We’re excited to share that we spent a few minutes catching up with Cape Elizabeth High School senior, Open Bench Project member and STEAM student Mac Huffard the other day, despite the back to school rush.

You’ve probably run into Mac lately, too, as he spends a lot of time in the welding shop at OBP. Mac got started in welding after taking a class with Jake Ryan, OBP Director & Founder. He learned the techniques quickly and immensely enjoyed his newfound skills. He admits he was really uncomfortable the first time he tried it, as he did not know what to expect and he was unaccustomed to using the mask. However, as nervous as he was, he was amazed at how satisfying it was to see two pieces of metal merge together. It was incredible. So much so, Mac went on to spending his second semester in the welding shop, perfecting his trade and learning as much as he could about this craft. He polished is skills this summer to the point of being hired for welding projects. He was thrilled to learn he could monetize his passion and began to earn a nice income from his hard work. He says he was really excited that people would pay him to do something he loves, not to mention, “Money is useful!” His official advice, however, for anyone looking to give welding a go is to make sure you check that your metal is square. Twice.

Originally from New Haven, Mac has lived in a variety of places, including New York City and Colorado. His family moved to Maine eight years ago and have been here since. When asked where else he would like to live some day, Mac’s first answer was Mars. And, he’s not kidding. His dream is to someday be a part of SPACE X and the vision of traveling to the red planet to implement human settlements. He’s excited about the prospect of a blank canvas and the challenge of figuring out how to make it work.

It sounds a lot like other areas of his life – everything from how to get a 100% in biology when the teacher said it wasn’t possible to welding with Steve Ferguson where he had to figure out things on the fly. And, of course, if Mars doesn’t work out, he’d consider Venus since that’s the only other celestially viable option… or, California if restricted to Planet Earth.

In his free time, he’s on his high school cross-country and track team and enjoys running. You’ll also find him listening to his classic rock vinyls on his newly purchased turntable, walking his dog on the beach, eating pizza at Otto’s, or rooting against his favorite movie villain, Mugatu, in Zoolander.

We asked Mac if he had to pick one person to get advice from whom would it be. Without hesitating, he shared that he’d rely on his dad. He explained that his dad is a smart guy and they work well together. Being a doctor, he’d go to him for any kind of medical advice, of course, but more so he’s been talking to him his whole life and trusts him completely.

We think Mac’s dad would agree with Norman Peale when he said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Or, maybe that’s “Shoot for Mars.” Good luck, Mac!

And then some,

Your Friends @ OBP