On May 11th 2015 I was invited back to the White House to attend the first ever White House Maker Roundtable. Burlington NC was invited as one of twenty of the one hundred plus "Maker Cities" in the US. Really proud that not only were we given four seats at the table but I was also asked to give a 3-minute Lightning Talk about the The Alamance Makers Guild and our efforts to grow Maker Community and Maker Ecosystem here in Alamance County. (We were one of only seven cities given time to do a talk).
The White House invited me and asked me to recommend three other local leaders who had worked with the AMG or supported the Maker Movement in some way. I was given less than 24 hours to give them the list (to complicate things we needed to list people who were available in less than two weeks time AND this task was given to me the same week we were exhibiting at SwitchPoint and producing the 2015 Burlington Mini Maker Faire!) Given the circumstances I gave the White House a list of several local leaders (trying to confirm their availability before I submitted) and we let the White House choose who they wanted to invite.
From the list the White House invited Dr. William Harrison (Superintendent of Alamance-Burlington School System), Anne Morris (Executive Director of the Burlington Downtown Corp.) and Eric Henry (President of TS Designs and board member to many local start-ups) to join me at this event.
While there I also saw some folks that we had met at World Maker Faire, the Atlanta Maker Faire, and the Maker Summit in DC last year including Travis Good, David MacNair, and Peter Hirshberg. Also met some cool people like Andrew Coy from the Digital Harbor Foundation.
It was great to see so many enthusiastic people working to improve their communities around the idea of the Maker Movement. Interesting to see that even the big cities face some of the same problems we face here in Burlington. Great to see support from our Nation's government to help nurture and expand the Maker Movement.
I'll be writing more about this in a blog post soon. This event has been embargoed in the press and to social media until today. The reason was to bring the maximum impact in terms of promoting the National Week of Making and building more momentum in our communities.
For the National Week of Making I am going to be exhibiting at the National Maker Faire in Washington DC, building a Bench using CNC Technology that will be donated to the Kernodle Senior Center for National Elder Abuse Awareness Day by Alamance County DSS, giving a talk about my experiences with the Maker Movement at Alamance Community College, and producing Burlington's first "Burlington's Maker Takeover" event in Downtown Burlington. There may also be a few other events or surprises worked in before its over with!