Notes from July 2021 meeting of Pueblo Makes

Karen reminded everyone that 23 July is the last day to enter Fine Arts competition at the State Fair. The Item entered will be due 31 July. See

Zach will invite TankMatez to speak at the August meeting. Karen will speak about the Arts Alliance at the September meeting.

Cathy reported that Tuxedo Ranch has been busy, for example, doing mugs for Fuel & Iron, working with the Pueblo Food Project, and working with CSU-Pueblo. Ana Luz had invited Jessica who is a mental health professional and artist in many media, including pour painting.

Russ reported that he gave Tracy Samora at the CSU-Pueblo Alumni office two names of woodworkers who might help her out with her project. Jane said that a third person had responded to her and she passed that name along to Tracy also.

Jane is working on updating the community maker calendar at

Micah Espinoza introduced himself as the new Director of Community Engagement at Pueblo Diversified Industries (PID) and Project Impact Cooperative (PIC), taking over because Susan wanted to be in a part-time role. He joined PDI a month ago. He has a bachelors in health care management and masters in organizational leadership. While he grew up in Rye, he lived in Utah most of his life. On a consulting trip to Pueblo, he met David Pump, who invited him to join PDI.

PDI has existed for 54 years, started by parents of special needs children and adults. The facility on the south side is about 5.5 acres with five separate buildings. Currently they offer services to about 160 individuals. Pre COVID the number was closer to 200 and they are getting back up to full capacity. On one of Micah’s early days at PDI, the fire department set up an obstacle course, which was the first time everyone had been together since before COVID; it was emotional and exciting.

PDI has a big focus on community integration. Before PDI, the model had been to separate people with special needs, which took them out of the community and deprived all parties of important connections. COVID let us all feel what that isolation was like. PDI offers everyone a chance to integrate into the community.

Project: Inspire Cooperative (PIC) is a separate entity but housed on the same campus. Artisans at PIC create, display, and sell artwork. PDI keeps a portion. PIC gives artisans exposure and an opportunity to sell. Artists are also encouraged to teach classes. PIC incorporated in December 2019 and a few months later COVID hit so they had to cancel classes, but PIC is ready to start classes again. The artists include jewelers, painters, and more. There are two kilns on site. The cooperative structure  is important.  People operate as apprentices or specialists while learning how to produce the artwork and earning a percentage. A specialist can create replicate the art start to finish on his or her own.

The Southern Colorado Youth Development also has office space. The use dirt bikes to teach life skills, such as how to take care of things. They give youth positive adult role models.

ActivArmor just joined.; they make 3D printed casts and will now produce at the PDI campus. This gives people served more opportunities for job exploration and to be part of community. Micah invited everyone out for tour. The most frequent comment he hears is: I had no idea.

Karen recommended the tour, even if you think you know what is going on.

Russ said (in the chat box) “The PDI concept is really a wonderful opportunity for ‘special needs’ individuals. My sister-in-law lives with us since her mom passed away 6 years ago. For a number of years she worked at a similar institution in Cleveland before moving here, and she has so many good memories of her time at Ruby Copy and Mail. She often brings up activities and other clients she interacted with and it was a very important developmental time and opportunity for interaction with others at her same level. A really good experience for a number of years for her.”

Ana Luz asked about space for PIC. Micah said it is located in Building 2 and there are open spaces for artists.

Jane asked about pay scales, which has been a sensitive issue in the past. Micah said the way it was done in the past wasn’t right as we hold our standards today. In past, workers were paid a subminimum wage. We fought to get rid of that legislation which will go away by the end of the year. People are paid a piece rate.

Karen said she was impressed by the special devices designed to help people do their jobs well.  Micah and Karen described some such devices used to punch key chains, assemble a sewing kit, etc. Jane said such devices are part of industrial engineering, helping people do their jobs well.

Micah said that the director, David Pump, has institutionalized a lot of ideas to make the place warm and friendly; for example, a mural is being painted. Again, Micah said: PDI, You Have No Idea. This past Saturday they had an event with dinner, live auction drinks, and a couple of hundred people.  Ladoris described apprentices and specialists working together as one cohesive unit during the event. Another event will take place on the 29th. There will be a harvest Fest October 9 on the Riverwalk. Vendor spaces are available for $25. .

Micah gave his contact information: Pueblo Diversified Industries, Project: Inspire Cooperative. 719-252-3897.

In response to a question from Paula, Micah said anyone who wants to learn is welcome in PIC; we ask them to join the cooperative for a $10 fee. The PDI website has a call for artists. Ladoris and Micah talked about the positive, emotional impact PDI and PIC have on the clients and on others, including themselves. Ladoris said it is so uplifting to be in that environment.

Micah said the majority of the support is grant funding, also contracts and events. He also talked about how clients need to sign up in different ways, depending on their age, abilities, living environment, and more. PDI is trying to educate the community about how to get funded.

Jim said that PDI is an unrecognized gem in our community that needs more engagement and more appreciation. The group discussed groups that Micah can reach out to for possible collaborations: the Pueblo Food Project, Share and Care, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Casa, and more.

Jane reminded everyone of the speaker series, The Dig, at the Senate Bar each Wednesday evening. She will be speaking 1 September on making.

We discussed having Pueblo Makes meet in person and suggested taking a survey. The group favored a hybrid style of meeting.

