October 2018 Newsletter



Newsletter Highlights:

Newsletter Highlights:
  • Letter from the President
  • Board Updates
  • Now Recruiting for Nova Labs Board – Closes October 26
  • American-Made Solar Prize
  • Empower2Make
  • Volunteer Appreciation: Celebrating Round Up
  • VIP Visit: Josh Hix of Plated
  • Highlights in October
  • Member Spotlight
  • Call for Volunteers

Letter from the President

Brandon Davies-Sekle & Tracee Garner: E2M Team Wheel Chair Desk

When I came in to prepare for the September member meeting, one of the Empower2Make teams was engaged in a follow-up. Brandon Davies-Sekle and Tracee Garner were here at NOVA Labs continuing to work on the project. Not shy at public speaking, both were happy to share their stories with the membership meeting that evening.

Tracee works for a nonprofit that hires a large percentage of people with disabilities called Loudoun ENDependence (LEND). Her colleague at Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging (AoA or AAA) knew Bo and the E2M mission, and was able to get Tracee connected.

Brandon, a previous Tech Shop member, joined Nova Labs and was recruited for E2M while using the ShopSabre CNC. Brandon jumped in, happy to contribute. I love this story because the ShopSabre was made possible because of the prequel to Empower2Make – TOM-DC. Sponsorship funds raised for TOM-DC were used to purchase the ShopSabre in time for the earlier event and since has provided a much appreciated addition to the makerspace. This is the give and take made possible at Nova Labs. Each event builds on the success of the earlier one and stretches us. Read more about Empower2Make in this issue!

Be sure to check out Nova Labs’ newest venture: Engaging with the Department of Energy Solar Prize Competition – especially for makerspaces, in partnership with the Nation of Makers. Please come Tuesday, October 2, to learn more, at a special information session, with special guests from the Nation of Makers: Jade Garrett, Program Manager and Jeanne Marshall, Virginia State Ambassador for Making. There are many ways to get involved.

Happy Making!


Nation of Makers/Department of Energy

Compete in the American-Made Solar Prize

Come to the Nova Labs Solar Challenge Meetup on Tuesday October 2nd at 6:30 pm to learn more information on how to compete to win part of the $3 million dollar prize by creating a 90 second video and answering four questions!

The American-Made Solar Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate and sustain American solar innovation through a series of prize competitions. Competitors will have access to a diverse and powerful support network that leverages the expertise of national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the United States. The Solar Prize is a series of three progressive competitions that will incentivize the nation’s innovators and entrepreneurs to rapidly discover, research, iterate, and deliver new solutions to market. Submissions are due October 5th.

Solar Prize Info Session

Board Updates

This month, the board approved a new Key Member, Tiffany Winsor. Welcome, Tiffany! We also submitted all information for our FY17 taxes which should be filed on-time this year.

The board also approved a Greenway renovation proposal from the Woodshop and Metalshop stewards. The renovations will make the Greenway easier to organize, cleaner, safer, and more welcoming to new members.

The board continues to work on expanding liability insurance coverage for our instructors who are legally referred to as 1099 sub-contractors. The board has already approved a budget to cover the expansion of our umbrella policy and we will activate it as soon as all the paperwork is completed. The board will send out an update once the new policy is active.

As mentioned in the recent member meeting, the TechComm team is working on a new website. Margaret Kositch has scheduled several web listening sessions. Please check MeetUp for details.

We also met with Joel Leonard, a well-known maker in the national circuit. Joel discussed many strategies for raising money and engaging the community. We were very excited to meet Joel and were thankful for his insights and lessons learned.

Lastly, the board is recruiting! As you might have heard, we’re looking for new board members. Please read below for more information.

