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2021: A Make48 Year In Retrospect

We hope that all of you and your loved ones are safe and in happy holiday spirits! What a year it has been. After a challenging 2020, 2021 was a bustling year of activity. From activating our 48 hour competitions nationwide to being featured in Popular Mechanics, it was a 12-month whirlwind and a significant time of growth for the company.

Katie Cappozzo, Make48’s head of strategic partnerships, celebrated her second year at Make48 in 2021 and remarked on the past year. “It has been an incredible year connecting with new and existing corporate partners across the country. It is inspiring to see what corporations are doing to support innovation and entrepreneurship in diverse groups everywhere. With the help of our partners, we look forward to continuing the conversation that with the right collaboration anybody can be an innovator.”

As we welcome in 2022, Tom Gray (CEO), reflects on the past 12 months and the future of Make48. "Coming out of the challenging covid era of limited travel and limited-sized gatherings, I could not be more proud of our team in the way they pivoted and planned our next few years. From a three-person team (before covid) to 12 currently, I am looking forward to where we'll be at the end of 2022."

Here are just a few highlights from our past season.

Make48 City Series

The highlight of the year was launching the City Series. Using the same blueprint of the Make48 TV documentary, residents in four cities participated in the fastest 48-hour invention competition. Aided by tool technicians, social media DIY makers, and community sponsors, a first and second place winning team was chosen and will move forward to Nationals in 2022, which will be filmed as season 5 on PBS.

The creation of the ‘City Series’ was developed two years prior, and only one part of Make48’s purpose. To make an impact and create a superior creator experience for makers and innovators, we reached for support from local leaders, officials and community engagers in Wichita (KS), Madison (WI), Indianapolis (IN) and Hartford (CT).

From there, we are building a cross-organizational network and growing an ecosystem to continue the city’s investments and the growth and brand expansion of Make48 in the maker community.

Power of Partnerships

We’re looking forward to working together with Blåkläder and The DeBruce Foundation, two new partnerships formed this year.

Blåkläder is one of Sweden’s leading producers of heavy duty workwear clothing and a new partnership with them will supply our makers with Make48 workwear gear! Europe's leading workwear brand will soon offer t-shirts, hoodies, jackets and functional pants, branded with the Make48 logo, to the product list. To celebrate, we’ll be sharing some of these pieces with our Instagram community and decking out 50 makers to test the workwear!

The DeBruce Foundation is a national foundation who are passionate about helping people better understand their strengths and interests, so they can use that information to explore potential careers and expand their opportunities.

It’s an ideal partnership, because we’re curious about the impact of experiences like Make48 in helping people explore the world of invention and entrepreneurship.

DeBruce provides free solutions that positively impact the way we look for, prepare and pursue careers, called the Agile Work Profiler. Knowing your Agilites can help you explore career paths, build your current career, or pivot to a completely new one.

Popular Mechanics Feature

In 2020-21, we held three small maker challenges with Izzy Swan, April Wilkerson and Jimmy DiResta with WORKBENCHcon. All three events were picked up by Popular Mechanics and showcased each build in their trusted magazine.

The first build in South Carolina with Izzy and Autism Speaks was featured in the May/June issue, while the April Wilkerson and the River Kelly Fund build challenge was featured in their July/August issue. Watch Izzy’s build and April’s build here at their respective YouTube channel’s.

In February ‘21, Make48’s final maker challenge featuring Jimmy DiResta and Operation Breakthrough wrapped up. Jimmy worked with fellow makers at the Maker Village to create a FAN experience out of 2 vintage Kansas City stadium chairs, and set an example of what “Making” is to a new audience at Operation Breakthrough. Popular Mechanics debuted the build in their September/October issue. Watch the full episode of Jimmy’s build at

Make48 New Faces

This year we hired several talented folks to join the team!

A few of the new faces around the “virtual” office include: Courtney, Ben, Kollin, David, Sandie, Damon and Deb. Make48 is bringing programming and competitions to some of the nation's most innovative cities and colleges and this is your opportunity to join a growing team. We’re looking for new talent to connect with us. To see the available roles visit our job link

2022 will see more maker challenge events, more community engagement and more new faces! We’re looking forward to a busy and bright 2022, starting at Nationals in Wichita this spring.

We’ll leave you with some of our favorite snapshots over the past year. Have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!

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