ATTLEBORO - Engineers at high-tech manufacturer Sensata Technologies normally focus on designing sensors and controls for automobiles, appliances and industrial machinery.
But this week, workers at the firm's U.S. headquarters focused their talents in a new direction: creating a giant sculpture of a camping scene from 2,000 cans and boxes of food employees donated to charity.
The workers are competing with their peers at DePuy Synthes, a Raynham medical device firm, for top honors in a sculpture competition overseen by the United Way of Greater Attleboro-Taunton.
Sensata marketing specialist Stephen Potter said the sculpture that occupies a 10-foot-square space in the company's lobby includes a Boy Scout pup tent, a canoe, a campfire and a river.
He said the idea for the competition, hatched during discussions between the two companies' employees, was to build awareness and encourage fellow workers to take part in their community food drive.
All foods collected at Sensata will be donated to the Hebron Food Pantry once the sculpture is taken down next week.
"It's rewarding knowing where it's all going," said Potter, who helped lead the effort, along with employees Mary Barry and Amy Creighton.
David Field led the design team that created the sculpture. About a dozen Sensata workers were directly involved in designing and building the project from boxes of noodles and canned fish and vegetables.
But many more of the company's 700 workers took part in the exercise by talking up the project and bringing in donated food items. Both Sensata and DePuy also donated toward the purchase of food.
Potter said the exercise also brought employees from various parts of the company together to share ideas.
"It's a good opportunity to be part of a team with people you might not ordinarily work with," he said.
Area United Way Vice President Jamie Grossman said workers at the two companies have been discussing the idea of a sculpture competition for months as a way of promoting their charitable efforts.
United Way officials will be on hand today for a final judging and to award a trophy for the best artistic creation.
Other Sensata employees who took part in designing and building the display included Sean DiStefano, Carolina Camejo Leonor, Pete Weise, Kevin Dropps, Paul Formisano, Andy Fitzpatrick and Alejandra Rivera.