Pueblo Makes supports all makers in Pueblo. We meet 3:30-5pm, the third Tuesday of each month, currently by zoom. Next meeting dates are 17 August, 21 September, and 19 October. For more information or to be added to the email list, contact

Notes from June 2021 meeting of Pueblo Makes

Alice Hill gave us an introduction to iWill, which she founded in 2010 and which became a 501c3 in 2014.  While iWill has had the usual ups and downs of nonprofits, last year was a good year, in which iWill received a grant from NASA, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Pueblo County, to introduce aquaponics to Club members in Pueblo and other locations in southern Colorado (including Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Salida, Alamosa, Blanca, Avondale). Pueblo was only one of seven such grants awarded by NASA and the only one working with aquaponics.

Susan Finzel-Aldred showed us some photos of Club kids working with their kits, in which they grew alfafa and pea sprouts on the top and guppies on the bottom. Each kid got a tank to take home for the summer.  NASA wants to find scientists from rural communities and this project is an extremely exciting way to do that. The International Space Station has an aquaponics system and an astronaut from the ISS was on a zoom call with the kids. Other zoom calls involved other NASA scientists. The NASA project will be done in December having involved 150 kids, but talks are underway to see if NASA will continue to fund such activities.

Nate Miller gave us a virtual tour of the iWill aquaponics setup in Campbell’s Greenhouse on North Elizabeth. Longtime members of Pueblo Makes may remember that we toured a previous location in October 2019. We toured virtually today since it was 102 degrees in the greenhouse. Nate described each component, including the wide variety of plants being grown, the LED lights, the siphon and pump systems, all of which Nate designed and built and which take about 70 watts to operate. He emphasized that the bacteria do the work of converting fish waste into usable nitrogen for plants; he called this system a full ecosystem, an organic method of aquaponics. The guppies will soon be replaced by tilapia.  The plants being grown include Pueblo chile, lime, marenga tree, vegetables including lettuce, peppers and kale, aloe vera, ficus, and herbs.

The system uses a siphon to create an ebb and flow that forces a gas exchange in the roots.

The lettuce is grown in rafts, with their roots in water:

The signage was created by CSU-Pueblo Presidential leadership student Tezla Neighbours who has joined the project part time as an educational assistant.

Nate grew up helping his mother with fish tanks. He spent 20 years working in restaurants. He went to PCC culinary school. Realizing how broken our food system, he started working on aquaponics to grow food. It is expensive to buy systems, so he built about 11 different types, using parts he finds and parts from hardware stores. He has worked with people at Central High and then joined the iWill project.   This is the biggest system he has built.

This project is meant to be a display project, built to look flashy and to let people see the parts; a system for production wouldn’t look as cool. Wow is important for students. They want to look at the fish. This setup will show off technology and also grow some stuff we can harvest.

Elliott asked if anyone can visit the system, and Susan said yes, but urged people to visit in the morning when it is cooler. iWill is planning educational activities, including an open house and a tour, for July and August. In partner with Campbell’s, the educational part will include xeriscaping, how to have a system in the home to grow vegetables year round, health and nutrition, and the connection with sustainability.

Gregory asked if Nate has connected with Nick Gonzales of Tank Matez; they make bubble fish traps and are working on a coral reef. Nate said the technology is similar, but that it is hard to grow plants in salt water.  Gregory asked how large a system can be and Nate answered that with the raft system, as big as you want. Susan described systems in Denver in the Elyria Swansea neighborhood and at the Dahlia Center that are growing food for local restaurants, supplying a small grocery store, and providing free food to some local residents.

Alice emphasized the life changing effects on children. A child can grow a little food with their kit, then see the big system, and grow their imagination including what they can do in a career. Susan described how the lesson plans are designed to include social emotional learning components. After this stressful worldwide situation, people need connections and need to improve their mental health. NASA has documented the emotional benefits to astronauts on the ISS from eating fresh crunchy lettuce, not just rehydrated food for 5-6 months; these findings have implications for human space exploration.

Jane described the connections that led to the NASA grant, starting with Professor Jude DePalma, chair of CSU-Pueblo Department of Engineering, forwarding the grant opportunity to her, which she forwarded to Becky Medina of the Boys & Girls Clubs who connected with iWill. Jane stressed the importance of the connections we make.

Lois asked what plants the kids grew besides sprouts. Susan said each kit included seeds for herbs, peas, and lettuce. In the lessons, the kids do experiments on how to use the tank system and different ways to grow plants and fish. The kit is complete, with manual, log, pH test trips, activities, and measuring devices. Also, professional artists were hired to teach kids how to paint with watercolors. Karen applauded STEAM (science, technology, engineering, ART, and mathematics). Jane applauded the collection and analysis of data.

Gregory asked to include iWill in a new Pueblo youth docent training program (for places like Rosemount, etc). The program is being piloted at PSAS with Drew and Meral and has strong elements of leadership training. Nate said that he is already talking with Meral.  

Wyatt applauded the funding from NASA and asked about the potential for more funding. Susan said that she meets monthly with the NASA STEM Engagement office and talks are in progress. iWill would like to have an extended grant to provide more tanks to more kids at more Clubs and in the school. NASA has asked the team to present at a conference of all grant winners this fall. Susan said there are many roads we can go on with small tanks, demonstration systems, and school districts. We are trying to find stable funding.

The group thanked the iWill team for their presentation and their great work. Jane thanked Cheryl Anderson, executive director of iWill, for having volunteered the group to present at Pueblo Makes.

In community announcements, Gregory said that the Governor has signed legislation with funding for creative industries. Gregory said that legislator Leslie Harris deserves a lot of credit because she kept going back and saying the funding is not enough. The bill ( includes $6 million for film production and more for creative industries in general. There is no portal yet for application, but applicants will just need to be 18 years of age and a resident of CO.

