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Indianapolis 2022 Recap at Fishers Maker Playground

The Indianapolis regional 2022 competition was a complete success!

Group Shot at Fishers Maker Playground

The event was sponsored by Corteva Agriscience with the event being held inside Fishers Maker Playground the community makerspace inside the Hub & Spoke building in Fishers, Indiana. It’s Make48’s second time holding the competition in the Hoosier state.

Nick Snyder is the manager of Maker Playground, where he and his team provide programs, one-on-one learning, and classes for hobbyists, entrepreneurs and students alike.

Ginny, Nick and Cassy from Fishers Maker Playground & Parks

Nick said, “Fishers is really focused on innovation. We are such a central hub of innovation, that it's been a big focus of the city to bring in businesses that are really tech forward. I think we are a perfect spot to become a hub of maker culture in the greater Indianapolis area. This has been a really good fit.”

Corteva Agriscience and The United Way of Central Indiana came together to construct an important topic for the challenge Food Preservation: Food At The Right Place At The Right Time. The prototype challenge for the teams was to create a suitable "Food Locker'' that can house pre-cooked meals that the community members (consumers) can access, placed in locations around the city. (Think community little free library, but for food/prepared meal distribution).

Mentors from Corteva, Indiana State Fair and The United Way assisted the teams with the challenge.

Lydia Watson, manager of Community Impact with The United Way of Central Indiana, was a mentor throughout the weekend. “I've been speaking with each team, getting an idea of their project (idea), their strategic planning, and how they're going to produce their prototype. I’m helping them think about the community voice and have them think about how their product is going to have a great impact in the community that it is designed to serve.”

Global Academic Relations Manager at Corteva Agriscience, Ronda Hamm, helped bring Make48 to Fishers and build the relationship.

As a scientist, Ronda’s job is solving problems and that’s what she challenged the teams to do as well. “This challenge is very important in that it brings innovation with purpose. For me, it was critical that the challenge had a community impact. Unfortunately, we have too many of our community members that struggle with food security and not having enough nutritious food on their table. This challenge is really around how we can help our communities and our neighbors have access to food. In addition, it also has a component of sustainability to it, of how we actually take food that is available but it’s just not in the right place at the right time.”

To build on their ideas, a group of talented technicians were called in. The “secret sauce” of Make48 included tool techs from past events and new volunteers.

Dana Renay from Tools of Her Trade experienced her first 48 hour competition in Fishers. Dana is a handywoman and woodworker from Indiana and met the Make48 team in Las Vegas at the National Hardware Show where she spoke to Amy Gray about joining the ranks of tool techs at the Indianapolis event.

It was the first time Dana spent time in a makerspace and she’s a big fan. “Makerspaces are fairly new here, and I feel like they're not well known in the community unless they’re really into woodworking or welding. My daughter is an artist and she loves to build and create things. I would love for her to do one of these competitions. It's just really cool how many different materials you can use to create so much. We don’t live in Fishers but we're going to become members here and start taking welding classes and utilize all their equipment!”

Season 5 is starting to air on PBS stations across the country and on Teams from Indianapolis and tool techs who competed last year came back to help the teams this year.

Brad Allred from Project Build Stuff returned this year. We loved having Brad on the tool tech team last year. He was happy to return as much as we were happy to see him. “I really loved seeing the creativity of the teams, with having such a short amount of time and the incredible projects they came up with. They didn't only accomplish the challenge that was given to them, but also exceeded it in some ways. The amount of work that went into it in such a short amount of time is just incredible.”

A few of the contestants from last year came back as tool techs or volunteers. One of those participants is now a freshman in high school. Miles Davis was on team who went to Nationals. “I wanted to stay involved in some way, but didn't want to compete again because I put high expectations on myself and I'd already done well. I thought the tool techs helped me out and they felt like mentors to me. They were part of the reason why I got into woodworking more and more over the last year. This year I wanted to help other teams out by getting their products and ideas made.”

Gregg (l) and Miles (r) returned as Tool Techs

Gregg Nowling participated with The Mallory’s last year and won first place. He also came back as a tool tech. “I decided to be a tool tech because I wanted to be able to give back. I had such an amazing experience, both in Indianapolis and at Nationals, that I just wanted to do more. I wanted an opportunity to actually work with the tools and help the next group of winners because it's a good chance that the next team that wins could come out of these teams here.”

Meet the Teams: Fishers Tigers, The Mavericks, Super Seatons (top row) Seal Team Fix, GearHounds and Machyne Makerspace (bottom row)

The weekend was jam packed with tools, cameras and support from around the city and beyond. A couple of highlights from the weekend included Adam Pinsker from WISH-TV coming out to the competition. He filmed all the action and interviewed leadership at Fishers Maker Playground, Corteva Agriscience and The United Way of Central Indiana. Watch Here

WISH-TV Interviews at Fisher Maker Playground (Slider)

And partners from The DeBruce Foundation, hosted the VIP party inside the Hub & Spoke building. Make48 sponsors, local Indianapolis entrepreneurs and companies came out, toured the makerspace and met the teams and tool techs.

VIP Party with The DeBruce Foundation

On Sunday after the clock ticked down to zero, it was time for the team pitches and the judging ceremony. All the teams did an incredible job pitching their ideas to the four judges, Aylin Bartlett (V.P., Crop Protection Supply Chain at Corteva Agriscience), George Ellis ( Global Director, Procurement Operational Excellence, Corteva Agriscience), John Elliott (President & CEO Gleaners Food Bank), and Fred Payne (President & CEO United Way of Central Indiana).

As a judge, Aylin Bartlett discussed what role they have to play. “When I judge the prototypes today, first of all, I'm going to look for the must-haves. There are some things that are required to make sure that we're able to really bring these ideas to life. But beyond that, I'm going to be looking for creativity, for passion, energy from the teams, potentially new ideas and great ways to bring and harness those ideas to a reality in the future.”

The winning team will go to Nationals in Kansas City to represent Indianapolis in 2023. A big thank you to the city of Fishers, Nick Snyder, Ginny Zimmerman and the entire team at Fishers Parks & Maker Playground. And we couldn’t have done it without main sponsor Corteva Agriscience and the United Way of Central Indiana who laid out the challenge. Make48 also wants to recognize Indiana companies; PNC, Creative Works, AT&T, Torchy’s Tacos, and Portillo’s for also sponsoring this community event. The weekend was action-packed and we made many new friends. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

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