2019 Election Nominee Questions for Josh Robinson

Tell us about yourself

What are some favorite things you have already done for MakeICT?

Becoming the Metalshop lead + teaching classes

What in your opinion qualifies you to be a board member?

I have served on multiple boards in the past, none with memberships quite the size or challenges of MakeICT .

I tend to be levelheaded often thinking over things before I react. I generally care about the future of the Makerspace and want the best for MakeICT members.

If you have served on the Board in the past, what do you feel you did right? What do you think you did wrong, or could have done better?

This is the first time I have been nominated for the board.

Are you able to be at Board meetings, Maker Mondays and other events for the duration of your term?

Yes, I say I have attended most of the Maker Mondays in my 2 years as a member helping with set up and representing the Metalshop. I cannot say that I will be able to make 100% of

the meetings and maker Mondays as due to work I am subject to must travel for emergencies. I would be able to facetime or Skype to the board meetings thou.

It is our mission to innovate, learn, and build community at the intersection of art, technology, science, and culture. How would you support our mission as leadership?

I would like to encourage more project classes where instead of learning a single machine people can work on a project and create. the wood shop uses this format in many classes

IE “Make a Tung drum” “Make a stool” “Make a ring” and I think it is inspired I would like to host and encourage members to bring and teach more project workshops.

What should we do next?

MakeICT needs a different building We have several areas that are so cramped, and I hear so many complaints about space we need to move somewhere where we can grow.

It breaks my heart on Maker Mondays when I see people walk out of Ceramics and I hear things such as “I’d love to do that but it’s way too small in there” or my personal Fav

(Person 1) “We could make our own dishes” (Person 2)“Yeah I think I seen room for a teacup in there”

What are your thoughts about MakeICT’s direction in the coming year?

We need to move towards finding a forever home for the Makerspace one that keeps dues low, has room to grow and is in a safe area.

What’s your agenda for what you want to accomplish in the coming year?

Help with finding a new building, Help encourage people to volunteer more than just a few times.

How will you gauge whether we’re successful as an organization?

I’d say over all member happiness, membership numbers, number of classes and class reviews.

How do we keep and grow membership?

Education, Involvement, Space

I feel many members feel a lack of ownership and buy-in with the current space, we should work on helping the new members not feel so overwhelmed and lost when they first join.

More maker activities where members can just show up and be part of the community would be a great start. I have been tossing around a few ideas in my head on what these could be.

How should we operate?

Carefully making sure to not touch the sides! Seriously thou we need to continue the efforts and strides that have been made this year with getting MakeICT’s financials in order.( David Springs has devoted countless hours to catching up the books from past years THANK YOU DAVID!) We should encourage, recognize and reward those members that constantly go above and beyond for the maker space.

We have a member right now that spends so much of her time cleaning and organizing around the space. I do my best to give her my classes for free and help her with any projects
she wants to do but I do not know of any other recognition for the countless hours she spends

Tell us one thing the Board did in the last 12 months that needs an undo. Be specific.

While I feel this resolved itself (in a bad way) I was very displeased at the elected board members last year that decided to quit and burn everything on their way out.

The use of mass mailings, the abandoning of areas at the space and the constant trash talking because something happened that you did not like was childish and
destructive to MakeICT anything that could be done to prevent these actions by a board member should be done. If someone is running for the board, they should be able to put MakeICT
before their own personal interest.

Tell us one thing not done in the last 12 months by the Board that still needs done. Be specific.

We did not acquire a forever home for the Makerspace.

How much Autonomy should Area Leads Have?

I think the Area Leads should be completely in charge of the decisions of their areas. they know the members that use their areas and I really feel they take pride of ownership of an area when they are the ones in charge. the board should be a resource available to the area leads, they should assign the best leads possible and have little input over what an area lead does unless the membership complains.

What experience do you have in grant-writing or fundraising?

I have no grant writing experience. Fundraising is limited Raffles, Sales and Auctions

What are your ideas on promoting Volunteerism and a Community Mindset at MakeICT? (i.e. Scholarships, funded leadership conferences…)

We need volunteer recognition we need rewards and encouragement for those that give so much extra time to the space.

