_MG_2014My name is Jake Ryan, and I am the Founder + Director of the Open Bench Project L3C. For the past year I have been working to bring a Makerspace to Portland Maine.  While this started as a desire to simply meet people and share some resources, it has turned into a full time job for me. As I have spent time meeting other people who consider themselves “makers” and asking them what they would like a shared workshop to look like, I have come to understand what it means to be “locally relevant”. It is this line of questioning which drives the Open Bench, and helps to shape it. I have met regularly with business mentors for the past 9 months to help me work out a plan for success.  Together we have crafted a model that I hope will allow Portland’s community of makers to own and thus continue to shape this project in the future.

As a father and life long learner I appreciate the effect that being surrounded by confident and curious people has on my children and myself. I strive to demonstrate my belief that it is ok and in fact important to be bad at things. That is, it is important to be comfortable with being less than proficient. It is rare that we start any endeavor in life with a high level of proficiency, and it is when we accept this fact that we are primed to learn.

I am working on this because I believe passionately that providing a place where people can come together, share ideas , explore their passions and make real the things they conceive is important in helping people realize that they can effect change in their world. I believe that providing people with this experience in turn helps to drive apathy from our communities and creates a population that is more responsive and engaged. This is critical if we hope to address many of the major social, economic and environmental concerns that we face today. It is my belief that we all have good ideas, and we all could use some help bringing them forward.

I look forward to meeting you soon.

Jake Ryan