Portland Community College Builds Maker Culture

Portland Community College Makers Manufacturing

Gregg Meyer, Interim Dean of Math and Industrial Tech at Portland Community College – Sylvania campus

There’s a saying that people will use to describe a person who is especially strong in some way: “A force of nature.”

One of my first stops, earlier this year, was to Portland, Oregon. There I met Gregg Meyer, the Interim Dean of Math and Industrial Tech at Portland Community College – Sylvania campus, and a man that I would consider a force of nature. Some people have tons of physical energy, and Gregg does, but in our few hours together I could constantly sense, in a figurative sense, this intellectual curiosity and hum, if you will.

We met in February when I drove to Portland to hang out with a few people to talk about the HP Sprout #GoMakeThings project, to hear the latest from area makers, inventors, business owners, and, a very pleasant surprise, to sit down with Gregg.

Sit down is not accurate — we practically ran around multiple buildings and areas so that he could show me the amazing maker space that the college is creating. And the manufacturing training areas they maintain or are expanding. Here’s an email snippet from one of our recent conversations to give you an idea of what Gregg is doing for the Portland student and maker population:

“Sorry for the slow response. I’m running two parallel digital fab camps with nearly 70 kids in total and it’s been a bit crazy. One is a high school student program that will earn them 8 college credits (3D printing, lasers, digitizing scanners, MasterCAM, CNC router and a project class). During this 4-week program they’ll design and fab an old-school board game from scratch using mostly rapid prototyping machines and a touch of metal working for dessert.

“The middle school program starting this morning will focus on digital vinyl cutters and learning how to build a micro-business around them (each kid gets to keep their own machine). 

“Then there’s my real job being dean of Math and Industrial Tech. Plus, I’ll have a new job, already starting, where I will be leading the development of a new PCC campus out in Scappoose, Oregon that is to become an Advanced Manufacturing Research Center consortium with regional universities and industry partners. That will be a dirt-up multi-year endeavor.”

Portland Community College Makers Manufacturing

As readers here know, I have been working on an HP Sprout project, using it in my workshop and experiencing what it has to offer for small business owners, indie artisans, and educators and students. I found myself genuinely impressed and decided to take it with me on various visits I had planned for 2016, traveling around the country. I only made a handful of stops, but as always, people and their creativity amazed me.

Gregg and PCC were one of those amazing stops. This sign says a lot about what he is trying to do, starting with PCC.

Portland Community College Makers Manufacturing

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You can check out what Gregg and PCC are up to here:

The Makerspace at PCC

STEM resources at PCC

Final Note: The HP Sprout Pro is a new kind of all-in-one computer that enables teachers and students to make, design, and customize the world around them. Let us know what you’re doing with Sprout by sharing ideas with me on Twitter and use the hashtag: #GoMakeThings.

Additional HP Sprout Resources

Tutorials and How-To’s

HP Sprout YouTube channel

Inspirational Projects

Where To See, Try, Buy

Disclosure: HP is a long-time client, having partly sponsored my national 3DRV roadtrip, and contracting me to do research and work on the Sprout. They have loaned me the HP Sprout Pro for part of this project.

In Category: #GoMakeThings, 3D Printing, STEM


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