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48-Hours In the City of North Little Rock | Make48 5th City Series

The most recent Make48 event took a look at America’s history and how it impacted the state of Arkansas and North Little Rock’s residents.

Teams from the region took time to create an outdoor-interactive tribute that will be on display for North Little Rock. The ‘Trail of Tears’ was a series of forced removals of 60,000 Native Americans between 1830-1850. Its path went through the city and a memorial will be set along the Riverfront park. Riverfront Park stretches eleven blocks on the south bank overlooking the Arkansas River and downtown Little Rock. The Park provides acres of urban greenspace for outdoor events, biking, activities and a glimpse of the state's history.

The North Little Rock Economic Development and the City of North Little Rock were the challenge sponsors for the event. Robert Birch (Director of Development) worked with Tom Gray and Errin Stanger to bring the 48-hour invention competition to the area.

Errin is the Director of the Innovation Hub and jumped at having the opportunity to bring Make48 to the makerspace. “It’s incredible to have a makerspace filled with creativity, ideation, and innovation. People have come from all over the state to be a part of the special 48 hours experience. It means the world to us that we were chosen to host Make48 and we are so proud of all the participants that are here with us today.”

Acxiom and The University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College were huge supporters of the North Little Rock event. UAPTC sponsored the VIP presentation and dinner. Guests dined at the UAPTC Culinary & Hospitality institute, where an extraordinary dining experience took place. UAPTC designed a “create your own cocktail” where attendees learned how to make a custom-made drink and nibbled on delicious appetizers. Guests were then led to the dining room, where they dined on a world-class meal and delightful desserts from the talented students and chefs from the Institute.

Acxiom has been recognized for their innovation and dedication. Headquartered in Conway, Ark., Acxiom has been a leader in identity data for more than 50 years. As a gift for the community, Acxiom gave back $3,000 to the AR Innovation Hub makerspace to use as they wish!

Tool Techs from the Hub, the community and Make48 did an excellent job with building the team’s prototypes and the trophies.

Two trophies were built for First Place and the People's Choice. Using a variety of materials and tools from our sponsors, the final prototypes and trophies were incredible. Thank you to all our techs including Adam, Zoë, Zeke, Claret, Kendle, Casey, Elizabeth and Katelyn from the Innovation Hub, Matt and Joshua (Onshape), Airgas (Justin and Buddy), Grant and BJ (Fastenal), Chris Burns (ShopBot), Lizzy Cook (house of timber) and Caleb Harris (youcandothistoo), Luis Rodriguez (Ultimaker) and Joel Gordon (MatterHackers). We also had tool techs from the city including Jason (AR Conductor), Ashton, Jacob, Ti, Shawn, Lindsay (UAPTC), Mindy (UAPTC), Robert (Matters In Motion) and a team of awesome volunteers!

Zoë Egan is the production officer at the Hub where she runs several pieces of equipment. Zoë helped teams with their design using cad and laser cutting materials. “I'm looking forward to the reveal and excited to see the pitches and hear all the creative ideas that came about this weekend.”

Luis Rodriguez has been too many events with Ultimaker. He felt the challenge was a tough subject but was touched by how the teams reacted to it. “The tool techs are everyone’s team and we’re rooting for all of them. We want to make sure that we are providing the tools for the teams and I enjoy helping the teams solve these problems/challenges Make48 gives to them.”

Choosing a winner was a difficult decision. The three judges on the panel were Dr. Daniel Littlefield (Director of the Sequoyah National Research Center at UAR-Little Rock), Jason Irby (VP of The Arkansas Trail of Tears Assoc.) and Tina Moore (Director of STEM at the Arkansas Dept of Education). During the weekend, teams were able to speak about the challenge with Scott Sudduth (City of North Little Rock) and Carolyn Kent (Historian Arkansas Trail of Tears Association), our mentors for the weekend.

There were many great moments in North Little Rock and long-lasting relationships were made in a short time. We have to thank the teams one last time, who took the theme and created remarkable models and tributes for those affected by the ‘Trail of Tears’. We can’t wait to reveal everyone's prototypes once the episode is released. The winning team won $2,000 and will represent North Little Rock at Nationals this spring.

Make48 can’t get over the wonderful hospitality and supportive environment throughout the weekend. We are very grateful to the City of North Little Rock, Errin Stanger and her crew, our brave teams, judges, mentors, the tool techs and all of the companies who supported the city series at our first Arkansas event. Can’t wait to do it all again next year!

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