V.E.S.T. Hackathon

Building a safer better fitting compliant suitable more inclusive right-sized functional considerate safety vest.

April 11 – 12, 2022

Cal Poly Construction Management

San Luis Obispo, CA

Event Overview

This 2-day V.E.S.T. Hackathon event will bring industry members, students, and faculty together to redesign the safety vest so it better considers the needs of the construction community’s increasingly diverse workforce, where one size does not fit all.  The traditional safety vest as currently designed isn’t right-sized, creating safety concerns on project sites.  To ensure worker safety across the industry, significant changes need to be made.  



The goal of the hackathon is to develop safety gear that acknowledges, is designed for, and provides safety for a variety of body types.  This will create greater safety and inclusion on project sites. By the end of the two days, we hope to have two prototypes that can be further developed to field test.  The event will also highlight student research, provide guidelines for vests, and create a collaborative space for industry members to work alongside students to develop better, safer, functional, and appropriate safety vests.

Bouncing Heart with Safety Vest

About the Hackathon

What is a Hackathon?

Hackathons are collaborative, multipurpose events that serve as a place of open and collaborative ingenuity to solve a problem, invent something new, and redevelop a flawed product to make it better.  They harness the power of teamwork to transform complex problems into a new product or tangible reality.  

Why a vest?

Inspired by a student’s senior project exploring the fit of safety vests for construction workers, it was discovered that an overwhelming amount of construction workers do not have a safety vest that fits them and, of those, women were disproportionally impacted – identifying shoulders, underarm openings, waist, and hips as too loose, long, or wide.  This leads to unsafe situations where vests are caught on objects or workers are distracted by the poorly fitting vest, resulting in injury. Women also responded that this negatively impacted their confidence on the job site, their sense of presence and authority when on the job, and the vest serves as a physical daily reminder that they don’t belong or their needs aren’t considered within our industry.  



Who should attend?

We welcome anyone’s participation at the event who is dedicated to making better-fitting PPE, and encourage those who regularly wear safety vests to provide their input and expertise.  We also welcome the insight of safety managers and PPE providers. 

Event Details



Cal Poly State University

Construction Management Department

Building 186
1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA  93407


2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. (dinner afterward)

The first day of the event will kick off with short presentations from the department, students, alumni, and industry leaders.  After the short presentations, we will spend some time brainstorming ways to transform the traditional safety vest to better fit diverse body types, then participants who choose to share out will do lightning pitches of their conceptual design.  After the pitches, we will take some time to discuss the designs and develop vest reconstruction teams for the rest of the hackathon.   


2:30 p.m.


3:00 p.m.


3:15 p.m.

Keynote speakers

4:00 p.m.


4:30 p.m.

Lightning pitches

5:00 p.m.

Chat and teaming

5:30 p.m.

Travel to dinner

6:30 p.m.



8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

On day 2, we’ll hit the ground running with our reconstruction teams and start hacking away at the traditional vest.  After a morning of work, we’ll share our progress, eat lunch, take some time to network and review student research, and reflect on our day.  We’ll spend a few more hours in the afternoon hacking, and then present our vest for judging.  We’ll close the day with an awards ceremony, closing remarks, and some time for reflection on the event.  

8:00 a.m.


8:30 a.m.


10:30 a.m.

Team presentations

11:00 a.m.


12:30 p.m.


1:30 p.m.

Documentation & recording

2:30 p.m.


3:30 p.m.


4:00 p.m.

Awards ceremony

4:30 p.m.

Closing remarks

5:00 p.m.


More details coming soon...


Are you interested in sponsoring this event?  If so, fill out the form below and a member of our team will contact you.