Explore FredWorks

The Start of FredWorks…

Ever wonder how FredWorks evolved into the great organization it is today? Here’s a peek into the beginnings of the organization, with some of the original ideas of the group from the president, Max Lupton, in October 2013:

This … exists to describe the ever evolving ideas we have about what FredericksWerken is and is not. It will probably take a while to organize this into a coherent description so bear with us.
What FredericksWerken Is

We are an expanding group of makers in the Fredericksburg VA area who share an interest in creating an accessible self sustaining community that will supply space, tools, resources, instruction and collaborative assistance to anyone interested in teaching, learning or applying modern or traditional technology for professional or personal fulfillment.
We are a Virginia Non-Stock Corporation founded on August 22nd 2013 with the intent of creating a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that will form the foundation of the self sustaining community and resources we seek to assemble.
We are an extension and expansion of the Fredericksburg Hackers Google+ Community.
We are a promoter of technology education, both modern and traditional that participates in community events and offers community classes on an expanding range of topics (1 so far).
We are supporters of and collaborators with other maker spaces and their members. Our intent is to fill a perceived need in the local community for a more organized and formalized maker group. We look forward to supporting not supplanting similar groups in our geographic area.
We are fervent seeker of volunteers who share our passion for a hands on approach to exploring and expanding our knowledge of technology and who share our goal of invigorating the local maker community.
An ardent seeker of resources, both fiscal and physical, that we can leverage to reduce the financial and resource impediments to pursuing our DIY dream leaving motivation and time as the primary obstacles to our vision of technirvana.
We are inclusive and welcome anyone with an interest in technology to take that interest as far as they care to regardless of their background.

What FredericksWerken Is Not

We are not a money making venture. While we appreciate entrepreneurial efforts that enrich the wallet as well as the mind and spirit we feel our goals are best pursued through a non-profit route. We welcome everyone to our community whether they seek riches or knowledge but our primary interest is the technology not the profits. Besides, most of us have day jobs and families and don’t have time or energy to run a for profit business on the side anyway.
We are not an exclusive club of techno-elitists. While some of us may be accomplished in particular areas we recognize that we all started in ignorance. Most of us can attribute some portion of our accomplishments to patient and understanding mentors who devoted their time to enlightening and encouraging us. Some of us wish to keep this tradition alive.
We are not 100% dedicated to building this community. Most of us have families, careers and other interests and cannot devote as much personal time, money and effort to this community as we would like to. We encourage anyone who sees something they feel is important that is not getting done to pitch in and help.

Mission and Vision

There was a brief discussion on the Google+ Fredericksburg Hackers community about what our Mission and Vision statements should be. The full discussion is here but I’ve excerpted the proposed statements below:

Vision: Provide motivated people access to a knowledgeable community with the resources, space and collaborative opportunities necessary for them to realize their personal creative vision through the mastery and use of all manner of technology.

Mission: Create a self sustaining community that has the space, tools, and expertise necessary promote technical knowledge and education while providing a safe and supportive environment where members can pusue personal technological fulfillment.

Some elaboration:
The tangibles that we seek are a safe and convenient space with the resources (electricity, water, heat, beer etc.) and tools (3D printers, milling machines, lathes, welders, soldering stations, wood working equipment, microscopes etc.) we need to pursue our technical interests. It boils down to shared space, tools and resources.

Intangibles include access to like minded people to discuss projects and subjects of mutual interest, a community of knowlegeable technologists willing to teach and learn, collaboration partners, a community that can collect and organize the groups knowledge and experience so individuals don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I think in the end it is all about personal technological fulfillment. Whether that means learning to solder and building a radio or mounting a Tesla coil on my solar powered biodiesel hybrid tricycle kinetic sculpture it would be nice if there were a place nearby with the space, tools and advice needed to get there.

I think the core idea is shop where pooled investment provides access to equipment that requires financial and space commitments beyond most individual means. Rather than building an exclusive or private organization we want to provide a community service that consists of community education programs with access to space and tools and mentoring. In exchange we’ll seek public funding and support to the extent we can get it and still pursue our mission. The more public funding and support we have the less personal financial investment is needed. This should lead to a more stable and durable organization as it minimizes concerns over finances and who owns what. In my experience financial concerns are often the seeds of destruction when multiple people invest time and money building an organization.

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Keep in mind that this … is a work in progress and it may not be completely congruent with the views of particular members. It is not necessary to drink the Kool-Aid before participating in this group.

Max A. Lupton – 10/25/2013