>Provided by Jim Girardi

Now Recruiting for Board Members – Closing October 26

Nova Labs is currently recruiting for the board, and is especially interested in candidates with one or more of the following:
Some bookkeeping experience
Basic knowledge of cash-based GAAP accounting
Experience reading balance sheets and profit and loss statements
Experience with non-profit finances
Experience with Quickbooks
The Nova Labs board recruitment fall round is closing on Friday, October 26, but there is still time to find out more:

Please come to a Meet-the-Board session:

Wednesday 10/3 at 7PM
Wednesday 10/10 at 7PM

Please contact any of the members of the Board recruitment committee if you are interested in learning more or have someone to recommend as a Board candidate:

Margaret Kositch, margaret.kositch@nova-labs.org (lead)
Lieselot Whitbeck, lieselot.whitbeck@nova-labs.org
Jeff Nicholas, jeff8907@gmail.com
Jade Garrett, jade.west@gmail.com

>Provided by Margaret Kositch

If you are ready to apply for the Nova Labs Board, here’s the link to get started:
Apply for Nova Labs Board

Empower2Make | A Make-A-Thon for Assistive Technology
The Empower2Make (E2M) Event was a huge success for everyone involved. Over 60 makers, innovators, volunteers, and need-knowers converged on Nova-Labs for a 72 hour make-a-thon to make this possible. They formed into Six teams that worked together with their Knower and Pro Makers to develop some amazing assistive technology:

Team Car Chair created a removable vibrating/massaging chair seat system that helps their Knower’s legs while in the car.
Team Skateboard enabled a blind skateboarder to get haptic feedback while skating and used machine vision and signals to allow their Knower to navigate a skate park.
Team Foot Scooter designed and built a custom addition to their Need Knower’s shoe to help him walk better on his own.
Team Hand Raising fabricated two LED indicator panels controlled by a discreet custom 3D printed joystick to allow their Knower to be able to get people’s attention and communicate his needs.
Team Head Pod redesigned a neck support system so that it would comfortably fit their Knower’s head.
Team Wheel Chair Desk fabricated a slim and portable desk that helps their Knower throughout the day be able to get tasks done.

We are excited for the next make-a-thon around the corner April 12-14, 2019! Makers, innovators, need-knowers, and sponsors can sign up on our website below.
Web: www.empower2make.org Email: info@empower2make.org

> Provided by the Empower2Make Team: Bo Pollett Wernick, Jade Garrett, Fred Briggs, Tae Edell, Jennyfer Peterson, Callye Keen, Mike Hogarty and Patrick Thompson

Volunteer Appreciation: Celebrating Wood and Metal Shops –

Wood Shop Awards presented at the Fall Wood Shop Roundup

Woodworker of the Year: Woodworker who most exemplifies the Nova Labs Maker ethos Zach Borshuk for his amazing efforts building segmented vases, maintaining any and all equipment, selfless community mentorship and volunteerism and attention to detail while making pokeballs.
Shop Volunteer of the Year: Maker Volunteer who has made the biggest impact in the past the year. Dual awards given to Frank Sogandares and Doug Calvert for their tireless efforts keeping the shop organized, clean and in working order. A fantastic duo, so give them your gratitude.
Mentor of the Year: Maker who has taken time out of their busy schedule to give back to you and others. When you must go to the mountain top, you go to Larry Root. Is their another woodworker as knowledgeable or as willingly to guide you down the shining path? Maybe, but they ain’t in our shop.
Social Media Maven/Over-Sharer of the Year: The maker with the biggest mouth and is always showing off their latest, greatest, sweetest project! Our local wood-turning guru, Rick Wiel. If you haven’t seen his work, you are missing out. Absolutely incredible. The type of work that inspires you to do something with your maker self, if only your jaw could get off the floor.
Over-Engineer Engineer that Could of the Year: For the maker who bites off a little bit more than they can chew….EVERYTIME! Brian Kidwell. Ask him about the maple/walnut table that also doubled as a dog house? Or was it a dog-house that doubled as a two-toned table for different decor?
Who Made That? Maker Of the Year: An award of ambition, if not completion. Often given to the maker who leaves their completely weird project on the shop shelf….just because…. This year, we award this to Aaron “Paduk” Goldstein, a maker of argyle end-grain cutting boards, modernist menorahs and more!
Slacker of the Year (Maker who Contributes Most Online): Your Slack friend and mine. Nick Carter, proud maker dad who always has something useful to add to the conversation.

> Provided by Patrick Waters, aka WoodShopCowboy

Metal Shop Roundup

On Saturday, September 8th, our maker community came together for what has become an end of summer tradition, the Metalshop and Woodshop Roundups.


In the Metal Shop, 16 people signed up for the meetup, but many more showed up and contributed. We stripped apart the welding and fabrication area and cleaned and organized everything from floor to ceiling! Even toothbrushes were used to clean equipment to a level not seen since they were removed from their shipping boxes! Thanks, guys!


