It’s just a few weeks away. March 9, TechShop is set to open its doors in Bakery Square. The Pittsburgh Technology Council has been following every move. We had techShop on TechVibe Radio in January and we even shot a little promo video.
I just got back from from some pre-media events this afternoon and the machinery is being installed. Activity is all over the place. TechShop Founder Jim Newton gave me a personal tour of the progress. He’s double stoked to be making the final descent and land TechShop in Pittsburgh next month as its seventh location.
TEQ has coverage of TechShop in its upcoming March issue, but we’ve decided to provide Techburgher readers with a first read of the story. It’s right below, by yours truly!
TechShop to Build Dreams in Pittsburgh
When I opened the doors at San Francisco’s TechShop last summer, I became immersed in a melee of makers intensely toiling with seemingly every tool and technology required to turn an idea into a product right at their fingertips.
I never heard of TechShop until a few hours before stepping foot inside, and I was completely stoked to learn that the membership-based, do-it-yourself workshop and fab studio had plans to open its doors in Pittsburgh.
Less than a year later, TechShop will cut the ribbon on March 9, offering local makers, artists, entrepreneurs and anyone else a launch pad for their ideas —a real place for inspiration through perspiration.
With proximity to tech companies, a revitalized East End and the universities, Dan Woods, Chief Experience Officer and VP of Business Development, couldn’t be more excited for TechShop’s latest location. There are six TechShops across the country with more in the works.
“There’s an incredible convergence of art and technology here,” said Woods. “We love the location here with all of the neighborhoods. This is a convergent area.”
At TechShop, Woods is responsible for the general management of products, corporate strategy and sales. Before joining the team, he was the co-founder of MAKE Magazine, which focuses on how-to projects for makers.
TechShop members have access to a world-class workshop with machines, tools, training, inspiration and support they need to pursue their passions, develop new skills and launch new businesses.
Tech Shop at a Glance:
• More than $1 Million Worth of Machines, Tools and Equipment, including CNC prototyping tools to industrial sewing and textiles equipment, laser cutting and electronics, to
welding and machine shop equipment.
• Hundreds of Classes Each Month for Members & Non-Members
• Friendly, Knowledgeable, Highly Trained staff
• Community of Innovative Makers, Artists and Entrepreneurs
• Group Event Spaces and Workshops
In addition to the more than 4,000 individual members who belong to TechShop, corporations are increasingly turning to TechShop as a strategy for motivating employees, developing new workforce skills and fueling innovation. Universities are partnering with TechShop as an open innovation studio for their faculty, students and alumni, said Woods.
TechShop is collaborating with the VA Innovations team and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to provide cutting-edge training and equipment for veterans seeking to become more competitive in the job market or aiming to become successful entrepreneurs. This effort supports the VA Innovation Initiative’s (VAi2) interest in finding new ways of providing Veterans with resources that help them to serve an important role in America’s economy. More info to come on the program at http://www.va.gov/VAi2/TechShop.asp
“We provide folks with the light bulb, a-ha moment. You can feel the satisfaction of discovery,” said Robert Thomas, Director of Experience, with his drywall dust-covered TechShop hoodie zipped up tight during a walk through of the facility while still under construction. “The greatest component is
allowing people to make their own way. Set a path and allow people to create a product and get it in the market. Incredibly bright folks will be accessing this space.”
Upon visiting TechShop, visitors will immediately notice that each of the work areas has pony walls to provide line of sight across the shop. Thomas explained that this is to promote collaboration and interaction with members. He said TechShops are places where members build real communities and relationships.
“Techshop is opening in Pittsburgh. This is one of many new dreams to come true for a city now flourishing in creativity and innovation,” says Kim Harvey, Director of the Creative Technology Network at the Pittsburgh Technology Council. “This is yet another opportunity for us to make, play and work our way toward showing the world the vibrant city we have become.”
TechShop CEO Mark Hatch appears to be equally excited about the latest location.
“Pittsburgh has been at the heart of American ingenuity, making and manufacturing since it was founded. We are excited to open this location in an area with a deep
ecosystem of great technology-related companies and institutions,” says Hatch. “Our newest location will offer programs that support the growing community of makers and innovators by providing tools, equipment, software and instruction in a large, open workshop space.”