Member Spotlight: Hackforge

What is Hackforge? Hackforge is a makerspace and a community. Our communal workspace, or makerspace, is  located in the front of the Windsor Public Library – Central Branch. We are advocates for capacity building within the tech world and work to educate the public about the possibilities in technology. Products/services you provide? In our makerspace, we host workshops, Tech Talks, 3D printers, and get-togethers.  This is a practical space to work on projects of all kinds. We give our volunteer access to tools, material, and space for free.  In the community, we do outreach and education. This summer we worked with the Windsor Public Library hosting workshops for kids on 3D printing, robot building, and computer programming. Through a three year Trillium Grant, we have Open Data Windsor Essex, which assists local organizations release their information as open data. Hackforge is a place for those working or interested in technology. We have a weekly group for programmers, the Software Craftsman Guild, where they work on code, network, and talk about best practices in the field. HackWE is our annual hackathon, in partnership with WEtech Alliance. The third HackWE was earlier in October and had both professional and student teams using science open data to develop new projects. Anything new and exciting happening within your company? With the support of a Trillium grant, Hackforge has teamed up with Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor to launch 10to1. Beginning in 2015, this project will offer computer skills training workshops for women for free. 10to1 refers to the current male to female ratio in tech workplaces today. In one of the fastest growing industries, women are severely underrepresented. 10to1 aims to bridge that gap by teaching new computer skills, creating a community of support, and advocating for women in the IT field. How did you come up with your company name? One day in 2010, Aaron Mavrinac, Dylan Herbert, Will Ward, and Alan Laudicina were sitting on a roof and brainstorming names for a Windsor hackerspace.  “To hack”, part of the tech DIY culture, means to modify and change. Dylan suggested Forge as a nod to Windsor, our very industrial city. A name was born. Hackforge’s motto is “with many hammers, we strike one forge.” What tech gadget or resource (i.e. blog, magazine, online tool, app, Youtube video, etc) has played a role in growing your company? 3D printers are a great symbol for what we do. Right now, they just becoming accessible to the public outside of a commercial and industrial setting.  Many people have heard about 3D printing, but have yet to see it in action. At Hackforge, we do 3D printing demonstrations at various events. This machine is the trojan horse to learn more about DIY tech, creative uses in technology, and modifying the world. The 3D printer has helped Hackforge grow because it’s brought so many people in, whether to see it at the space or at a demonstration. What idea(s) do you have to help accelerate our local Tech community? Tell us in 140 characters. We’ll tweet it! We can accelerate Windsor’s tech community by capacity building and supporting a culture of mentorship and inclusivity. What are your social media links and website URL? (to encourage members to follow you on Twitter and LIKE you on Facebook!) Twitter: @hackforge Instagram: @hackforge Why did you join WEtech Alliance? We’re glad to partner with WEtech through various events to foster that tech community in Windsor. The collaborative nature of the organization fits well with what we do every day at Hackforge. We share the same vision of innovation.