INNOVATE® Tampa Bay Volume 3

Page 78




Making the Future in Uptown Tampa & Beyond

A History of Expertise

AMRoC Fab Lab: Making the Future in Uptown Tampa & Beyond AMRoC Fab Lab, a precedent setting 7500 sq. ft. public Fabrication Laboratory located in University Mall in Tampa, is a program of the non-profit Foundation for Community Driven Innovation. The Fab Lab’s primary mission is to build capacity, empower people through activities for creative self-expression and bridge workforce and economic opportunity gaps in the process.

Terri Willingham is the author of two books on public library makerspaces, Makerspaces in Libraries (2015) and Library Makerspaces: The Complete Guide (2017), for Rowman & Littlefield publishers, both of which are used as texts in Information Sciences programs nationwide. Terri also served as Regional Director for the national nonprofit FIRST Robotics organization, helping build and support youth robotics programs for the central Florida area. During that time, Steve served as Judge Advisor to the FIRST Tech Challenge program for the state of Florida.

The Past that set the Groundwork for the Future FCDI founders Steve and Terri Willingham worked in the informal education arena for over two decades, providing mentoring support to youth in FIRST robotics and to people of all ages in the maker community.

Their combined expertise in engineering, the development of public makerspaces and first-hand experience with the positive impact of FIRST youth robotics, moved them to create the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation in 2015, to bring these experiences to more people. Two years later, with seed funding from a Lightning Community Hero grant awarded to Terri in 2017, and a diverse and visionary board, FCDI was able to work with the equally visionary University Mall owners, RD Management, to create the living laboratory that is AMRoC Fab Lab. RD Management immediately recognized the power and positive impact a creative, capacity building facility like AMRoC can have in a community and how it complements their vision for the future of the Mall as it is redeveloped in the new mixed use city center soon to be known as RITHM at Uptown

They were the architects, in 2013, of the 10,000 sq. ft. HIVE makerspace at John F. Germany Library, the flagship of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative. Developed in coordination with Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library administrators, and the professional and dedicated partnership of Sumo Software and PLUGHITZ Corporation, the HIVE was the first large scale public library makerspace in the Tampa Bay area and was one of the largest in Florida, helping set other libraries on the path to public creative spaces.