Make Youngstown Makes Impression

By Lauren Foote

Youngstown State University played host to the second Make Youngstown event last week, a collaboration between America Makes, the Youngstown Business Incubator and YSU.  lauren's photo

The event provides a platform for local businesses using advanced technologies to create things following the maker movement trend — including 3-D printing, 3-D scanning, interactive software, virtual reality and hydroponics.

American Makes hosted the first Make Youngstown event in 2014 with 100 people participating.

Mike Hripko, associate vice president of research at YSU, attended the event. He said it went really well.

“It was well attended by entrepreneurs and local companies,” Hripko said. “The students really engaged them with good questions about starting a business and being part of a company.”

Hripko said they brought a corporate guest from Siemens, an engineering firm.

“He seemed really intrigued by the event,” Hripko said. “He appreciated the fact that the event combines entrepreneurship, and it combines technology.”

He noted that many of the companies had former YSU students working for them.

“I hope the students realized the entrepreneurial opportunities that were there and took a chance to learn from the positive role models that were there,” Hripko said.

Jeff Keel, co-founder of Alios 3-D, said the event helped his business network.

“Students like learning from us, and they are receptive to our work,” he said.

A panel discussion was held on Wednesday where local entrepreneurs and makers spoke to students from YSU and the Lewis School. The panel included Tony DeAscentis from Via680, Dan Fernback of JuggerBot 3-D and Brian Alls and Jessie Tuscano of Bravura 3D.

Rich Wetzel, additive manufacturing business coordinator for YBI, said about 30 students attended the panel, and they asked good questions.

“[It] was good because they gave lessons on how to hit the ground running on business and starting a company, especially when it comes to 3-D manufacturing,” Wetzel said.

He said he thought the students enjoyed listening to actual entrepreneurs who graduated from YSU.

“It was good for the students, because it teaches them that it’s ok to ask for help, especially when it comes to business,” Wetzel said.

Fernback and his two partners at JuggerBot 3-D are YSU graduates, which he said helped them greatly.

“YSU is the main reason we were able to conceptualize this venture,” Fernback said. “We were introduced to 3-D printers here … They let us play and learn.”

He said the panel was a lot of fun because they got to pass knowledge onto students.

“It was interesting to see how other people thought,” Fernback said. “Students were receptive to it.”

Fernback said he didn’t know what to expect going into the event, but he really enjoyed it.

“I am looking forward to seeing this event grow, and to see what work comes out of it,” Fernback said.