Jeff Eck: 2019 Election Questions

Tell us about yourself

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

Building the woodshop with Mike Hutton, building with metal shop with Gavin, assistant lead to Gavin and Jeremiah L, teaching the metal shop classes. I haven’t been as active since I stepped down from assistant metal shop lead. I was a bit burned out, but I am ready to work again!

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

I have been with MakeICT since we were in the Delano District. I’ve only missed a couple of maker Mondays in all this time. I am even-tempered and look for dissenting opinions so that either I or both can learn something new. I was approached by a current board member to run for an at large board position. I have nearly only used tools at MakeICT to build MakeICT, baring a tiny project or playing here and there. I am not a part of MakeICT for me, I am a part of the Maker community and want others to be able to make as I do. The more people making thing, the better our world will be.

  1. 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?

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

Yes, I have shown my devotion and have been present as much as possible.

  1. 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 work with the other board members to provide the makerspace Director with all the tools, money, help needed for the Director to operate the makerspace with the Area Leads. As an At Large Director I would bring my experiences being self-employed metal worker, something that hasn’t been part of our leadership.

What should we do next?

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

The amazing turnout on the vote over the new building shows that our members feel the Makerspace needs more room. It was a mandate having 83% yes and 200 voters, that’s more people voting in that poll than vote for the Board of Directors.

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

If elected I plan to work with everyone towards the goal of a new building.

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

I hope to see a steady membership growth, steady income stream to fund what needs to be funded, grant money received and things being made. More making is what I call success.

  1. How do we keep and grow membership?

With the increased area A new building will bring, we will have the opportunity to build more areas for ‘new’ things to be made. This, in turn, will interest more people to join in and make their kind of things. For instance, if we had purchased the school, I was aiming to build a community garden that would have been for members and the locals. Not only food but also flowers beds. Similar to the woodworkers guild there are other clubs we could get involved with us with new programs like a community food and flower garden and that is just one of my ideas…

How should we operate?

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

While I appreciate everyone who has given of themselves to serve in leadership positions, I feel we were failed in regards to the School building opportunity. From a distant viewpoint, I believe there was a breakdown of communication between our leadership, building committee, realtor, to the seller that lead to the retraction of the sellers offer. If my hypothesis is correct, I’d move that once the building committee builds the “foundation” of the new building that the Board of Directors take the lead and handle the purchase.

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

Purchase of a new build.

  1. How much Autonomy should Area Leads Have?

Nearly full autonomy. I would like to see a strong Makerspace Director handle all operations of the makerspace and the leads. Reporting to the board what has been done and their places, etc.

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

I have zero in grant writing. On fundraising, I am self-employed so selling comes natural, I also built some tables with Paul Mesburg (Spelled wrong) for the first fundraising auction that brought in some cash. I am planning on a new fundraising event that would happen after the purchase of a new building.

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

I try to make people feel like an extended family so to speak. I bring tacos and snacks when I can to help the new faces see that we are all chipping in and that all are welcome to partake with us. One of the biggest issues new people have had is finding out how and where they can get involved. When I was a newbie and was just getting my feet wet I didn’t know where, how I could help out.

I believe we need to organize our to-dos, with the new kiosk give people a way of seeing how they can pitch in. I’d also like to see more community building events. Our semi-annual meetings are great, but if it were just for fun, I think we might get more people to come. Ice cream socials, collaborative challenges on building things, a community garden, and so on.

Follow on

  1. 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 am never certain of what is to come, but I will be a member either way.

  1. Have you read our bylaws 1 and standing rules?

Yes, I was present when many were discussed and implemented.

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

I know metals, I play with wood, I have little experience in the other departments. I personally do not feel that talent in using the tools has much to do with the ability to listen and lead an organization such as ours.

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

At times I mean something but am not able to find the best words to be understood in the manner I am intending. See, right there. I openly admit my shortcomings and ask those I am around to either be patient while I try to make sense or pitch in and help me. In a vacuum, I can learn nothing, but with someone who has another view, we both may learn something and profit from the conversation. I’ve tamed my temper years ago, I only raise my voice in the car as I yell at other drivers (windows up, of course, wouldn’t want them to hear me).

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

Simple, work. I start my days between 2-3am as my back pain doesn’t let me sleep through the night. Being a micro business, I have to do everything, so I work a lot…

  1. 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’d like to see us move into a new building in a residential setting. I feel with that kind of location we would be better suited for near community outreach that would help us to obtain the skills to better serve our city.

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