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Stan Fernald | Maker Spotlight

We have dubbed Stan Fernald the Make48 OG. One of the first volunteers, Stan has led the tool techs at many of our regional city events and filmed PBS competitions.

First introduced to Make48 by our original co-founders, Stan volunteered at the very first competition at the Kansas City Union Station-Science City in 2015. It’s one of the most memorable ones for Stan because “it was so grassroots and we didn’t know what we were doing. But hey we’re inventors. We figured it out.”

Skilled in a variety of making technologies including; 3d printing/CAD, welding/metalwork, laser cutting and graphic design, he’s also the master at bringing unique tools and metals that do fine and delicate work. Since he’s been at multiple events, Stan has seen it all and brings a collection of his own tools and parts with him. Much of it is used on the trophies that are handmade during the events and given to the winning teams. It’s become one of his favorite things to do as a tool tech.

Stan once told me the reason he keeps coming back is because of “the sportsmanship, creativity and inspiration that it brings in. (the) Spirit of Make48, everybody is feeding off of everybody else. Even if you’re competing with them, they’re also inspiring each other. It inspires me, and that’s why I got involved as a tool tech from the start.”

An artist who used to teach at the Kansas City Art Institute, Stan felt at home in MIAD for the Milwaukee competition this year. His first impression of the host location was nothing but positive. “It’s so great here. Everything is under one roof. And they have all these design programs like, industrial design, product design, architecture and communication design. They're really doing it right with a high level of professionalism.” It was in Milwaukee that Stan answered our Make48 Maker questions.

Stan working on the Milwaukee First Place Trophy

M48: What are some of the best memories from the past events?

Stan: Make48 has been great for meeting people. There's been so many unique people, big personalities and overall very wonderful people that have come through. It’s been fun and very entertaining.

L to R: Wes Lewis, Chris Burns, Izzy Swan, Stan Fernald and Mike Hutton (Wichita 2021)

M48: You've been a tool tech many times. What would you say is the most difficult part for you?

Stan: The thing that I worry about most is making sure that the trophy is good, solid, and done before everyone else. That's very important to me because our love and hearts go right into that.

2021 Indianapolis Trophy

M48: What has it meant to you being in this maker community?

Stan: It's where my heart is. It's hard to narrow that down to one thing. It's a creative environment, collaboration, people, and positive influences. It's a myriad of things that I can't describe in under 3 hours.

Tom Gray (L), Stan (M) and Amy Gray (R) with First Place Trophy

M48: One tool you cannot do without?

Stan: Pencil. And that goes with something to write on as well. But I can use a wall, the floors, the ceiling, anything.

M48: If you were on a Make48 team who would you want on your team?

Stan: I would definitely work with Travis Putman. We work great together.

I'm a big fan of Answers with Joe (Joe Scott) . I think his creative insights would make him a good participant.

Travis (L) and Stan (R) at '21 Madison-Make48

Who inspires you or how do you get inspired to do things?

Stan: I think inspiration can come from anywhere, and it usually comes from within someone. There are various creative people that I admire and I think they can stimulate it out of you. But it's still the inspiration that's in your heart.

Filming Season 4

Finally, what advice would you give to someone to get motivated?

Stan: Make48 is about action. So many people have these wonderful ideas. You don't want to be that person that walks through the store going, well, I thought of that. Well, so did someone else, and they acted upon it. That could be you. Act on your ideas.

And be kind to each other.

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