Make way for makerspaces


By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]



Alex Bander, director of the Columbus Idea Foundry, speaks about community workshops or “makerspaces” to members of the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.


The Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting included a luncheon at Roberts Convention Centre. Among those in line are chamber Board Vice Chairperson Jonathan McKay, second from left, and Randi Milburn of EMSAR, right foreground. EMSAR was an event sponsor.


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LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — An estimated 175 people were present for the chamber of commerce’s annual meeting where they heard a speech from the director of a community workshop or “makerspace.”

Makerspaces are part of an ever-changing economic landscape. A makerspace is a place where imaginative people can gather, create and learn from one another and where they have access to shared tools such as 3D printers, audio and visual equipment, laser cutters, and other hardware and software.

Alex Bander, director of the Columbus Idea Foundry, spoke about the grassroots creators who make use of makerspaces, and about the new technology and free educational access that present opportunities — perhaps as never before — for people with an innovative idea.

There are software tools that can find the most efficient solution in product design, said Bander.

“So, a human being can come up with an innovative idea and tell a computer to run with it, and then have the computer tell that person what the answer is,” he said.

In addition, there are innovations in financing with what’s called “crowdfunding.” Bander said this involves making an entertaining and educational video about your idea, and utilizing websites such as Kickstarter and Fundable for financial support.

He mentioned the makerspace that Energize Clinton County plans to locate at the Wilmington Air Park. Its name is Pioneer Labs.

“Pioneer Labs, I think, is extremely well-suited with the airport, with the community college, with the ag tech industry. I think there’s a lot of space for value-add, bringing drones and data mining in,” said Bander.

During the meeting portion of the event, Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mark Rembert looked back at 2015. A highlight last year, he said, was a collaboration with all the county high schools and Laurel Oaks to coordinate field trips for more than 180 students to visit six area manufacturing facilities.

Rembert announced there will be changes in the coming months to keep the nationally recognized Buy Local First campaign vital and relevant to local consumers.

A new branded logo will introduce the name Local First, dropping the word “buy” in order to broaden the message and the appeal, said Rembert. He said the new name and logo point to connections in addition to shopping.

Two other changes in the campaign will be a new Local First website, plus mobile apps to publicize local business events and deals, said the chamber’s executive director.

Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Membership Director Dessie Rogers reported the chamber has 272 members and continues to increase.

She also noted the popularity of the chamber’s online job listings, with more than 57,000 views in 2015, up from 29,000 views the prior year.

Placed upon chairs at the Roberts Convention Centre’s luncheon Thursday were copies of the chamber’s glossy, full-color Community Profile and Membership Directory. The News Journal partnered with the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce as publisher of the directory.

On the cover is an aerial photograph of the Wilmington Air Park and surrounding land.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.

Alex Bander, director of the Columbus Idea Foundry, speaks about community workshops or “makerspaces” to members of the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_bander_p_f.jpgAlex Bander, director of the Columbus Idea Foundry, speaks about community workshops or “makerspaces” to members of the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.

The Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting included a luncheon at Roberts Convention Centre. Among those in line are chamber Board Vice Chairperson Jonathan McKay, second from left, and Randi Milburn of EMSAR, right foreground. EMSAR was an event sponsor.
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_buffet_p_f.jpgThe Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting included a luncheon at Roberts Convention Centre. Among those in line are chamber Board Vice Chairperson Jonathan McKay, second from left, and Randi Milburn of EMSAR, right foreground. EMSAR was an event sponsor.

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]


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