We have batches of good news to share about what’s going on with Open Source Ecology. The most important news of all, as a foundation for everything else, has to be our bringing on board a full-time core team, including our Operations Manager, Katie Whitman; our Product Lead, Gary De Mercurio; our Technical Community Manager, Audrey Rampone; and our Documentation Manager, Rob Kirk.
To have a proper full-time support team for the project is a critical step in the growth of Open Source Ecology’s work. As the project has grown over the last few years and excitement about it has spread, I’ve found myself increasingly mired in details. I began to realize the difference between vision and execution. Those are two different stories, and I am glad that OSE is going deep on the latter – in terms of gathering a team that will allow us to execute on our audacious promises. I look forward to us producing the type of results that we will all be proud of – as we move forward with an ambitious agenda. Our core team’s talents and efforts will multiply the work that we can do together – and will allow me to concentrate on the vision that inspired the project from the beginning. Moving ahead, I will focus on creating the strategic direction for the project, creating the culture, bringing our team on board, developing partnerships, and securing further support. Now, let’s meet the team.
OSE Core Team 2013
Katie (Katherine) Whitman, our Operations Manager, will join us formally on June 15. She will deal with legal and organizational issues, and she will make sure site operations are running properly, taking care of all the myriad details that come up. She is charged with “keeping the ship afloat,” and that’s just the right metaphor in Katie’s case.
Katie comes to us from the East Coast, with deep family roots in New England and South Carolina. She grew up in Florida, went to high school in Massachusetts, and graduated from The U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.
Katie sailed competitively from age nine through college, leading Navy to successive top five national rankings and was named Woman’s All-American in 2006. As a naval officer, Katie managed ship operations aboard the USS Rushmore, guiding 50 engineers through engine and auxiliary equipment maintenance. Katie capped her naval career with a two-year tour serving at the Pentagon’s Chief of Naval Operations, Current Operations and Plans Directorate, while she simultaneously earned a degree from the George Washington University School of Business.
If anyone can keep up with everything that goes on at Open Source Ecology, Katie can. As she looks forward to her work with us, Katie explains, “As Operations Manager, I am striving for organization, consistency, and timeliness. My goal is to live up to the expectations of my OSE Core Team. They are brilliant, and if I can support them, then we are going to succeed.”
Why did she choose to work with Open Source Ecology? Katie puts it this way: “My goal was to find a company whose mission fuels satisfaction. OSE does that for me.”
She envisions an exciting path ahead for the core team, “Honest communication is key. Adding to that, I expect that this team is going to have a lot of fun facing frustrating challenges.”
After juggling life as both a full-time professional and a full-time student all at once, Katie’s looking forward to rekindling her love of novels, and running more often. She also plans to introduce the team to her first mate, her Old English Bulldog, Maggie.
Gary DeMercurio, our Product Lead, is already on-site and hard at work preparing for the ambitious program that lies ahead. By July 4, OSE will produce six more machines, and Gary is in charge of this process. I am getting him on board with the design methodology according to OSE specifications, while using OSE’s module-based design. Gary will manage onsite design jams and the work of six interns this summer. He’ll be in charge of workshop management, tool control, and taking care of people while they are here.
Raised in rural Indiana, Gary graduated from Indiana University, where he studied psychology and criminal justice before joining the United States Marine Corps. Subsequently, Gary worked at Sikorsky Aerospace, where he served first as a program manager and then as a quality engineer; ran multiple international facilities in Europe, resolving supplier issues; and finally returned to the U.S. to work with an experimental flight program. Over his six years at Sikorsky, Gary earned numerous awards for creating alternative solutions, improving quality and company relations. “My road to OSE has been a great one—from racing motorcycles … flying medevac helicoptors to building 1000 horsepower Supras and working on experimental aircraft for the largest rotary wing manufacturer in the world,” he explains.
Ultimately, however, Gary decided that he wanted to return to what he did best. Help people. Enrolled at Harvard University, he is studying Sustainability and Environmental Management with a concentration in Ecology.
Gary sees working with OSE as “the opportunity to not only help people with the products we will be designing, but to spur on the open source mindset and show the world that collaboration can far exceed the single-mindedness of corporations. My role at OSE is a unique one, as I get to have my hand in so many different things, from designs to the actual build, quality assurance, and the structures here at the Factor e Farm (FeF). However, the most enjoyable part of my new position will be my interaction with those of you that will take your time to come to the NEW and improved FeF. Gary has plans for you if you are interested in working hands-on at the Factor e Farm to further the development of the Global Village Construction Set.
Audrey Rampone, our new Technical Community Manager, is in charge of bringing talent to our operation. She will be developing and streamlining processes for talent search, and she will manage a distributed contributor pool that allows us to push the limits of open source technology development. She will work specifically with remote collaborators, devising and running development jams, and recruiting teams and coordinating resources for each event. This will include using cloud platforms to do 3D designs collaboratively in real time. The online development jams that Audrey will oversee and facilitate can be run in parallel with the onsite development jams that Gary will manage.