I have not seen any practical use for funding people to go to leadership conferences. I would like to see MakeICT be able to offer Scholarships to people
to learn new skills that they would in turn bring back and teach members at MakeICT.

Do you promise you can serve out your entire term until next June? Do you predict that you’ll be open to running for a second or third term so MakeICT has a continuous, stable board of directors?

I should have no problems serving out my year. It would be my hopes that I will be able to do a great job being on the board and people would want to nominate me for future years.

Have you read our bylaws 1 and standing rules?

Yes quite a few times actually

What areas of the makerspace are you proficient/not proficient in?

Proficient in, Metalshop , FabLab, Ceramics , Woodshop

not proficient in, Screen printing, ERP, Textiles

What are the best and worst aspects of your leadership and communication styles? What can you do to improve or mitigate your worst quality?

My best aspect of my leadership is my dedication. If i say I will do the best job I can that’s what you will get.

My worst aspect is I am stubborn and often unforgiving once a person proves they will not do what they say I tend to never trust them again and will do the work myself instead of risking them failing the team. I could improve by giving people second chances and not expecting perfection if I do.

If MakeICT didn’t exist, what would you do with your time?

More projects at home, more Activism.

What steps would you take outside the Maker space to continue growth of the knowledge of our existence, so we’re not Wichita’s “best kept secret”?

I feel talking about the space, Wearing MakeICT logo clothing having signs up at other creative locations about MakeICT is the way to go.

Positive word of mouth is key.

I rarely talk to someone about the makerspace that does not attend a Maker Monday after we talk.

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Hey, Josh - thanks for running. You really stepped up to the plate when we needed an area lead, and I’m glad your considering yet another step. I think you have a lot of initiative and personal integrity, and I appreciate that about you.

I see some very practical uses directly in your other responses:

Any of those things (and countless others) could be (or perhaps could have been) aided (or maybe avoided) by supporting our leaders and future leaders with good training. Instead of just hoping for good leaders, what can we do to create good leaders?

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Thank you Dom,
I do not feel I articulated this very well thank you for giving me the chance to explain.

I completely agree with you that we need to have ways to help people be leaders if they have that drive…
My statement was intended to mean I have not seen any practical ways that MakeICT has done that I faintly remember 1 public speaking workshop but that is all I can recall. .
I would like MakeICT to be in a position to offer scholarships for people to learn those skills or other making skills at conferences and bring those skills back to MakeICT to teach others.

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Ah, ok. Your original statement seemed dismissive of the idea of leadership training in general, but now it sounds like there just hasn’t been a good case made for one that makes sense to you. That’s perfectly reasonable and makes sense to me. Sorry I misunderstood, and thanks for clarifying.

FWIW, I’ve heard good things about some of the training that the Kansas Leadership Center provides, but can’t speak for it myself.

Oops I thought this thread was kind of your approach to the questions (I'm on the ballot for the 2019 Board elections) - can I merge them?

What ever you feel you need to do is fine.
I started the “I’m on the ballot” post before Doug posted the questions then I filled out the questions.
I am sure people have seen me talking so I doubt merging will hurt anything.

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Kansas Leadership Center has a program for non-profits. I have received and shared the information with the Fundraising/Grant committee. I hope to get into the teeth of it during my road trip next weekend and come back with a plan to make us a good candidate for the program. It’s good to see candidates that acknowledge this need and hopefully we will have the tools in the near future.

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Hi everyone,
Since I have been nominated for a few positions on the Board this year and I have decided to accept the nominations and I will not be able to attend the annual member meeting as I committed to a Charity event in Iowa before the date for our meeting was announced.
I figured I should make an about me post. ( Bare with me … I generally do not talk about myself).

My name is Josh Robinson and I have been a member at MakeICT for around the two years.
In my personal life I work as an IT professional administering a Helpdesk ,servicing servers and end user work stations.

I am an activist that raises awareness and support for a number of issues including LGBTQA Youth, Aids awareness and Human rights.

I am an avid 3d printer owning 5 of my own printers at home (I don’t have a problem really!!)
I spend time on a number of other making projects and hobbies but this post will be long enough without that endless list.

