Jim Byrne REDC 2019

Jim Byrne, left, explains a piece of equipment used for welding at the 82nd annual REDC meeting Wednesday night at the MINT makerspace in Rutland. Byrne is fabricator for Two Bad Cats LLC, a garden-tool maker and volunteer shop leader at the MINT.

REDC’s leaders said one of the many things being made at The MINT, Rutland’s maker space, is a better Rutland.

The MINT was the location of Rutland Economic Development Corp.’s annual meeting Wednesday, and Executive Director Tyler Richardson said the organization was excited to show the space off.

“We wanted to bring you here tonight to show you some of the exciting work being done, the infrastructure being built,” he said.

The meeting saw the election of a new president for REDC, with vice president John Casella II taking over from outgoing president John Russell III. Shana Louiselle succeeded Casella as vice president while Karen Garrow and Nicole Kesselring continue as treasurer and secretary, respectively. Directors Mary Ann Goulette and Rob Mitchell were also re-elected.

The organization presented its business member of the year awards to Enman-Kesselring Consulting Engineers and Heritage Family Credit Union and bestowed the Innovator of the Year award on MINT Executive Director Karen McCalla.

“This is certainly an exciting time for our community, and we all play such a vital role in its continuing as a vibrant place to live, work and pursue dreams,” Casella said.

Casella said REDC’s initiatives were too numerous to discuss each individually, so he wanted to focus on the MINT.

“So many of our community’s goals can be correlated right here,” he said. “The MINT offers a variety of options — options such as incubator space for entrepreneurs ... a low barrier to develop products, businesses and hobbies.”

McCalla discussed how the center helped people develop skills working in “non-digital space.” She said those skills can transform into careers, and the MINT is working on a series of “microcredential programs” to certify those skills for potential employers. The makerspace is looking to help entrepreneurs with programs on subjects like taking better photographs of your products and selling on Etsy.

“It’s really transformative when you have an idea that you formed in your head, and then you can come here and make it into a physical thing,” she said. “That’s what the MINT is for, so people can have those experiences.”

Editor’s note: Rob Mitchell is general manager of the Rutland Herald.



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