A Year in Review: 2016

By December 19, 2016Uncategorized

2016 at Generator

A Year in Review

Holy smokes! Yet another year has flown by.  Generator aims to be a community of collaboration among artists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to foster a fertile environment for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. We exist at the intersection of art and technology and offer our community a full suite of tools, workspaces, and education opportunities. Generator makes high-tech equipment available to our members: hobbyists, tinkerers, craftsmen, and professionals. Even more importantly, Generator members are a collaborative creative group of people  with a wide range of skills and interests. Let’s look at how people have come together in 2016 to achieve forward thinking work.

Let’s reflect on the pillars of Generator as an organization: Creativity, Education, and Entrepreneurship.

Member creativity and collaboration-

If you aren’t a Generator member, then you wouldn’t be aware that members have a social and constructive meeting every month.  One of the topics of discussion at these meetings is how to spend the pocket of money called “member money”.  Members make proposals about what could benefit from the member money whether it be a project that could use a boost, a good cause that needs fund raising, or a member organized field trip.  This year’s Member Funded projects were Lucy Delabruere and Gary Shores RasPi “Project of the Month” kit for self-directed learning on micro-controller programming, Pinbox 3000 fundraising, Generator member retail cart, and Jake Blend’s desktop Arcade. That’s just a sample of the bigger projects members worked on! Check out the member products that got pumped out this year.

Education-

We have had the pleasure of bringing on our new Education Coordinator, Karen Cornish, this year.  Karen’s professional life began in inventory and operations management, moved through marketing and website design, and landed– where else? – in musical theater.  Her interest in education stems from a determined desire to keep production and technical arts alive in our schools and communities.

Alison Novak says it well in The Maker Spirit.

It’s exciting that our kids are growing up at a time when technology is creating so many new learning opportunities.

Karen brought Generator’s spirit to the Champlain Mini Maker Faire in September. It is that kind of playful excitement that Generator works to foster for people of all ages, all the time.  Karen has worked hard in 2016 to ensure the foundation for sparkly new classes and bright new talent to teach at our new 40 Sears Lane location.

Generator members are equally passionate about helping advance education in the school systems too! Check out this video on how Generator members Pete Talbot and Ben Matchstick support STEM education. They have created a low cost-high fun platform for children to explore new ways of learning. Education isn’t only about the children; the other half of the equation is the educators themselves.  Lucy Delabruere hosts an annual workshop for educators called Create, Make, Learn and hosts it out of Generator.  Generator is proud to present its brand new Educator-in-Residence program. Every two months, Generator welcomes leading educators into our community to tackle an educational learning challenge in collaboration with Generator members. The goal of the Educator in Residence program is to provide gifted educators in any discipline with access to tools and talent that will create breakthroughs in instructional design.

 

Entreprenuership-

Several members have made huge pivotal steps in the pursuit of their entrepreneurial adventures this year.  A big transition for everyone at Generator was for Matt Flego and Erik Cooper, co-owners of M//E designs, to export their design and fabrication shop to Alternator on Pine Street.  Their growing success and contract with Room and Board confirmed their need to expand the company. In June of 2016 they moved out of Generator into the ALTernator: 388 Pine Street, Suite 3-M-1 in Burlington VT.  Matt and Erik have created a private studio to house M//E Designs, Cardboard Teck Instantute, Tim Peters and John Yasaitis. Take a glance of all the steps they took to grow and launch out of Generator! 

Pete Talbot and Ben Matchstick of Cardboard Teck Instantute have also forged great strides this year! Read up on their journey.

We’ve manufactured over 7,000 units in our Philly factory, working with a marketing firm 20nine, we’ve raised over $100,000 for the P3k, now working regularly with projection films out of Middlebury, and we’re in more than 50 stores & counting across the US (Marbles the Brain Store & others), things are shaping up for the Alternator & this new PinBox 3000 has glowing reviews!

-Pete Talbot

Connie Lisle has independently expanded and flew the coop this year. Generator provided Connie access to a $45,000 laser engraver to try her ideas and explore the production of products over two years to see if, in fact, it would be marketable and sustainable. At Generator there was a supportive community that encouraged her every step of the way, pointed out various contacts and connections to answer a myriad of questions. She has reached that point of success that she needed to buy her own laser cutter to be etching away more hours in a day. Her business future is strong and the hardest challenge is to not scale up too fast.

 

Thank You For Making Generator Possible!

Like it was said in the video created by Susan Reid in partnership with Young Writers Project…

We decided that the combination of this unique place, Burlington, and the cool people who have chosen to live here and work here is a combination for success.

Generator members, partners, staff, board of directors, and volunteers have all pitched in to facilitate the successes evident in 2016.  The last collaboration of the year has been to transplant Generator into the South End Arts District at 40 Sears Lane.  Here is more information about the move and we can’t wait to greet you into our new home in 2017.