Gregory also announced a 15-week contemporary speakeasy called The Dig at the Senate Bar. The dates are every Wednesday, June 30 to Oct 6, 6-6:45, then 15-minute Q&A. Each speaker will be a story teller, including Jane speaking on maker culture. Admission will include beverages and appetizers, with a different featured caterer each time providing dinner at additional cost. The title, The Dig, comes from the tag line of the Star Journal (Dig Deeper), which will be published as a weekly soon.

Yorell announced that Project Inspire will have Christmas in July on July 17, with fashion show, music, auction, raffle, and more. See Ladoris stressed the importance of this show in helping the coop recover from COVID. They are looking for sponsors.  Also see

Karen said that CROP, Creative Reuse of Pueblo has been open since March and is getting steady donations but needs more volunteers. The store is open Tu Th Sat 10 am to 3 pm but will add hours if volunteers will work other hours. Contact Karen at 242-6652 or On August’s First Friday, August 6, the Arts Alliance will have a show around LGBTQ+ and they are looking for art. There will also be a prom and an art project (perhaps a chalk mural).  

Lois asked about the plastic being collected and Gregory said that is happening outside BloBack Gallery in a large dumpster with a lid. Karen said that artist Helen Eberhardie Dunn (  is using the material, melting it into intriguing tapestries, and she will be doing more in future to keep plastics out of the ocean. Gregory said that a huge sculpture called the Heart that Helen did years ago and that was displayed in Oxford, has now arrived in Pueblo. She is doing repairs and working with Diana Hall of ActivArmor to add shields to the top of the heart. It will be displayed at the State Fair.  We discussed what types of plastics Helen is using and we concluded she is collecting and using plastic bags and wrappers.

Karen urged creatives to enter their creations in the State Fair as an inexpensive way to win decent prize money and bragging rights. See

Gregory said that the new executive director of the State Fair Foundation is doing amazing things.

Lois reported that the Woodturners are meeting face-to-face, will present at the fair, and will do demonstrations (turning tops and Christmas ornaments) during the first week of the fair.

Gregory said that BloBack Gallery recently had a panel on installation art. Installation art is a self-contained environment to experience that you enter into. The idea dates back to the 1930s and grew in the 1960s and 70s.

Pueblo Makes member Elliott was recently shown playing the dulcimer in a CPR article here:

Notes from May 2021 meeting of Pueblo Makes

The group heard presentations from two groups of CSU-Pueblo engineering students (now graduates) and from a student from PSAS.

The first group (Keiffer Butler, Wyatt Farris, Daniel Hoyle-Aguon) described and showed videos of their H.E.R.M.Es Firefighting Drone. Given coordinates for a suspected fire, the drone flies to that location, hovers, searches for the fire, then flies above thefire, drops a fire suppressant ball from a trap door, flies back to its starting location, and lands. A microcontroller is at the center of the design, which uses a commercial drone with an added 3D printed trap door component designed by the students. It also uses an OAK-D AI  integrated camera and a neural network trained to recognize a fire. Thermal sensors were considered, but they don’t have the necessary range and are too costly.

The second group (Au’lexandria Goodwin, Kelcie Nagler, Megan Nelms) described and showed videos of their Counterfeit Metal Sensor. The provision of metals by suppliers that do not meet specifications is a serious problem for many companies. This robotic system can accurately and consistently test material, currently limited to grades of aluminum, using eddy current sorting. The methods can be extended to nonferrous metals.

CSU-Pueblo Engineering Professor Neb Jaksic described the requirements for the year-long projects, including the requirement to acquire and use knowledge they hadn’t been taught in order to demonstrate life-long learning.

Meral Sarper, STEAM teacher at PSAS, provided a video ( of a presentation by PSAS student Willow Stephenson. Meral commented: “”I am very proud of all my students, especially Willow Stephenson who was a State Finalist for STEM Fair as well as for the Pueblo Entrepreneurship Competition! Here is her presentation last month at the PEC.” The Pueblo Makes group was impressed by Willow’s ability to present her ideas and answer questions.

On June 3 at 7 pm Rocky Mountain PBS will air a one hour documentary on the Pueblo flood.

On June 5, from 9am-1pm, the Downtown Association will hold a Pueblo Levee Walk to celebrate the opening of a new pedestrian bridge. See for tickets.

Pueblo Makes meets the third Tuesday of each month, currently by zoom link: The next meeting is 15 June 2021. Email to be added to the email list or for more information

