Whitehouse High School graduate finds success as graphic designer, inventor

Published on Wednesday, 1 November 2017 14:21 - Written by AUGUSTA ROBINSON, augustarobinson@tylerpaper.com

A co-worker’s narrow escape from a car accident drove Alicia Briggs Parks, in collaboration with Pierpoint Inc., to develop a new product that’s designed to help make the road a safer place.

Mrs. Parks, 26, a 2009 graduate of Whitehouse High School, is part of a team that developed the Travel Tray, a circular tray that holds food and drinks and fits inside cupholders in children’s car seats and in standard and large vehicles.

Mrs. Parks said the idea came after a co-worker was driving and turned to the back seat to hand snacks to his children. He was nearly involved in an accident when he turned back around.

“It was finding a solution to that, because there was enough distracted driving on the road,” she said.

The group began to develop the product in 2016 and has since completed a successful Kickstarter campaign and were featured in several high profile trade shows.

Speaking at the second TIP Talk, held at the Innovation Pipeline in late October, Mrs. Parks shared her career advice and encouraged members of the crowd to be persistent when pursuing their dreams.

Barbara Rossiter, of Whitehouse, attended the TIP talk given by Mrs. Parks and said she enjoyed the experience.

“Me and my husband always come up with inventions and watch Shark Tank,” she said. “I thought (the TIP Talk) was very good. I didn’t know about Innovation Pipeline. It was very interesting.”

For Mrs. Parks, creating prototypes of the Travel Tray forced her to learn to use a 3D printer. But she is no stranger to self-teaching and finding ways to complete difficult projects.

As a graphic designer, she has worked on marketing campaigns and projects using design skills and strategies she’s learned from independent research, practice and internet searches.

“I always joke that I went to the university of YouTube,” she said. “What I’ve learned though my entire process is…step by step, day by day, every day has impact and every day has purpose.”