18 highlights from 2018

By December 27, 2018News

It’s been an amazing year at Generator!

In an attempt so sum up the innovation, collaboration, and maker magic, we’re sharing these 18 highlights from 2018:

1. Generator is bustling with over 500 members in 2018. We served over 2,500 people in Chittenden County and beyond through our classes, workshops, and over 80 free events, including public lecture series, meet-ups and targeted programs such as our public, early-stage entrepreneurship incubator program.

2. Generator has grown to over 11,500 sq. ft!  This fall in partnership with Champlain College we added 3,000 sq. ft. of creative making “Flex Space.” The new space includes spaces for large scale project fabrication, a larger event space able to host an audience of 200+, dedicated workspace for students, and a home for exploration of future technologies including motion capture.

3. Four colleges are now teaching classes out of Generator, taking advantage of our advanced tool set and supportive community of mentor professionals. This includes CCV’s new Fundamentals of Engineering and Design as well as the fourth year of UVM’s innovative, NSF-funded BioFabLab alternative curriculum for freshman biology, which features hands-on fabrication projects in collaboration with graduate students working on real research projects. Learn more here.

4. 360 entrepreneurs took part in our highly successful JumpStart founder education program lecture created in collaboration with LaunchVT for very early stage entrepreneurs.  Heavy hitting speakers included Michael Jager of Solidarity of Unbridled Labour, Cairn Cross of Fresh Tracks Capital and Justin McCabe of Dunkiel Saunders.  Videos of the lectures are on our website.

5. We are extremely proud to have received the Burlington Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship from the Kauffman Foundation to expand our Jumpstart early stage entrepreneurship program for 2019. This means we will be doubling the size of our winter entrepreneur incubator cohort, launching a summer JumpStart Collegiate incubator featuring teams from three colleges, as well as an Artist Business Boot Camp incubator program in the fall. Read the full article here.

6. Generator launched two new community outreach programs for teens: DesignLab and Spark.  Since June, we have connected over 400 teens to Generator’s creative and technical professionals to explore careers in technology, science, engineering, digital fabrication, and entrepreneurship, through collaborative, project-based workshops using cutting edge technologies including electronics, computer-controlled fabrication, robotics, and drones. Learn more about Design Lab here.


7. Spark’s unique, weekly, mentor-driven programming designed for girls and marginalized genders engages teams from three Vermont high schools in the STEM careers and the design process as they invent solutions to community problems over the course of an entire school year.

8. Generator became home to “the first permanent indoor drone racing track in the USA” and received national buzz.  Join the Drone racing fans who meet and compete every month. Check out the NBC coverage here.

9. We are now in our second year partnering with Spaulding High School (Barre, VT) on a career-focused, advanced manufacturing boot-camp to support non-college bound students. This curriculum helps students gain access to careers in CNC operation, which pay upwards of $50,000 per year. Generator is planning an expansion of this program with CCV and the Vermont Talent Pipeline.

10. 480 people took part in the inaugural year of our Reckless Ideas speaker series featuring Burlington’s top thinkers and innovators working at the intersection of design and science, embracing big ideas and pushing disciplinary boundaries. Created in collaboration with UVM’s Complex Systems Center and Champlain College’s Emergent Media MFA Program, topics ranged from autonomous robots to the spread of ideas and viruses, to the Internet of Things, to the conflict between creativity and commerce. Check out videos of the lectures on our website.

11. We are thrilled to welcome three new board members: Lee Bouyea, Managing Director at Fresh Tracks Capital, Champlain College Provost Laurie Quinn, and Juniper Lovato from UVM’s Complex Systems Center. You can see all of our beautiful board members here.

12. Champlain College’s MakerLab has merged with Generator. As part of the partnership, we now have a team of dedicated Lab Technicians available to assist members on their projects 5 days per week, as well as a second laser cutter!  Over 200 Champlain students are already taking advantage of Generator’s sophisticated tool sets and are collaborating with our community of creative professionals.

13. Pitch it, Fab it! — our fast and interactive evenings of competitive pitches — provided budding entrepreneurs with $10,000 worth of prototyping services by UVM’s Instrumentation and Modeling Facility to develop a working prototype of their projects. To date Pitch It, Fab It! has resulted in 8 winners and 6 completed, working prototypes. Learn all about Pitch it, Fab it! here.

14. Now in its second year, the Somali Women’s Sewing Circle has graduated 20 micro-business entrepreneurs to date.  With our program partner, CVOEO, we have provided New American women with textile fabrication skills, and professional sewing equipment to help them make hard-to-find traditional clothing and support starting their own businesses. Check out this Seven Days article about the program.

15. The  hardworking Generator team grew by three: Jon Weisbecker as Outreach Coordinator, Christine Hill as Communications Manager, and Elliot Katz as Shop Operations Manager. You can meet all of our staff on the website here.

16. Generator collaborated with 32 non-profit partners including: AARP, Champlain College, UVM, Edmunds Middle School, Flynn School, Spaulding HS, Big Picture South Burlington HS, King Street, Spectrum, CVOEO, Launch VT, SEABA, Flynn School, BTV Ignite, The Peace Paper Project, Middlebury College, The Vermont Woman’s Fund, Governor’s Institute, TechJam, Winooski High School, The Lund Center, Vermont Works for Women, CEDO, RETN, and the Center for Women and Enterprise.

We’re looking forward to even more collaborations in 2019!

17. We opened our new Mixed Reality Lab to support Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality software development. A team of Champlain College graduate students used it to create an augmented reality application for the fast-growing start-up, Mamava, and new Virtual Reality Kayaking simulator game, “Squid Hitcher.”

18. Four Generator members are now employed at the exciting Beta Air aviation technology electronic aircraft project at Burlington Airport as part of their prototyping/engineer team. We are proud that three of these members gained this opportunity thanks to their advanced manufacturing and CNC training and experience at Generator. Learn more about the Beta Air project here.

Response to our end-of-year campaign has been just wonderful. We’ve raised $12,250 of our new $15,000 goal.

Join us today by making your gift today!

Maker in Residence: Hilton Dier III

Author Christine Hill

More posts by Christine Hill