Ken's answers for the 2018 Election

Hi, I’m Ken and I have been nominated for VP, Secretary and Director at large. Aside from work, I am a lifelong resident of Kansas. I currently reside in rural Butler County with my wife and three kids. I was working full time out of the area when a friend first introduced me to MakeICT. As a DIY’er, I was instantly excited about the opportunities associated with membership.

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

I have been a member of MakeICT since 2016 but until fairly recently I have mostly been working out of town which had limited my participation. In spite of this I have enjoyed giving numerous informal tours of the space to prospective members that showed up while I was working on my projects. I also have enjoyed opportunities to assist other members with their projects. Additionally, I have recently joined the security team and I look forward to meeting and assisting new members in that capacity.

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

I recently retired from 30 years of military service where I was the senior full time leader of my organization. As such my daily responsibilities include overseeing a diverse staff and operation as well as developing and implementing policy. I have over twenty years’ experience in program and organizational management within the DoD and private sector. Much of my leadership experience has been during transformational situations such as mission changes and standing up of new organizations. I also have a significant amount of experience in resource (financial and manpower) management, facility planning, and risk management. In addition to my official duties, I have several years’ experience in professional association leadership.

3.   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.

I have not served as a board member in past, but I have attended the last few board meetings.

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

Yes. My participation would be a priority.

5.   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 strive to build a more cohesive leadership team focused on the overall advancement and success of our organization. I would also work to improve communication within our membership, develop additional membership capabilities in the way of new tools/technology and training opportunities.


What should we do next?

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

It is a critical point for our organization. I feel that we lack unified strategic vision and planning.

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

We need to establish new facility requirements and timeline. Once we establish a long term plan we can make informed short term choices on current facility repairs and improvements. We also need to clarify the board’s/area leads’ roles and responsibilities. Additionally work is required to improve communication and engagement with our membership.

3.   How will you gauge whether we're successful as an organization?

The easiest metric we have is our membership. If we are managing to grow our membership numbers without neglecting retention of existing members, we are arguably a successful organization. It would also be useful to track facility/area usage and class attendance by members/non-members to draw valuable data.

4.   What should our priorities be in terms of trying to find a different space versus extending the lease on our current building?

The current facility has numerous deficiencies that would require a significant financial investment to mediate. It is also ill configured for current area requirements and lacks space to support future growth. It would be irresponsible to continue to make significant investments in a space that will not support growth.

5.   Do you think MakeICT should focus on one space down town or multiple satellite locations in underserved communities?

The overhead costs (financial and volunteer support) to operate multiple sites doesn’t seem feasible at this time. We should focus on one space in Wichita. Although, it is nice to be located downtown, I feel that other locations, within city limits that are outside downtown, should not be excluded from discussion/consideration.

How should we operate?

1.   Do you believe the Board should deal with day to day issues? Should area leads have more authority over day to day operations?

The board should focus on strategic planning and issues that cross area boundaries. We should concentrate on providing resources and support to the leads to manage and improve their areas. Most daily operations should be managed at the area lead level.

2.   Do you support an expansion of board terms from 1 year to 2 years? Why or why not?

I do not have a strong opinion on the terms issue as I feel it is somewhat a solution looking for a problem. I understand the proposed benefits of the change, but I do not believe the current terms have hurt our organization.

3.   Would a 2 year term affect your decisions to accept a nomination?

I am committed to the success of MakeICT regardless of service term.

4.   Would you support staggered elections June and December for general directors seats? Why or why not?

I do not firmly oppose staggered elections, but I am concerned that the proposed benefit of added continuity would be offset by the additional admin load of the extra election within the year. We do not possess a large leadership team with limitless resources and there will be a noticeable cost associated with the change that should be evaluated prior to action.

5.   Would you support staggered elections with half the board elected at each Annual meeting?

If terms are expanded to two years, I would be a proponent of staggered elections.

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

I do not have a specific item that I would work to “undo.” The challenge seems to be a lack of forward process.

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

A strategic growth plan that includes new facility requirements and timeline is required.

8.   Do you believe the entire membership should vote each year at the annual meeting on the organizations Standing Rules? Refer to Article III Section 2 of the bylaws.

That portion of bylaws should be revisited. It would make sense for a process to request a membership vote on “a” questioned rule. But to have a blanket vote on “all” the standing rules without cause seems to be non-productive.


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Tell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback. How did you handle it?

James, Thanks for the question. In this open forum, I am uncomfortable with the discussion of an actual counseling event but I can describe my feedback style which has evolved significantly over the years. As a young manager, I emulated my prior leaders which didn’t always yield the needed results. Some time ago I was offered a piece of advice from a senior leader, to “lead without emotion.” I reflected on the advice and it became very clear that many actions can easily be contaminated by misplaced passion. During corrective counseling, it is absolutely critical that emotion is excluded and the focus is not an attack on the person but a conversation about the conduct. In many cases, the counseling session includes an interview and training portions. In the interview portion we determine the facts of the discussed situation and in the training (or correction) portion, we discuss the undesirable results of the negative behavior and the desirable alternatives. This is an exercise in communication and success requires both parties to talk and listen. Corrective feedback is a key leadership function and requires adequate preparation for successful results.

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What techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organized?

If you could change three things about yourself, what would they be?

My main organization tools are lists and calendar reminders. Listed items that have deadlines receive a calendar reminder to be worked. For larger projects that involve multiply elements or members working together, a detailed timeline management plan is essential.

Three things to change…additional patience, less hesitant to delegate tasks, and greater ability to learn foreign languages.

Electronics and Rapid Prototyping – I have used the area to work on some small soldering projects. I am familiar with the tools that are available for use.
Ceramics – I have not yet used the area, but I can speak to the area’s capabilities.
FabLab – I am a regular user of the laser and 3d printers. Although I do not use the foam and vinyl cutters, I can speak to the capabilities.
Metalshop - I have used almost all the equipment in the metal shop.
Woodshop – I mostly have used the Shopbot, but I am familiar with the majority of the tools in the area.
Textiles – I have taken the Techsew and Sailrite authorization class.
Printmaking - I have taken the Print shop authorization class.
Jewelry Lab – I have not did anything with this area yet, but I can speak to the area’s capabilities.
I don’t think that it is essential that every member of leadership be an expert maker in all areas, but it is vital that they possess the knowledge of the available tools in order to properly promote MakeICT.