Notes from April 2021 meeting of Pueblo Makes

  • Jane presented the following list, summarizing the results from the visioning exercise at our March meeting, led by Paula. The group added the second item, revised the fifth item, and liked the list. It reflects what we do and what we want to be.
  • Invite people in.
  • Educate people about Pueblo’s culture of making. What do you make?
  • Create a sense of community that nurtures the soul.
  • Provide the help that people need.
  • Promote the abundance of makers/creatives/artists/entrepreneurs in Pueblo.
  • Involve the kids.
  • Curate spaces and tools.
  • Gregory described a new project, Pueblo 4.0, involving the Mayor, the County Commission, D60, D70, CSU-Pueblo, PCC to reset the educational system. It will involve the reskilling revolution, teaching Digital, social-emotional skills, and innovation in learning systems.
  • The VFW, at 724 E 4th, will hold a Farmer’s Market, Crafts, and Vendors, every Saturday starting May 22, 7am to 1pm. For a vendor space, call Shelley at 719-406-5247.
  • El Pueblo History Museum will host a Smithsonian traveling exhibit on the history of Latino/a Baseball. See The Smithsonian has digitized several objects and made them available for 3D printing. Here’s a link to the available objects: – Alyssum Opens May 8 through Sep. Also softball. Looking for photos and objects to add from Pueblo. They will scan photos, take photos of objects this Saturday.  Drew might be able to do the 3D printing.
  • Tom Carrigan is leading a project Human Relations Commission to put together a calendar for next year with photographs of Hispanic history. An announcement will be posted on HRC page. Should PM sponsor a page?
  • Pueblo has about 20 blessing boxes now. Please check expiration dates on donated items.
  • Tom reported that the exhibit Food Art of Pueblo was a hit, as sponsored by the Pueblo Art Guild and Pueblo Food Council. The Mayor and BloBack Gallery gave awards presentation. There was a cheese carving.
  • Holly reported on the quilt show at El Pueblo Museum, with 108 quilts, made by 48 people from 7 different quilt guilds and by other individuals. There were 730 visitors, including many from Springs, Denver, Fort Collins. This was probably one of the first quilt shows since centers are starting to open up. Holly reported there were many positive comments on the show, the museum, the Riverwalk, and Pueblo.
  • Jane reported that the Pueblo Makes Facebook page has 653 followers and the group has 71 members. She also reminded us that we can post in the Reddit group.  
  • Sharon said that Rawlings library will be remodeled from Aug 2021 to August 2022. The new maker space will be 4500 square feet, which is five times the size of the current space. It will be include everything she asked for in the space. It is meant to be an “entry level maker space,” where someone can explore an idea they haven’t tried before and then be referred to experts (some from Pueblo Makes) and to other spaces. The library will be partnering with Goal Academy as classroom for them sometimes. IdeaCon will be held in person this year, outdoors, August 21, at Grome Park, with food trucks, and more.
  • Russ reported that the Woodturners are looking at possible space in the Art Hub but they need other people or groups to share the space.
  • Emily reported that TickTock will reopen soon at their new location in Central Plaza next to Bistoro. Also, the Arts Alliance (Karen), TickTock (Emily), and Pueblo Makes (Jane) are working together to break down silos and have the different communities work together. More announcements will follow.  Pueblo Makes will maintain a community calendar of maker events.
    • Drew reported that nine PSAS -12 education students moved from regionals to state STEM fair and some are finalists and could move to nationals. A student won $500 at SoCo Entrepreneurship competition. Meral has a new book; see Dr Kelly Gelhoff is working on vertical gardening with the students. The second grade class set up a blessing box in front of the school. 
  • This Saturday will be a Spring extravaganza at Project: Inspire Cooperative. On April 24th, at 2828 Granada Blvd. Bldg. 2, Pueblo, Co 81005. From 11am to 3pm. Enjoy music, food truck, activities for kids, and family fun. (We are 5 Star Safe!)
  • Tom discussed how the Food Project is asking: How is race reflected in all that we do? How did we come into this community? Jane said that Alyssum and she recommend that we always have justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in our minds regarding Pueblo Makes.
  • Jason described a revamping of the Industrial Tech Maintenance into the national program, FAME Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education. PCC is the first FAME chapter west of Mississippi. Students will work three days a week at a company ($12-16/hour), and attend classes for five semesters at PCC to complete a highly desired degree. With 13 students signed up so far, the goal is 32 students every year. Applications are still open until May 7: see Local companies have been involved in creating this program. It is not a formal internship or apprenticeship with the Department of Labor, but is similar..
  • LaDoris had her Grand Opening at Project Inspire on March 19 Grand Opening. She has launched Pockets (her line of bags) and is working on Comfortable Pockets, a clothing line. She is looking to hire 10 sewing machine operators for assembly line work, piece work. Some experience is good, but she will train. She will consider having people work at home, but they have to have their own machine. See
  • Paula announced that the SBDC will have a virtual class 4pm to 5:30 pm on 11 May on understanding the patent process.
  • Gregory recommended the Olympic museum in Colorado Springs.

Upcoming meetings, 3rd Tuesday of the month:

  • 18 May – students
  • 15 June – show & tell, like December meeting.

Notes from March 2021 meeting of Pueblo Makes


  • Pueblo Makes honored Sharon Rice as an Outstanding Woman, in the Library’s annual program: “As makerspace librarian at the Pueblo Library, Sharon has involved thousands of Pueblo residents of all ages in making. Her enthusiasm, her welcoming attitude, and her willingness to teach and learn are infectious. Sharon is an inspiration for Pueblo makers.”
  • The Southern Colorado Regional Quilt Show will be April 1st, 2nd & 3rd and the following week, 5th-10th at El Pueblo History Museum, 10-4 daily. We’re hoping to show 125-140 quilts. Masks and social distancing are required. Any questions, call Holly Vigil @ 303-919-6771.
  • Michelle from Ruby’s Market in Denver introduced herself; see, “Ruby’s Market is a multi-cultural artisan and food destination, incubating refugee, immigrant & indigenous entrepreneurs and supporting local businesses.” She is reaching out to help makers connect with customers. Contact her if you are interested in possible collaboration.
  • Pueblo Food Project’s is partnering with the Pueblo Art Guild on a community food art show and on March 20th 1-3 p.m. they will host a live cheese carving featuring local sculptor Cristine Boyd from All Clay. Also, they will have a People’s Choice Award winner announcement from the displayed artwork.
  • Samantha Printy is the new manager of the store Creative Reuse of Pueblo, which will open at the beginning of April in the lobby of the Arts Alliance at 107 S Grand.
  • Jane said she forwarded Russ’s email about a potential maker space. Russ is talking with the Arts Alliance about using some of their space for the Pueblo Woodturners, but would like some partners in renting the space. Contact him at if you are interested.
  • The new food market, Sunnyside Market on East 8th, needs volunteers during open hours and during inventory hours. You can volunteer online at
  • Added after the meeting: The grand opening of Designs by LaDoris will be Friday, 19 March, 5 PM, at Project Inspire Cooperative, 2828 Granada Blvd, Bldg 2.

