The discussion of a McPherson Makers Space concept was held recently at the McPherson Chamber of Commerce. The meeting drew approximately 28 people with various backgrounds of interest; individuals, educators, artists, engineers, hobby “makers”, industry and economic development personnel from McPherson as well as the surrounding communities. There is a lot of excitement to have a designated space for people to create, explore, experiment, invent and fueling the inner entrepreneur and inventor.
A Makers Space can be to an asset to the community and area in addressing workforce development, developing skills and mentoring opportunities.
Dave O’Reilly, Professional Engineer by profession led the meeting by welcoming everyone. He wanted it to be clear that his vision for this “center” is that it would be a community -supported effort; therefore, he encouraged all those interested to provide feedback in how this center would look. After the welcome, O’Reilly shared with the group the different options for “maker ” models that were in process around the country. He then passed the floor to Mark Glade, President of the new MakerSpace startup in Harvey that is quickly gaining traction. Mark provided some fantastic insight for the discussion by sharing what their group had learned in their process of getting their center launched. He encouraged the group to research/visit some of the surrounding centers to see how they were organized and get a better understanding of what might best fit in McPherson. The Make Harvey center is fashioned after MakeICT in Wichita, which is a community supported initiative operated by volunteers whose mission is to innovate, learn and build community at the intersection of art, technology, science, and culture.
After hearing the options from Dave and also learning from Mark’s experience, the majority of the group seemed to feel most comfortable (at least at this point) with the MakeICT model as well as it embodies what most in the group wanted to see in our community a humble, inviting place where residents and visitors could come together and explore and fine tune skills in art, technology, science, and culture.
The group discussed formalizing a monthly meeting to keep the momentum going. Like the MacMakers Facebook page to stay up to date. The next meeting will be a tour of Wichita’s MakeICT on Monday, July 30th. Open to everyone. Meet at 5:30 pm at the USD 418 offices at 514 N. Main St. A school bus will be provided by USD 418 for us to ride down as a group. The bus will leave at 5:45 PM. The MakeICT tour begins at 7 p.m.