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Generator Members Meeting Minutes January 14th, 2019
Meeting Facilitator: Steve Mermelstein
In attendance: Jake Blend, Steve Mermelstein, Karen Freeman, Chris Thompson, Daryl Stutz, Matt Flego, Gary Shores, Alec Dupuis, Jon Landell, Linda Beal, Brook Martenis, Ken Linge, Edward Burke, Katrina Mason, Pete Moore, Alex Costantino, Thomas Waters, Leisa Fearing, Jody Brown, Steve Conant, Jill Dawson, Megan McAvoy, Robin Lloyd-Miller, Kristian Brevik, Pike Porter, Mark Sherwin, David Rothenbucher, Jon Weisbecker.
Welcome: Jake welcomed attendees and called the meeting to order at 6:38 pm. Members introduced themselves.
Maker-In-Residence: The meeting began with Michael Zebrowski, connected remotely via video, talking about his January-February residency at the Generator. Michael operates a public art and design studio, UP END THIS, and is using his 2-month residency at Generator to build the first full scale prototype of one of his “satellites,” a mobile and dynamic architectural structure. These nomadic structures could be mobile living spaces, cafes, meeting spaces, shops, and more and could provide solutions for changes in climate, social and economic structure. He’s curious to see what uses people may have for the structures, how they can serve us and looks forward to making connections with people at the Generator.
Minutes of December 10th Members Meeting: Jake made a motion, seconded by Jody to approve.
Director’s report: Chris reported that things are going really well financially. One measure of success: there are currently 430 members, with 123 members paying every month, up 20 in the last few months. Jumpstart kicks off Wednesday; 36 applications received with the Kauffman grant enabling a doubling of the new cohort to 8 participants chosen. Generator members in the new cohort are Christine, Ezra, Adriana and Todd. Jumpstart will be expanded to 3 cohorts with the addition of a college summer college cohort and a cohort for artists. Supporting early stage entrepreneurs has been proven to be highly effective, so one outcome of the program is standardizing a curriculum for early stage entrepreneurial training. Donor funding has enabled Generator to hire a temporary position for development and Ken Linge was introduced.
Chris shared a dashboard he’s created to display measures of success. He ran through a number of metrics including: being within 1% of budgeted expenses, earned income is 51% (more than grant income at 49%), Profit is 20 K where expected cash on hand is 3.7 months (this is high for a nonprofit good, 6 months optimal). Water Wheel (Phish foundation) is a new donor and Generator is now 75% funded of the projected development funds in the budget. Studio vacancies usually running at 0% with a small waitlist. Chris is surprised there are ever any vacancies with the rental rates for studios being well below market. Chris asked for feedback on the dashboard from the members at the meeting, they found it reassuring, helpful and appreciated the transparency.
Jen Kamich, CEO of Heady Topper, will kick off the Jumpstart lecture series this Wednesday talking about how to balance personal life with work and hundred people have already signed up. With the new flex space, many more people can be accommodated than in the Great Hall for events like this. There will be a public lecture every other week on a different aspect of entrepreneurship as part of the Jumpstart program.
Board member report: Steve Conant, who serves on the board’s safety committee, commended the Generator members and staff for maintaining clean and safe working spaces, and for working smart with no injuries.
Vacant member representative slot: Jean Chourney has moved and there needs to be an election to fill the rest of her term. There will be a vote at the February member meeting, anyone interested in serving can let Steven or Jake know. The remainder of the term would run until September, and the rep could run again for a full term. Interested candidates need to be able to commit to Generator Board meetings held every other month (second Tuesday from 3-5 pm) as well as the monthly member meetings (second Monday from 5-7pm).
Announcements: Steve M. said that there will be a form for food suggestions for upcoming meetings. The CNC meetup will be held tonight after the meeting and the electronics meetup is tomorrow. He leads a photography meetup the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30, bring five photos for critiquing but you can come even without bringing photos. There will be a gaming night on February 6 from 4-8:30pm.
Robin Lloyd Miller brought up the topic of cleanup and safety, something he and Eric Roy are concerned about. He mentioned that a chuck key was left in the drill which is very unsafe. They are wondering about possible solutions. Expanding the wiki to cover this? Putting posters up near work spaces with checklist that reminds users to follow correct and safe protocols? Group consensus that this is an important topic. A meeting will be scheduled for anyone interested in helping with this issue. Make sure Elliott can be in attendance.
Suggestion offered of using recyclable/compostable utensils for food at member meetings, good idea.
John Landell shared that he is 72 and looking for an exit strategy for his custom flute making business - Landell Flutes in Richmond. This is an affordable business and viable career path for a young person to learn. He asked the group to please pass the word along and his business and contact information is on his website (landellflutes.com).
Jake mentioned the rapid prototype cast-able resin and expressed his appreciation for the Champlain lab techs developing the spreadsheet to calculate all the costs associated with this process. He noted that it is expensive so users need to be careful. The Generator is getting another Prusa 3D printer. Jake thanked Jon Weisbecker for his troubleshooting help and invited others interested in troubleshooting.
Robin expressed an interest getting the Generator server going again and setting up a federated Twitter social network (Mastodon).
Member build updates: Sam and his associates are finishing up the new worktable and benches and should be done in a couple of days. Made from local maple, it was noted that the work is stunning.
Jake gave an update on his Tetris wall which he finished with funding help from BCA and Dealer. Completed in time for Burlington’s NYE “Highlight” event, the LED matrix was installed at the Echo Center with the help of the Illumination Collective.
There will be a report on the third recent member build at the next meeting.
New member build proposals: No new member build proposals for this meeting.
2×4 Challenge: Gary and Brook described a maker challenge they have organized. It involves making something using two 2X4s (doesn’t have to be wood). Participants need to submit by March 20th at least a sketch and materials list that would enable another person to recreate their creation. Voting will be by people’s choice on the categories of craftsmanship an originality. Open to the public, there is no fee, but people need to register.
Next Meeting: Monday, February 11th, 2019
Meeting adjourned at 7:10pm
Minutes submitted by Karen Freeman