Friends. Two reasons this is a very special day for jeffcityblog.com.
Reason ONE - We are launching our newest segment of the blog, GIVE, highlighting the incredible nonprofits who do so much for our community.
Reason TWO - I'm thrilled to introduce you to Mid Mo Maker Labs and board member, Brett Welschmeyer!
I first met Brett and learned about the organization at 1 Million Cups Jeff City. He will explain what they do much better than I can, but I wanted to personally express how so-very-excited I am for this to exist in Jeff City. It will foster innovation, collaboration, new ideas, and (in my opinion) tap into a network of people who are currently underserved. I'm about it. While their space isn't photo-ready just yet, I was fortunate enough to meet the board before one of their meetings to snap a group photo, which I'll show you here in a sec, but I'll let Brett jump into it!
My name is Brett Welschmeyer, an IT Manager and entrepreneur living in Jefferson City for most of my life. Jefferson City has a community of people that have many ideas and interest, and many of them don't even know what talents or skills they have. Not by choice, but lack of hands-on learning or places to really dig in and experiment and have some fun creating unique inventions. This is the main reason why I started to lay the foundations for Mid Mo Maker Labs.
Mid Mo Maker Labs is the start of a makerspace, working to create a local location that allows the youth and adults alike a place to experiment and grow their ideas. For us, it’s about the people, their ideas and their enjoyment of learning new skills and technologies. We want to help promote the enjoyment of learning and scientific experimentation in the future and current generations alike.
We invite in new ideas and creative processes to foster a new level of innovation.
“M3 Labs will bring tools, technology and guidance to our community, to stimulate learning, innovation, entrepreneurship and curiosity in an affordable and fun manner.”
Our mission statement embodies all that we are. We are going to bring specialty tools to our facility such as: CNC machines, laser cutters, 3D printers, electronics testing tools, repair areas, and prototyping softwares. Programming enthusiasts will be able to use our computers to learn, code, and make games in a coworking environment.
Our shop will be set up for woodworking and some metal working, so making projects will be easy and quick. We will have loft access that will be the future home of a WebCast Studio for all those future podcasters and YouTube stars. Plus, there will be areas for people who want to paint with an inspiring view of the Capitol.
What is your main focus or goal for this organization?
Our goal is to be a gym for makers, It's a place where you can come in, use the tools to design, and build virtually anything you want. Additionally, we want to be a place that teaches and inspires people to love learning and creating through innovation.
What’s been your biggest struggle getting this off the ground?
Money. We are bootstrapping the startup and some of the machines are not the cheapest to acquire. All members are volunteering many hours to help organize and try to acquire members and donations to help bring this together while donating out of pocket, but that only goes so far.
What made you want to start this organization?
I have seen far too many times, kids and teenagers burn out and give up on their ideas because they are not around people who believe in them or give into the hype that "You can't do it" or "It's not possible". I wanted to create a place that would show teens and adults alike YOU CAN do it and nothing is impossible (within the laws of physics of course). I hope this place will inspire its members to come in, have a good time learning and create future trends and technologies.
Do you have any other businesses or organizations? If so, what are they?
Yes, I do freelance Website Consulting and Custom Development through my company United Developments.
How do you get motivated?
As far as I can tell we only get one life, and there has never been a better time to be alive and get to experience so much. Reminding me of this just helps me push to get as much accomplished and experience all I can.
Who are the other members and how did you meet them?
We have eight members on the board, including myself, all talented and great people. Matt G and Lisa came into contact with me through the "Idea Kickoff" meeting we had last November at the launch of this project. Mike and Ted work with me and have been talking about this idea since 2016. Matt H Introduced me to David who liked the idea and what we wanted to do. Matt H and I worked together about 10 years ago for a while and he has really helped push this forward along with all the board members contributions.
What does your organization currently need?
We are currently needing local companies or people to help sponsor some of the specialty tools and some of the woodworking equipment. If a donation is not possible, we would love for them to become a member. That is another way to help us move toward our mission.
So friends, what do you think? Tell us in the comments! To learn more about Mid Mo Maker Labs visit their website or keep up-to-date on events and progress on their Facebook page. Thank you so much for your time to do this interview, Brett! jeffcityblog.com wishes you and the board only the best and we can't wait to see your space once it's photo-ready!
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