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Meet The Team: Deb Hess

Deb Hess has worked with Make48 and the team on an assortment of projects this year. Legendary in the inventing community, we first met Deb through the United Inventors Association (UIA) and we’re happy to have her experience and background at Make48. Get to know Deb, who’s been inspiring inventors to be creative for over 30+ years.

Amy Gray (l) with Deb Hess (r)

Tell me a little about yourself…

I am a lifelong learner, a creative, wife, mom, mom-in-law, grandma, and I have a long history of being a community volunteer. My husband Gerry and I live in Redwood Falls MN. We are in the process of downsizing and finding a smaller home - so our kids don’t have to do it :-). Spending time with my family is my all time favorite activity. Attending live theater productions, music, cooking, camping, and volunteering on committees in the community and at church are the ones that come to mind today.

How did you get involved with the company?

Well…it is a long story. I have been involved in the inventing industry since 1985, starting as a volunteer with a non-profit organization called the Minnesota Inventors Congress (MIC). The MIC was founded in 1958, based on the premise that new ideas create new products and new products create new markets, and new markets create jobs. Make48 does the same thing.

I have found a way to stay connected to the industry in many ways over the years. In 2014, I became involved with the United Inventors Association. First as a board member, then as the Operations Director. Tom Gray was a member of the Board of Directors. Tom has kept in touch over the years and when I retired he reached out to see if I would be interested in joining the team. I tried so hard to say no, but….how can you shut off all those years of supporting creativity, innovation and inventing. Obviously, I couldn’t, so here I am. My husband and I attended the 2nd season finals in Kansas City, MO. I knew I would love it, and it was everything I could have imagined it would be. I have been involved in and taught the process of inventing for over 35 years and to see it happen in just 48 hours is exhilarating. The concept of Make48 always made sense, but to see it live was something else. The energy on the floor is contagious.

National Hardware Show 2019

What is your favorite part about your role and what (if any) have you learned since being with Make48?

Connecting with the people who put it all together! This is an amazing company.

I have learned that over the years Make48 is constantly perfecting its ability to cast as wide of a net as possible, to allow as many people to participate in, and experience the process and to feel the extreme energy high that happens when creativity and innovation are allowed to happen.

Since we work with makers, what’s something you’ve made that you’re proud of or the craziest thing you’ve made?

I designed the house we are living in. And love hearing from people about how unique and efficient it is! It has two independent living spaces. On the main floor and basement there is a full kitchen, living room, dining room, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths on the main and one on the lower. 10’ x17’ foot storage room in the basement and a 3 car garage that can fit at least 5 cars with a storage room inside the garage. On a smaller scale - years ago I made a Christmas tree out of old jewelry. I thought I would try to make a wall decoration for my granddaughter using old jewelry and glued it on a board of her initial L. Her brother wanted one too. We talked about what he might want it to be made of and since he can sit for hours playing with a very small box of Legos he thought it should be Legos. His stands and has little shelves so he can switch out the figures on them.

What inspires you?

Art, music, great designs. Interior design and new products. Great entertainment. Creative writing. Trying something new. Anything that has to do with creativity and innovation.

Listen to Deb Hess on Tuttle Innovation with Warren Tuttle and Carmine Denisco where she talks more about her background in trade shows, lessons learned, and tips to get your product on the shelf.

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