These are things that somebody sitting in a shop said, ‘Wouldn’t it be better if we did this, cut it and rolled it into that,’” said Rusty Lee, director of the T²/LTAP Center.

That’s exactly what Chaney did.

“Chris found an opportunity to bring a couple of other people in the crew who didn’t have experience in cutting and welding, and teach them a new skill and develop them,” said Matt Carter of the T²/LTAP Center. “We talk the talk, but don’t always walk the walk. This was a great example where we’re actually walking the walk.”

Chaney’s design will be entered in a national competition that will be held in Albuquerque, N.M., in July. 

Also at the June 10 meeting, the city recognized maintenance foreman Kenny Morris for 10 years of service.



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