Do the Young Minds Have It?

It started back in the ’80s. “What are you going to do after high school?” then the big one: “Where are you going to college?” It was beaten into my head, my kids’ heads, and anyone I know in my age group that has college-aged kids that they MUST go to college. A degree path is the only way to land a high price, successful career–ever.


A prosthetic hand designed using Solidworks.

I went to a Wisconsin university for approximately one year. I originally wanted to become an Orthopedist. I loved working with my hands as a kid – even though I never took any shop classes as a high school student. (That was seen as beneath me) Really? I had excellent grades, and better yet excellent work ethic. But marginal discipline at age 18. Plus, I hated being poor and only wanted to play music. My grades were merely ok…meh. I was bored with the fact that I had to do the stuff I just did in high school. You know all the general education stuff to make you well rounded.

I took a summer job at a Mold Making shop as a floor sweeper. They had cool tools like the orthopedists, but were blue collar “Joe Lunchbox” people. I loved it and quit school and became an apprentice MoldMaker.

25 years later I’m not sorry one bit. I can build things with my hands cooler than most high tech stuff you have seen. I think in three dimensions, ya know 3D style. I have a serious appreciation for creators, I know a lot about physics even though I know none of the equations that get me there. I feel it my duty to make sure that we have next generation of “Makers”, whatever that maybe. MoldMakers, Plumbers, Carpenters, Electricians….Makers.

An exceptionally designed Baker Drive Train using SolidWorks.

Exceptionally designed Baker Drive Train using SolidWorks.

In my daily life I see and interact with many interns. This is a term that is somewhat ambiguous, is it not? What it really means is affordable, unexperienced person in my mind.  There are all levels of interns. The ones that seem to have a leg up are the ones that can actually build something. They have experience building “stuff”.

A table, a computer, a motorcycle engine, a lift kit on their truck, an installation of a radio and sound system worth more than the vehicle they put it in. The ones who have touched, scratched, fought through. Built something or rebuilt something that they use in their life (even if there are leftover bolts) are the ones who stand out.

Let’s face it. Anybody can manipulate an Excel sheet or struggle through a PowerPoint. But what can you make? I literally see the same resumes of 8oo,ooo+ graduates that are all the same. All great GPA’s and those who ran track. Their experience = Starbucks. Not a great combination in my mind when your college debt is 12 times your current income.

We need welders, machinists, designers that know mechanics and have an eye. I hired two interns for the summer. One, a Physics major in his third year; the other a media college kid that dropped out because of financial reasons. Both have something I’m looking for. The ability to learn and like learning. They have a keen eye, a strong desire to please, and a willingness to learn. They are both way smarter than myself. They’re efficient and hungry to learn. They love to solve problems and see my vision. It took 5 weeks for them to see the vision. But now they got it.

We need a society of Makers, Creators like this to provide for those who do not.

There is an extreme shortage.

Take what you know, apply it, and please pass it on. They are now collaborating on projects to show haw certain chemical compounds come together in 3D. They feed off each other and make each other think harder than they want to.

Be a Maker.


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