Closing Thoughts from the 2009 President

Closing Thoughts from the 2009 President

As I step down from my position as president, pass the reins to the 2010 board of directors, and become a normal member again, I want to look back at everything that led to the founding of PS1 and all the work we have done since then. I have had the distinct pleasure and honor of working with a literal army of like-minded and brilliant collaborators to create and work with some amazing organizations over the past few years.

Back in 2004, with the help of many friends, I helped co-found TOOOL US (The Open Organization of Lockpickers, US division) with the blessings of Barry Wels (a TOOOL Holland founder).  We put our necks on the line and worked to bring lockpicking out of the shadows and into the national and international spotlight by showing that holding information back only hurts. By releasing information detailing lock weaknesses, manufacturers improved their systems and the field of physical security.

In 2008, I worked with an amazing group of people in the Washington DC area to help found HacDC, the nations’ capital’s hackerspace, and one of the first US hackerspaces. Learning to work with community leaders, acquire funding, and bring brilliant people from fields not used to collaborating together other was exhilarating, and even more exhilarating when those collaborations bore fruit.

In late 2008, a small group of friends and I began organizing meetings for what would eventually become Pumping Station: One here in Chicago.

In the past 12 month since Pumping Station One’s January 2009 founding, some amazing things have happened:

  • Successfully created a space for hackers of all types to meet and work together
  • Built a pretty decent network capable of people working on projects related to it
  • Held the Geek Prom and the PPPWRS to great response from the media, the hacker/geek crowd, and community of Chicago
  • Many of our members have contributed code and hardware designs to the Open Source community
  • Brewed some wonderful concoctions in our Zymurgy (beer making) workshop
  • Built a woodshop and an electrical workshop.
  • Built a massive loft.
  • Built a TARDIS
  • Had members featured in articles in several news sources (including the American Bar Association’s Journal!)
  • Reached 50 members and growing
  • Countless projects from smart fabrics, pneumatic launch systems, code development, and chemical engineering.
  • Countless milestones large and small I’m certain to have missed here

In the process of accomplishing this there are so many people to thank for helping to achieve the dream of a hackerspace in Chicago:

  • All the founding members who contributed generously of their money, time, and effort when Pumping Station: One was just a glimmering dream and a tiny pile of paperwork at the State Secretary’s office.
  • The entire 2009 Board of Directors for helping to keep this herd of cats organized and pointed in the same direction.
  • Nathan Witt for being such a gentleman with the patience to take all the notes, take care of the website, and cut so much wood into useful assembled pieces (including our public stocks).
  • Ishmael Rufus for looking after our books, because if he hadn’t we’d probably end up in prison for doing our taxes wrong.
  • Eli Skipp for making the world inside our walls prettier and more awesome every day, and while being a source of inspiration for women everywhere.
  • Nicolle “Rogue Clown” Neulist for being our own legal beagle(and Commodore 128 music queen).
  • John “Jur1st” Benson of the Cowtown Computer Congress in Kansas City for also  keeping us out of legal hot water.
  • Sacha De’Angeli for being our Danger “Safety” Committee chair and make sure we all have our fingers, noses, and toes.
  • Jeff Kantarek for keeping a hovering firm hand on how not to create hydrogen by sticking a car batter in salt water.
  • Sarah Sutherlin for making sure the loft didn’t collapse on us with her keen architect skills.
  • Nick Farr for helping keep me sane from afar.

There are many, many others that I wish I could thank.

A year ago, we all set out to create a space where it is encouraged to learn beyond the normal educational path, I am proud to see what we have all built together, and I am excited to see what will evolve from our organization and from the worldwide hackerspaces movement.

So this boy from New Jersey has the pleasure to introduce an excellent group of leaders that will bring PS:One into a new period of enlightenment and exploration – the 2010 Board of Directors: Jim Burke, Tim Saylor, Jordan Bunker, Ryan Lanham, Ishmael Rufus, Sarah Sutherlin, Jeff Kantarek, and Sacha De’Angeli.  I’m terribly excited to see what many people thought wouldn’t be possible in Chicago grow into something that no one expected.

Per Ardua Ad Astra

Eric Michaud,

President Emeritus

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