Jane said she plans that the April meeting will be used for reports from groups on our projects.

Paula Robben, life coach, uses a program called Dream Builder to engage the left and right sides of the brain. She is also a business consultant for the SBDC, which has a great deal of help bur businesses. Classes in ecommerce start this week. See  

While every successful business begins as a startup, not everyone wants to be a business. Paula said this session would help create a larger picture of what is possible for Pueblo Makes. Paula asked Jane if she has a vision for Pueblo Makes and Jane said a billboard on I-25 that says Pueblo Makes.

Paula said that life coaches and makers are creators. “I make people’s problems more solvable.” She urged us to respect others’ dreams. She said she was driving us to take a bigger leap.

She showed us a map of Pueblo’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. Pueblo has a lot of people who want to help. Pueblo Makes was a startup. It now has a website ( with direct links to resources for entrepreneurs. She urged everyone to send information to Jane ( or Zach ( to be listed in the directory of makers. Every business goes through stages from Pre-Startup through Startup and Growth.

The quality of our life is determined by the quality of the questions we ask. Instead of focusing on, for example, how do I pay the rent, think in bigger questions.  What is the future potential and the highest vision for Pueblo Makes?

She reviewed the history of Thoreau’s experiment in living in the woods, resulting in the book Walden. Thoreau urges us to advance confidently in the direction of a dream. Put your trust in moving forward.

Paula showed us Time magazine covers describing problems that the world faces today, except that the covers were all from the 1970s, showing that we are still focused on those same problems. The problem is in the thinking about the problem. We need to define and design a dream. Some of the issue is marketing and some is our own personal perception of what is out there and how we are being perceived.

She asked us to contribute (in the chat box) one thing you long for in Pueblo Makes group:

  • Resource sharing/collaboration
  • Every member is thriving financially.
  • More people involved in Pueblo Makes
  • Finding my place
  • Reimagining the definition of a maker

She then asked us to contribute a discontent about Pueblo Makes:

  • Silo building
  • Preconceived ideas
  • Stereotypes
  • Lack of awareness of makers movement
  • People creating new organizations instead of working with existing ones.
  • Messaging

Discontents tells us what we do want. Instead of asking what we can’t do ask what are the things we CAN do? Take steps to move forward. Everything is created twice, first in thought, then physically.

What are 3 problems you want corrected with the maker economy within our community.

  • Change more zoning
  • Spaces where makes can work together and share.
  • Need circular economy thinking and waste streams recaptured or upcycled
  • Lack of apprenticeship programs
  • More access to STEM/STEAM learning
  • Lack of money
  • Spaces to work together, recycling/upcycling, getting youth involved
  • Makers appropriately
  • More business planning support
  • Strategic partnership building even during start-up phase

Next Paula asked us to focus on values. What is most important to Pueblo Makes?

  • Cooperation
  • Inclusivity
  • Innovation
  • Local
  • Helps makers become successful
  • Collaboration
  • Inclusion, availability, recognition
  • Creativity
  • Support
  • Integrity, honesty
  • Sharing
  • Diversity

She explained emotion as E(Energy in)motion. Most of us try to stop emotions, but emotions are a guidance system. If we are aware of them, we can give them names and address them. I am giving you permission to dream without limitations. Don’t judge anything coming up in your mind. Don’t evaluate in your mind. Who is going to pay for the billboard? Don’t ask all those questions. Just think what you want.

What is the greatest purpose for Pueblo Makes in this community?

  • Helping kids keep their creativity.
  • Relationship building
  • Support people in their creative endeavors
  • Promotion of the abundance of crafts in Pueblo
  • Operating as a platform of supportive services for Pueblo’s Makers and Artisans!
  • To recreate the Mini-Maker fair grounds experience that changed my whole perspective on interactive STEM learning and cross pollinate people’s ideas
  • Creativity to be recognized
  • Active Support, encouragement, mentoring, and facilitating
  • Create a sense of community that nurtures the soul
  • Constant education and networking value 🙂

Pueblo has been working on getting more jobs since the steel mill closed and many have done great work. This is a beautiful community of people who really care. We can grow jobs for makers.

Technology + Creativity = Innovation.

With creativity and a positive mind set, you can change your focus.

She next asked us: Why does that greater purpose matter to you?

  • Talk with no outcome is exhausting. Ideas to action matters because things are happening and getting done.
  • I emphasized the kids, because I think we turn off their creativity instead of growing it – and they are the future.
  • WHY – my girls and I joined 4-H after that event and experienced more life-changing skill building maker’s education – and exposed my kids to future job ideas they would have never thought of
  • Fruitful relationships that have helped to shape my direction in the last few months. I think this can be true for others also.
  • Creativity is movement and life
  • To be able to provide active solutions for people who say “I want to make or do x,y, or z but I don’t know how to get started… get supplies… find funding…”
  • Because creative, entrepreneurial, community-minded people need a universe of support and a sense of belonging.
  • Novelty factor was so amazing and memorable! mixing in ART with the STEM thinking, so many examples
  • Promotion of the craft to younger people.
  • Smile on a kids face
  • It’s all about evolution of  collective consciousness
  • Yes, succession planning within certain crafts

Taking baby steps is progress. Imagine this movement or this group. Would it look like a building? An event? Successful businesses? Or all of the above? Our dream should give Pueblo more life, align with our core values, cause the group to grow. We can look for help outside ourselves and find the good for others in this dream. This work done today can help us create a strong vision, initial plan, and steps to take for Pueblo Makes. This work helps to prioritize. The collective during this time is helping to see the bigger picture. What matters to everyone.

