Nick Arnold, Pickering Associates’ BIM Coordinator, attended the second annual Nation of Makers Convention (NOMCON), that took place from June 14th-16th in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  This conference was a chance for leaders and maker organizations to get together to discuss current events, challenges, strategies, and other critical elements influencing the United States’ current Maker Movement.

Makerspace is an essential aspect to an organizations ability to think critically and uniquely to broaden one’s ideas and make them into a reality. Nick remarked that the central message of the convention was that, cities need to be integrated into the world of creator’s culture, and approach makerspaces with the same excitement as any big business looking to establish themselves. City governments, who have already made this transition into the Maker Movement, have done everything to eliminate barriers and provide assistance for creators. By implementing these changes, it has received positive feedback. With the increase in population, communities have had an abundance of tradespeople who are at the peak of their skill set — making this an opportune time to get them working in a makerspace for a couple of hours a day to connect with others and converse ideas with those who are the future of the industry.

At the convention, Nick was able to hear firsthand from businesses, like Pickering Associates, as well as product representatives and mayors from across the country on how the explosion of start-up companies and skilled labor originate from makerspaces and business incubators.

Nick hopes to provide Pickering Associates with an understanding of how those who are or could be potential clients, for example, schools, libraries, and manufacturing businesses, see how they are evolving into this Maker Movement.

Over the next six months, Nick has agreed to teach everything he has learned at this convention to the local Makerspace and Epicenter in Marietta, OH. He will be educating the Epicenter staff, current businesses using the center, students who are part of the makerspace. He will also be hosting a series that is open to the public, such as other local businesses and educators, to learn how they can partner and merge themselves into the makerspace to enhance our small town’s local maker movement.

Nick expressed, “ we, as design professionals, hold unique knowledge in work processes and software that bridge the gaps between concept and physical fabrication- and we desperately need to share more of that with our local youth and maker cultures to ensure those bright minds carry on the legacy of our regions skilled trades.”

The Maker Movement is on the rise, and this ripple effect of changes will produce transformations in small towns and cities throughout the nation. Organizations are a significant catalyst for launching makers into the workforce. From Nick’s experiences with this convention, and being a designer himself, he highly encourages everyone to reach out to your local makerspace, business incubator, or library to see what creative zone opportunities they provide to the community. Whether your child is developing a creative mind, or you, yourself enjoy inventing, a makerspace may be the place for you to converse with others and to be a spark for the arts and economics driving your community. If you’re interested in learning more about this idea and Nick’s class series, please contact the Building Bridges to Careers Epicenter in Marietta, OH for more information on these sessions.