Audrey joined the OSE team on April 29th. She’s energized, and she has a vision:
OSE has accomplished so much to date, I am thrilled to be part of such an amazing organization. As the Technical Community Manager, I hope to bring together the people who share the same vision as OSE and leverage their talent and desire to help with our schedule so that we may achieve our goals and major milestones. OSE has already attracted talented and enthusiastic contributors from around the world—by establishing a targeted recruiting, retention and talent search process, we can achieve even greater efficiencies. There is room for any motivated person to help OSE. I am eager to find a place for each person so that we may achieve ultimate collaboration to enable ultimate production.
Audrey was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. She received her commission through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1999 as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer. She worked in logistics and acquisition for GPS programs, and she served as the Lead Program Manager for a NATO logistics and sustainment partnership.
In 2011, Audrey left the Air Force to pursue graduate studies in Boston, Massachusetts. In May 2013, she will receive a Master of Liberal Arts degree in Management from Harvard University Extension School.
Our fourth core team member is Robert Kirk, our Documentation Manager. Rob is an award-winning documentary producer who will head our efforts to produce documentation that carefully shows how to produce the machines of the Global Village Construction Set. He will focus both on documentation and video production. We look forward to the next generation of crystal-clear explainer videos that will bring our work to a much broader audience.
His first project will be producing a video that captures the essence of our development jams. The video will show the nuts and bolts of the techniques that we are experimenting with to deliver on the promise of rapid, collaborative development.
As co-founder of Digital Ranch Productions and Texture, Inc., Rob brings a wealth of experience to this task. He is an Emmy Award-winning producer/director with over 30 years of television, feature film, commercial and interactive experience. He has developed multiple award-winning series for a variety of networks including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Tru TV, A&E, History, and Investigation Discovery.
Rob’s feature documentary, Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness, won Best Documentary at the Hollywood Film Festival, and was featured at the United Nations in New York. The film, about a Japanese rescuer of Jews in WWII, aired nationally on PBS. He was nominated for an Emmy for his three hour special, The Last Days of World War II, and received an Emmy for his special, Remembering World War II: Pearl Harbor.
Luckily for us, Rob leapt at the opportunity to work with Open Source Ecology:
My biggest thrill as a filmmaker is to be able to tell a great story… and Open Source Ecology is an amazing story! When I first learned about Marcin and his vision my immediate reaction was, “how can I be part of that?” Now I’m tremendously excited to lend my experience to documenting the growth of OSE and be able to create videos and written materials that can spread the “word” and help make the tools accessible to people around the globe. Hopefully my role will help turn this world-changing dream into a tangible reality.
Rob’s partnership with us will be a great opportunity to develop our collaborative, remote video editing methods to leverage the collaborative production power of our global support community.
Marcin Jakubowski, Founder and Executive Director of Open Source Ecology and the fifth member of the Core Team, is a farmer, technologist, and ambitious entrepreneur who is starting a new civilization from scratch in the Midwestern U.S. Marcin came to the U.S. from Poland as a child. He graduated with honors from Princeton and earned his PhD in Fusion Physics from the University of Wisconsin.
Frustrated with his education’s lack of relevance to pressing world issues, he founded Open Source Ecology in 2003 and began development on the Global Village Construction Set, a DIY tool set of 50 different industrial machines—everything from a tractor, from tractors, to an oven, to a circuit maker. All of the designs are open-source, so that anyone—from the remote villages in Third World countries to the rural farms of Missouri—can have access to these meaningful tools to create a better life.
Marcin’s goal is to work with others to create the Open Source Economy—an efficient economy that optimizes both production and distribution while providing environmental regeneration and social justice, and an economy that simultaneously affords people an opportunity to thrive and to pursue mastery, autonomy and purpose. He believes that one outcome of an open source economy is that a community of 12 people can produce a modern standard of living using local resources – with 2 hours per day. His work has recently been recognized in TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012, and he has been named a 2012 TED Senior Fellow and a 2013 Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow, in an affirmation of the world-changing potential of Open Source Ecology’s mission and vision.
So that’s our Core Team for 2013. But our broader OSE team includes every collaborator, every implementer, and every True Fan—in other words, you! World changing always requires many dedicated, hands-on visionaries. It’s never primarily about what we can do on the Factor e Farm in Missouri as a team of five. It’s about what we can all do together. We will discuss ways in which you can get involved in more detail. In the meantime, we are hosting our first design sprints over the next 3 weeks to kick off this year’s collaborative development season. If you would like to join our pool of open source developers—engineers, video producers, documentarians, web people, graphics, etc., who participate to future development events—please sign up at our Tech Team Culturing Survey.