What is one step you are willing to take?

  • To be present and not just conscious
  • Collate this discussion for further discussion – and to guide our actions.
  • Form collaborations
  • Learn more about what it takes to go from ideas to business
  • Participating in specific groups
  • Yes, of course I want to be a player – that’s why I am here. 😉 I am building unique educational opportunities and my own business plans to support makers
  • Continue to show up and hear what is needed – continue to research new paths to success to share.
  • Offer mentorship
  • I’m new to you all but am here in the spirit of collaboration!

Paula again urged us to use the SBDC for help in starting a business. Her personal website is, and she can be reached at or 719-250-1324. Paula’s associate Susie (who joined us from Virginia) urged us to look at many sources for resources.  In the for profit world, many are more than willing to share, at low or no cost, equipment, expertise, and volunteer hours. They will be doing personal vision workshops on 7 and 8 April 7 and 8; see They also offer “Talk to the coach,” ½ hour free consultation.

Gregory, who has spent about one-third of his life in Japan, noted that in Japanese society, a group will spend years building consensus and may have a 100 year plan. The American approach is to define a mission in a rush, but then fun into problems in implementing. He recalled the first Pueblo Makes meeting at CSU-Pueblo, where no one owned the room. Then it is the responsibility of the collective mindset. We haven’t had necessity to come up with mission. We chug away. That is consensus building. COVID has slowed us down. He expressed the hope that we not return to the old normal, but reimagine. He said the Pueblo question, where did you go to high school, should be followed by the question, what do you make, which catches people off guard and makes them think.  

Jane commented on the growth in the group, with about 120 on list including 40 who were at any meeting in last year. Some of you keep coming back to the meetings.

Sharon said she loves this group because we are collaborators. She has been able to hire about 5 or 6 people from this group. Other maker groups give lip service, but don’t want to help others grow. She said Pueblo Makes is her library of people. Gregory said that librarians are social entrepreneurs.

Elliott asked Paula how she makes problems more solvable. Paula and Susie emphasized asking the right questions. Susie said that people spend too much time problem solving. One should think for 55 minutes about the right question, then 5 minutes on the right answer, but we have been taught to do the opposite.

Jane said that Paula had asked us great questions, that she will collate the responses, and use the idea to help Pueblo Makes move forward.  


Source: Library of Congress. Children playing leapfrog, New York City. About 1908-1915. “No known restrictions on publication.”

What’s new?

In the 7 August 2021 issue of New Scientist, Jim Watson, research director at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources in London, argues that “Instead of developing energy infrastructures based on fossil fuels, low-income countries could leapfrog straight to cleaner low-carbon technologies.”

What does it mean?

Coal was king of the industrial revolution. All developed countries achieved their high standard of living by emitting greenhouse gases that are causing the climate crisis. Without just telling less developed countries that they should not follow that path, what can be done? Economic justice and environmental justice demand better approaches. Watson’s leapfrog may be an answer.

A leapfrog in technology is not a new idea, and is often applied to Africa, India, and elsewhere to describe a path using mobile and digital technology to fuel entrepreneurial ventures and social services. Financial Times quotes “Precious Lunga, a Zimbabwean neuroscientist who founded Baobab Circle, a health tech company,”

There are places where there’s still no running water, but you can stream a video,

and quotes “Calestous Juma, the Kenya-born former chair of the innovation for economic development executive programme at Harvard’s Kennedy School,”

The mobile handset in the hands of an ordinary African has become the symbol of leapfrogging.

Eliza Strickland in IEEE Spectrum presents evidence that African now leads the world in some digital applications.

Companies such as M-Pesa sprang up to solve a local problem—people’s lack of access to brick-and-mortar banks—and became a way for people not only to make payments, but also to get loans and insurance. “We’ve refined the concept of mobile money over the last 10 or 15 years,” says Kaabunga, “while other parts of the world are just now coming around to embracing it.”

She also reports that drones can deliver blood to hospitals that cannot be reached as quickly by poor roads.

But where does the electricity come from? Financial Times answers:

In the village of Sahabevava in north-east Madagascar, several hours down a bone-jolting road to the nearest town and far from the nearest electricity grid, Lydia Soa, a farmer, is the proud owner of a solar panel. It produces enough power to light her home — good for when the children do homework — power a boombox and, of course, recharge her mobile phone.

Jakkie Cilliers, in a chapter from his 2021 book The Future of Africa, describes more explicitly what the energy leapfrog might look like, with solar, wind, and ocean generated electricity, plus battery storage and transmission lines. Supplying cheap electricity will fuel the digital revolution, so the energy and digital revolutions are linked. He cautions, however,

A strong focus on technology can provide leapfrogging opportunities for low and middle-income countries, but governments must not lose sight of ‘traditional’ developmental issues, such as governance, infrastructure and skills.

Some actually point to a latecomer advantage, if the leapfrogging is done with careful planning.  Three authors at the Center for Strategic & International Studies state:

The lack of legacy infrastructure and entrenched vested interests could allow for the rapid adoption of emerging technologies, especially compared to developed nations that are forced to follow more incremental transition plans. This flexibility could allow developing nations to plan their policies, innovation ecosystems, and infrastructure with emerging technologies in mind from the start.

What does it mean for you?