Phase two of the day kicked in with a project to build a new sheet metal rack and to resolve an important safety issue of securing our inert gas tanks to the wall. Everyone helped cut steel for parts of the project, including a well-known wood shop hero who stepped up to contribute his weight to the work!


The results for the day were outstanding! It’s such a joy to be part of such an outstanding and energetic community that can work together to make our organization such a great place!

> Provided by Curt Welch

Josh Hix Visit

Nova Labs partnered with Josh Hix, Co-Founder and CEO of Plated for an event on September 20, focusing on Engineering a startup.

Josh Hix, has built three companies from scratch (two were sold, one is still running), some technical business-to-business products, and one direct-to-consumer food delivery business (Plated). Having grown up with an engineer as a mother, and earning an electrical engineering degree himself, Josh very much approaches the world with an engineering mindset. He has applied this to engineering – and building – companies from inception to hundreds of millions in revenue, and where this mindset has been a help, and on occasion a hindrance.

Biography: Josh is the Co-Founder and CEO of Plated, which is on a mission to make it easy to eat well by building a data science driven perishable food supply chain and empowering people to cook more. To date, Plated has shipped millions of meals to over 95% of the United States, and partnered with the Albertsons Companies family of grocery brands in 2017 to create the first truly omni-channel meal kit experience. Josh received his MBA from Harvard Business school, a BS in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech, and founded two SaaS businesses prior to Plated.

Highlights in October

American-Made Solar Prize Info Session
Come to the Nova Labs Solar Challenge Meetup on Tuesday October 2nd at 6:30 pm to learn more information on how to compete to win part of the $3 million dollar prize by creating a 90 second video and answering four questions! Sign Up Here: Solar Prize Information Session

INCA Meetup
Inventors Network of the Capital Area Oct 9th MeetUp

An evening with Dr Lonnie Johnson – the inventor of the Super Soaker and Nerf Guns! Hear about “The Power of Perseverance” from this world class inventor and NASA engineer. Dr Johnson, who holds over 130 patents, will discuss his NASA engineering and inventing history, and the determination he needed to find success. Tuesday, Oct 9th at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Full event info at: INCA Meeting 10/9 RSVP

Highlights in November

Greenway Roundup

On Nov. 17th and 18th, the Greenway will undergo a huge renovation. If you are interested in helping build out a new space, learning to use woodworking equipment and adding your mark to Nova Labs, this is the event to do it! Be on the look out for more information as we get closer to the date.

Greenway Roundup – Nov. 17
Greenway Roundup – Nov. 18

>Provided by Patrick Waters

Maker Spotlight
Adam Winsor
Adam Winsor is making a big impact on Nova Labs! Adam has been making some pretty radical Halloween decorations and has encouraged many to join him in getting spooky! They’ve been meeting almost every Friday evening, but the official meetup is every two weeks (signup below!). You will be amazed at the costumes, decorations, and community. Come join us! RSVP here: GET SPOOKY!!

>Provided by Julia Smith

Call to Volunteers


Nova Pass is an access control system for Nova Labs tools. Nova Labs members use their badges to activate the tools. The system checks the member database to confirm they are they are signed-off on the tools. The project will eventually be released to open source in the hopes that other maker spaces may benefit.

Nova Pass is being developed in-house by software and hardware developer member volunteers. If you are a software or hardware developer and would like to help we’d love to hear from you.

Sign Up here for the next info session: NOVA Pass

Volunteers needed to work at two outreach events, on Saturday 10/13 at Edison HS in Alexandria, and Saturday 11/3 at Virginia Tech – Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church. Both events are aimed at kids, so we are looking for kid-friendly, mind-expanding, hands-on activities. Contact Jeanne Marshall or Margaret Kositch.

In addition, Nova Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following:

  • Programmers needed for Nova Pass development effort
  • Front Desk person for Monday evenings
  • Outreach team members – Help our team lead with the website, social media, pictures, marketing, and outreach to external communities
  • Open house tour helpers, 2nd Saturday of each month
  • Fall interns at college and high school level
  • Wiki information maintainers
  • Graphic Designer for marketing Flyers
  • Crafter’s Cove needs a serger and/or Sewing 101 Instructor
  • Crafter’s Cove: Administrative Steward to assist Carrie

Contact volunteering@nova-labs.org if you’re interested!