Since joining Makeict I have found a passion for volunteering my time, I have helped set up for and aided in what I would call the majority of the Maker Mondays while I have not made every maker Monday I would say I have been at most of them.
.
I have also volunteered my time to be on the Security team where I have helped with the key process and building safety.

I assist with the Events team helping to set up classes and events on the schedule for people to sign up for.

For around a year I have also served as the Metalshop lead where I work with two amazing assistants (John Miranda and Jimmy Tennant ) to upkeep of the machines and help facilitate learning of the metal arts.
I give the safety classes and teach a number of various classes around the shop. mostly based on feed back and the subjects our members request including but not limited to , Sand Blasting , powder coating and Cnc plasma.

I believe the 2019 board will be one that will sets the pace for the future of MakeICT and the Makerspace and I would love to help make that future the best that it can be.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you have via reply this post or e-mail (- "Josh.Robinson@makeict.org " and I will try to respond in a timely manor.

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What’s the 2 most important things the board should focus on in the coming year?

Have you taken leadership roles that you feel make you more suitable for the board?

Do you intend to be at all board meetings?

I know a couple of these questions are on the questionnaire, but those must not have been sent out yet.

I feel the 2 most important things the board should focus on are .

  1. Member involvement, By this I mean we get people excited about the space they start helping by volunteering their time and very few stay active at the space for more than a few weeks. I would like to see the board helping to plan repeat activities and events that encourage and reward people for helping out at the space or being active at the space. IE volunteer game night, volunteer cookouts etc.

  2. Securing a permanent home for the Makerspace.
    I am definitely a " We need a new home" supporter. I feel the board needs to focus its efforts on finding and securing a forever home for the Makerspace one that fits the needs of the members by keeping the dues low, has room for us to grow in a safe area.

I have served on several non profit boards some the most recent two would be I served as the secretary and member at large for 2 years with the CSMA and I am currently serving as Treasurer for a Local Mission house of the SPI.
Past experience also includes multiple years as President + VP of a RC Club + Semi Pro LARP groups.

I do intend to make all board meetings however please understand sometimes I travel for work emergencies and may be out of town with little notice however I would never see a reason I couldn’t Skype or Facetime during the meeting times.

I have not seen anything for a 2019 questionnaire so feel free to ask more and more questions if I reply twice I reply twice no worries.

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What is your opinion on raising dues to afford a new building?

I feel it should be avoided if at all possible.
One of the best things about Makeict is that it is affordable to almost everyone.
Some people would be willing to pay $200 a month for a good space but that is not reasonable to a single income family with 3 kids.
I love that MakeICT is affordable to the low income to the college student to the artist.
I also understand we have many members that rarely come to the space to them its worth $25.00 a month just to have the space available to them even if they do not use it. We raise the rate and we risk it turning into a “Why should I pay more when I don’t use it” situation.

I also understand a new building will come with more cost and if it was decided a due increase was necessary for MakeICT to have a future I would make sure to push for ways that our members that can only afford the $25. a month still had ways to maintain membership via work exchange scholarships and discounts for the lower income.

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What are your plans for keeping dues at $25 a month, could it be less? Why or why not?

I think selecting the right building for MakeICT is key to this.
Finding the right location where we are not paying excessive rent and utilities will the first step.
A forever home where we can put our minds together and implement long term cost saving devices , timers, insulation and sensors with a cooling system that did not need to run for 25 hours to bring the temperature down 2 degrees could go a long way.
Making sure that space has enough room to create is also very important. I personally rarely use the Makerspace to make anything simply because its not comfortable space wise if people are comfortable using the space I feel they will maintain their memberships for longer leading to higher memberships leading to higher total income from dues and classes without needing to raise the $25.00 dues.

I think $25.00 is more than a fair price for membership. However, I do feel we do not do enough to aid people that simply cannot afford that. From what I have heard we have multiple discounts and scholarship methods available … I do not know where to find any information on them however and I tend to think that is a problem…
I am in support of offering various work exchange options and senior discounts to help people create.
I do not know where MakeICT’s current income vs expense chart looks like but I feel we have room to help lower income people create.

Which is more important in your opinion? A new building or keeping dues at $25 per month?