While the idea of leapfrogging most often refers to taking a leap in the use of some technology, it can also apply to processes and softer improvements, although, of course, changes to technology and to processes go hand-in-hand. I always advise an organization to study a process thoroughly for efficiency (do all of those five people really need to approve purchases?) before automating.

Those, like me, who study and help organizations implement improvements often contrast incremental with dramatic improvements.  Continuous quality improvement using many small improvements throughout an organization can add up to large total improvement. Sometimes, however, a more dramatic leapfrog can be a better approach.

Benchmarking, according to ASQ, “is defined as the process of measuring products, services, and processes against those of organizations known to be leaders in one or more aspects of their operations.” How do the best performing organizations, both inside and outside of your industry, accomplish tasks? Combining best practices from many others can enable your organization to leap ahead.

However, for me, the biggest lesson is to focus on the goal, and then to think about different ways to get there, not just relying on the paths that others have already taken to that goal. Sometimes even the best ways to accomplish tasks can be dramatically improved by taking a fresh, innovative approach, not just tweaking the approaches that others already use.

Where can you learn more?

As I often do, I recommend my professional organizations as sources of information on how to improve: IISE (the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers) and ASQ (formerly the American Society for Quality).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

A shot in the arm

Source: Wikimedia This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

What’s new?

On 11 August, National Geographic described improvements being made in the processes to make vaccines, especially vaccines for COVID-19.

What does it mean?

While the US has ample supplies of COVID-19 vaccine (and a shortage of people willing to have the vaccine), most of the world needs more of the vaccine (and has plenty of people willing to have the vaccine). In addition to policy issues, such as the licensing of the vaccine, the rate of production of the vaccine affects the availability of COVID-19 and other vaccines.

Of the three types of COVID-19 vaccines (messenger RNA that conveys instructions to help the body fight the virus, inactivated virus to prime the immune system to produce antibodies, and a cold virus as a vehicle for immunizing material) each has its own method for production; the latter two are produced only in large batches.

A batch process requires weeks to grow host cells and then days to grow and process the vaccine.  The vat of cells eventually stops making product of sufficient quality; the vaccine eventually kills off the cells. Then the tanks must be properly cleaned and prepared for the next batch.

While the idea of change from a batch to a continuous process has been pursued since 1965, those approaches have still used large vats, seeking to siphon off the vaccine continuously. Recently an approach described in the National Geographic article has used 300-meter-long tube; it has been successful in a prototype. In this approach, fresh cells are continuously fed into the opening of the tube, another tube feeds in small quantities of the vaccine, and a pump keeps the fluid moving through the tube to the end where the vaccine and cell debris are separated. The new process is smaller and can be rapidly scaled-up when needed.

What does it mean for you?

The biggest point to understand from this article is that advances in product technology are always coupled with advances in process technology. Engineers work constantly to develop new products and to improve the design of existing products – and engineers do the same for processes, that is, they work constantly to develop new processes and to improve the design of existing processes.  The National Geographic article’s description of the new tube based process is an example of a new manufacturing process.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are mRNA vaccines and these are new products. As Chemistry World states, “Large-scale production of such a vaccine has never happened before.” That article also says that Moderna and BioNTech have not released details on their manufacturing processes, but the processes is apparently not complicated: “The mRNA synthesis takes two hours, while making the vaccine takes a couple of days.” However, some of those steps are tricky.

The mRNA situation illustrates the interconnection between product design and process design. A new product may require a new manufacturing process. I can confidently predict that the world will continue to need new vaccines. It seems likely that mRNA vaccines will be an important tool in our capacity to counter new infectious diseases, so engineers will need to improve the processes for making mRNA vaccines. I am sure there are engineers busy on that task right now.

Manufacturing processes for different products can look similar. The National Geographic article describes how the inspiration for using tubes to manufacture vaccines can from observation of an oil refinery.

Product design and process design interact in many ways. Some changes in processes may enable higher quality also and the quality of vaccines is a crucial consideration in their manufacture. Different manufacturing processes can be harder or easier to scale. Some, as in batch processing, have an inherent scale, while a continuous process may be able to scale up or down more easily.

Once a product has somewhat stabilized, incremental product improvements and incremental process improvements continue to be developed. The cost of the technology for solar and wind power continues to fall dramatically largely because of advances in manufacturing processes.

Where can you learn more?

I am an industrial engineer. Most industrial engineers work in manufacturing, working on continuous improvement of manufacturing processes. The Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers is the professional organization for such work.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

I told you so

What’s new?

In a 28 July article at New Scientist, Jeff Hecht says that fully autonomous cars are still in the future. In fact, “Some observers are now openly saying the dream of full autonomy is a mirage: creating robot vehicles able to tackle any kind of road or traffic situation is just too tough a nut to crack.”

What does it mean?

The article cites SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers, for its six levels of automation, as shown in the diagram at the top of this post.  Fully autonomous vehicles, at level 5, are still in the future, with vehicles working at levels 0, 1 or 2 now.

The New Scientist article does a good job of reviewing problems with getting to fully autonomous vehicles: safety or the perception of safety; the predominance of computer engineers in autonomous vehicle development with their “move fast and break things” style (I can hardly write that phrase without shuddering); and the inability of human to quickly take over driving if needed (the article cites research that it takes an average of 5 seconds – an eternity in a fast moving vehicle).

The article notes that, skipping over level 3 and  moving to level 4 or 5 autonomy might make sense so that the human never needs to engage, but then points out that computer vision stumbles over simply situations that humans can easily handle: “We can instinctively tell, for example, whether lane markings are complete or dashed lines even if they are partly covered by snow, or that a stop sign remains a stop sign even if partially obscured, and instantly recognise the implications of an emergency vehicle heading our way.”

