Lena Weisman of the Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools and Tech talks speaks with Ron Thomas, Executive Director at TinkerMill and its involvement in the community.
Ron Thomas has always been a “maker.” Throughout school Thomas has loved to put things together, but was never quite sure what field of science or engineering he wanted to enter. After earning a math degree and working in “corporate America” as an account manager for 5 years, the idea for TinkerMill came along. Pitching in approximately $300 each, 25 founders, including Thomas, created TinkerMill’s seed money to start in the summer of 2013.
What is the vision for TinkerMill, what is the goal?
We believe that there is a large need for the local community to have, “easily accessible education and technological innovation.” TinkerMill’s facilities provide the community with professional prototyping tools and materials, expert resources, including engineering, design, and business development professionals. TinkerMill’s goal is to be a new resource in the community for people to develop new products, teach skills, and to start new businesses.
What kind of facilities does TinkerMill have available to the community?
There are many facilities and resources available to the community through TinkerMill. Ron Thomas likes to say, “if you can imagine it, we can help you build it.” TinkerMill has everything from woodshop machinery to pottery and glasswork, they also do robotics, electronics, drones, welding, blacksmithing, and metal casting. TinkerMill also works with ameture radio, laser cutters, a pick and place machine, and many other resources as well.
Have you seen TinkerMill make positive impact in the community, and if so how?
Ron Thomas states that he has been very lucky to see the huge impact that TinkerMill has had on the community. enabling between 30 and 35 business to be founded in the last three years. TinkerMill has watched many adults and teens come through to learn many different skills, and a handful of TinkerMill’s participants have been able to apply for patents for their developed products. Thomas states that it has been wonderful to watch a community of makers, engineers, artists and others come together to make something new.
How does someone join TinkerMill?
“It is very easy to join TinkerMill! It is recommended that you attend one of their open houses, where you will receive a tour of their facilities. TinkerMill’s open houses are every Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and TinkerMill’s member meetings are every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. and are open to the public. It is advised to attend the Sunday open house to see the facility and to Attend the Tuesday meetings in order to meet more people.”
Do you have anything else you would like to mention?
“TinkerMill is very proud to be involved in such an amazing community and is located at 1840 Delaware Place in Longmont, CO and visit www.TinkerMill.org for more information.