New building. I feel staying at our current location will lead to the end of MakeICT.

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:skull: That sounds really ominous! For what it’s worth, MakeICT is a community with a makerspace - not the other way around. We did quite a bit (workshops, outreach, social events, etc), before we ever had any kind of facility. Losing our first home helped land us in our current space, and that was the best thing that happening to us at the time. Things would be different if we didn’t have a home, of course, but then again, things are always different anyway.

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It was not intended to be ominous, However I do consider myself to be a realist.
I feel the reality is the vast majority of our membership joined and maintain their memberships to MakeICT due to the Makerspace rather than the community and innovation benefits.
The loss of a home Makerspace would be catastrophic to the membership numbers people would cancel their memberships within hours of the Makerspace closing.

While I am sure there will always be members of MakeICT regardless of a Makerspace. Some people loved when MakeICT did not have a Makerspace some people loved the 10 -20 people getting together and having fun format playing and learning together so losing the Makerspace wouldn’t cause them to quit.

I feel however that if your running for the board you should represent the membership and I would venture to say a vast portion of our membership want a Makerspace so it is my aim to do everything I can to ensure the future of our Makerspace for generations to come.

Well of course. Having a makerspace was always the endgame, and if we ever did lose our home, as unlikely as that may be, it would be the top priority.

I think this is maybe where we primarily differ in opinion. It seems like you may be using member count as the primary metric for success, whereas I believe the impact we have in the Wichita community to be of far greater importance. Certainly they are correlated, and the latter is much, much more difficult to quantify and measure. Even if we had zero members though (what it sounds like you mean by “the end”, we could still do good work in the community. If we stopped having a positive impact, that would be my definition of “the end” - but even if that happened, there’s no un-doing the impact we’ve already had. Just a different perspective I guess.

There are plenty of people (yourself included, I’m pretty sure) who are committed enough to the maker movement and culture in Wichita such that in the extremely unlikely event that MakeICT found itself to be without a facility, it wouldn’t be forever and probably not even for very long.

Realism is good, but to say that staying in our current location “will lead to the end of MakeICT” feels extremely hyperbolic and pessimistic, especially considering our history.

It is how I feel. To me the real value of MakeICT is not the equipment and tools or even the building. It is in the people.The metric for success that I gauge by is how happy the members are. Right now I feel they are not very happy at all. They want a new location , I strongly believe we will not be able to extend our lease at the current location after the contract needs to be renegotiated, I do not feel most of our members that are putting in the work are willing to keep pouring their time and effort into the current space.

I see the makers at the space that are putting in the work,teaching the classes, fixing the machines being area leads and volunteering they are disheartened I hear them saying why bother trying, I see them wanting to just give up and quit because they do not believe the Makerspace has a future and if it does they do not want that future to be in the current location…

I understand my statement may be seen as hyperbolic and pessimistic and my thoughts that losing the Makerspace means losing members may not make everyone happy and not everyone will value the membership as I do but the truth of it is I believe the heart and soul of MakeICT is its members.

I try to go by the saying you cannot pour from an empty cup right now I feel our cup is fairly empty.we need to make sure we take care of our members and give them comfort in a future that make them happy and excited to be members and happy to help out if we want to continue to give to the community and continue to push the maker movement.

I am not ashamed to say that I am one of those members that really thought about giving up and quitting after losing the opportunity of the old Booth elementary school. I have not “made” anything at the Makerspace in over 7 months. I pay my dues ,volunteer my time and fix stuff in the space but I do not use the space to create.

When I got the e-mails saying I was nominated for so many board positions I thought of it as the members wanted me to represent them by serving on the board the membership knows how I feel about getting the Makerspace a forever home they see me walking around asking members to sign support letters to the board for getting a new building, So decided to not give up and to do the best I could to help give MakeICT the future that the members want. If I get elected that will be my main goal.

As a side note while I have been typing this I received a text saying how intelligent I sound on the forums…We have talked in person you know I am passionate about Makeict and its future but I’m rarely the best at expressing myself especially via a text format, its after midnight now so I am sure this turned into a bit of a ramble. Please ask for any clarifications for anything you didn’t understand or want more details on.