A level 2 driving system, according to the SAE classification, GM’s Super Cruise option in premium Cadillacs, is described by Cadillac as “the first true hands-free driving-assistance feature for compatible roads.” When engaged, the technology controls both speed and direction of the vehicle, staying in the lane; it can also change lanes when the driver turns on the turn signal. A Driver Attention Camera system makes sure that the driver is still paying attention. Its ability to drive is limited: “If equipped with Lane Change on Demand, you are able to prompt the system to change lanes for you. However, Super Cruise will not steer to avoid safety situations. You need to take control to steer around a traffic situation or object, merge into traffic, exit the highway, make a turn, or stop for crossing traffic or a traffic light, stop sign or other traffic control device. Super Cruise does not steer to avoid construction zones.”

Then comes the beginning of my “I told you so” moment. The system is available for use only on designated roads. I studied the map (at the same link I gave earlier) and found that most interstate highways are included. Near my hometown of Pueblo, designated roads include I-25 and stretches of US-50 east and west of Pueblo that are divided highways. We drive to and from Columbus, Ohio, at least once each year to visit family, and I found that our first day of driving, which is not on the interstate or other divided highway, is not on designated roads, but I-70, which we join in Hays, Kansas, is, as is the rest of our drive on I-70, except for a stretch of I-70 west of Kansas and a few gnarly intersections with other highways (which I, as a human, know are pretty tricky). I expect that Super Cruise would not be useable in practice on some other stretches of I-70 where I know that construction was underway earlier this summer.

Honda claims to have a level 3 vehicle (recall that the driver must be ready to take over driving quickly). I found the disclaimers disquieting, including a diagram showing, I think, that the vehicle might recognize only the upper section of the cab of a truck pulling an empty flatbed. It might not detect the flatbed and, I think, your vehicle thus might follow the cab and could run into the flatbed.

The CEO of GM, Mary Barra, wants to have Super Cruise available “in 95% of driving scenarios.”  New Scientist points out that of the 6.5 million kilometers of public roads in the US, only 300,000 kms meet current Super Cruise requirements. “Of those that aren’t covered by the system, 4.2 million kilometres are paved, ranging from busy city streets and quiet, wide, well-maintained streets in affluent suburbs to lightly travelled two-lane rural byways without centre lines. The remaining 2 million kilometres are unpaved, lacking markings and often signs.”

Dr Missy Cummings is a professor at Duke University, director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory and Duke Robotics, and an expert in human-autonomous system collaboration. In an October 2020 interview with Forbes, she was blunt about the problems with sensors, testing, and lack of repeatability in performance of existing autonomous vehicles. She says, for example, “If you can’t get a single Tesla to repeat its behavior in the same conditions over and over again, then why are we letting these cars, in theory, engage in automated driving?”

Finally, in my “I told you so” moment, New Scientist says, “The need to upgrade those roads to be robot-friendly ‘is a hidden cost most people are not thinking of’, says Cummings.” The designated roads for Cadillac’s Super Cruise are designated because these are roads that have been designed and built in a way that is friendly to an autonomous vehicle: divided highways, clearly and consistently marked lanes, and so forth. The part of the system that is not carefully controlled in that environment is all the other cars on the road.

On 23 Jan 2021, I wrote: “One of the difficult parts of autonomous driving is to predict what other vehicles will do, especially ones being driven by humans. Limiting the environment to only automated vehicles provides an easier problem to solve. The word `system’ also suggests coordination among automated vehicles, in which they share navigation information, but also share information about their intentions.”

I will go further now and say that the best application of autonomous vehicles is in long distance driving using designated lanes with only other autonomous vehicles. I think that application will be very useful for long distance trucking. One could counter my argument by saying that I have described a train and I agree.

What does it mean for you?

Don’t be dazzled by the rhetoric. Another quote from Dr Cummings in the Forbes interview: “I’m not worried that China or Russia will pull ahead of us in AI technology. Everyone is really bad at it right now.” She also describes current facial recognition technology as “terrible,” and says about Elon Musk “I’m not bothered by him as a person, I just really want him to reconsider what he’s doing with Autopilot because I think it’s exceedingly dangerous.”

Don’t be dazzled by the big companies throwing money around. New Scientist mentions that Uber and Lyft both sold their vehicle development groups in the last year.

The New Scientist article concludes: “There is a growing sense that the phase of irrational exuberance that often characterises new technologies might be over for self-driving cars, replaced by a more limited vision in which automation doesn’t fully replace human drivers, but helps us drive better under certain circumstances. That’s still a revolution of sorts – just not the one, perhaps, we first thought was coming.” I think this conclusion applies to many other areas of automation.

Where can I learn more?

Because the phrase “artificial intelligence” has almost come to mean any computer application, my skepticism may seem to be countered by useful applications. I am not, of course, saying that computers are useless. But this article has a list of successful applications that includes two I have already dismissed (autonomous vehicles and face recognition) and also includes Gmail’s spam detector – which, I find, worked flawlessly until a few months ago and now fails regularly.

I admire the people working to further the capabilities of computers to make our lives better. I am old enough to be still thrilled by the existence of my laptop, my cell phone, cruise control on my vehicle, Supernatural on my Oculus Quest II, etc. My life is better with these technologies.  But those people must believe in what they are doing and they are not trust worthy in their evaluation of the value of their work or in their prediction of the future of these technologies.

The preceding two paragraphs are an apology for not being able to recommend a good source of reliable information on what to expect from automation in the future.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.