Makers Mount Expo at State House March 19

On March 19 “makers” from around Vermont will be on hand at the State House to share first hand their efforts to foster creativity, education and entrepreneurship. Dubbed “Makers in Montpelier,” the event aims to raise awareness about the role of independent creatives in advancing economic development in communities around the state.

“The Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation (CVEDC) is thrilled to welcome makers from around the state to share their experiences and innovations with our Legislators” said Sam Andersen, Executive Director of CVEDC and a co-organizer of the event. “Makers are proving to be a growing industry sector contributing to the economic vitality of our state. The opportunity to learn together and expand opportunity for creatives and entrepreneurs is exciting.”

“Makers” and the maker movement represent a growing community of independent creatives across disciplines who are leveraging the falling cost of technology to build new tools and machines and design new products. Notable examples of maker tools include Arduino microcontrollers, 3D printers, laser and plasma cutters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s or “drones”). In Vermont this “do it yourself” or “DIY” ethos is driving innovation across essential areas of Vermont’s economy including agriculture, manufacturing and education.

“Champlain Makerfaire (CMF, Inc.), the state’s annual celebration of the maker movement, has seen this activity grow since 2012,” said Doug Webster, director of CMF, Inc. and a Generator board member. “The mission of CMF has been to increase energy and excitement for making around the state. We’re pleased to support Generator in bringing members of our network to Montpelier and celebrate a year of progress together.”

At “Makers in Montpelier” legislators will have the opportunity to learn first hand from makers representing communities in St Johnsbury, Brattleboro, Montpelier and Burlington. These independent innovators will show how tools such as 2D and 3D design software, CNC shaping mills, 3D printers, and laser cutters are being used to generate new ideas and foster new business formation. Representative businesses include furniture manufacturing, remote aerial sensing and monitoring services, custom motorcycle parts manufacturing, laser-etched slate craft products, and custom mechanized equipment for small-scale farmers.

“Vermont makers are at the forefront of a revolution in light industry and manufacturing,” said Michael Metz, chair and a founding member of Generator’s board of directors. “Our vision at Generator is to contribute to this transformation in Burlington and put our city on the map as a center of excellence in rapid prototyping and fabrication.”

Generator celebrates a year of progress toward this vision on March 28, when members, staff, the board and supporters host a birthday bash at their Memorial Auditorium location from 4-8PM.

“Highlights of the evening will include a cardboard pinball arcade, arts and tech activities for children, a MAME arcade, interactive music and video, food and tons of fun”, said Lars Hasselblad Torres, Director of Generator. The event is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Vermont and Champlain College with support from Burlington City Arts and ArtsRiot.

Makers in Montpelier was organized by the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation and Burlington Generator with support from Champlain Makerfaire. The event was hosted by Representatives Sam Young, Mary Hooper, Tom Stevens and Bill Botzow and Senator Tim Ashe.

Author Lars Hasselblad Torres

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