Keith Murr is an engineer, tinkerer and father. He currently serves on our board as vice president, and he brings with him a robust energy and passion for makerspaces. Read on to meet this board member who is doing as much as he can to get Working Class up and running.
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WC: Tell us a little bit about your current job at TE Connectivity.
KM: I’m currently a Sr. Principal Engineer working to drive TE’s Digital Transformation across our Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Operations organizations. “Digital” is a powerful new word in today’s business lexicon, as this is really about the opportunity to elevate efficiencies by leveraging data, new processes, new technologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence across all engineering activities. But my roots are as a Mechanical/Product Design Engineer working directly with customers on next-generation products that all about the world’s continuous craving for more bandwidth, faster speeds and more data storage.
WC: How did you got involved in this makerspace project?
KM: By pure accident. I was walking by 15 East Philadelphia Street on my way to Central Market for breakfast one Saturday morning when I happened to look in the window and see a sign for Working Class York and picture of Pat Sells welding. I was instantly intrigued due to my own interests, background and hobbies. After some quick research on the web later that day, I found an interview with Pat and Erin Casey, who are the founders of Working Class. After seeing their charter, goals and reading some more information, I reached out through the website.
WC: What are your thoughts on the “maker movement” that’s happening right now?
KM: Today’s maker movement is a force spreading across the globe. By the end of 2016, there were 1,400 makerspaces globally. Why? Because makerspaces offer a unique facility that gives budding entrepreneurs, students, hobbyists, technologists, artists and craftspeople a place to work, share ideas, collaborate and innovate with others, work with equipment they do not have, and learn new skills. Makerspaces also offer opportunities for merging partnership with educational institutions, the local community, local and national businesses and local subject matter experts. It’s so exciting so see the inertia across the country. These are the incubators from which the next radical products and ideas will emerge because there are, in essence, no boundaries or restrictions.
WC: Why do you think York needs a makerspace?
KM: For a number of reasons. York’s legacy is built, in many ways, on a workforce of engineering, manufacturing and skilled trade backgrounds. Therefore, York is full of people with all types of technical skills just waiting to be unleashed. Also, both York College of Pennsylvania and Penn State York have recognized the need to provide outlets for their students’ innovative mindset, unleash the entrepreneurial spirit within, and provide a co-work facility and workspace. A makerspace gives them a place to do all that while turning ideas into reality. Finally, as schools continue to de-emphasize “industrial arts” within their curriculum, makerspaces will give the local community a place to work, learn and build.
WC: What’s your favorite thing to “make?”
KM: Wow, that’s a hard question! I guess it depends on which day you ask me. Some days it’s Legos or building Rube Goldberg machines in the basement with my kids. Other days, it’s playing with my Raspberry Pi mini-computer and trying to ‘connect’ my home with all the sensor technology available. Or working on a contemporary art glass project. But my roots are in woodworking, metal working, and technical drawing and illustration from back in high school. So I’m a classic “jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none” kind of person.
WC: Why do you love York City?
KM: I see so much energy and amazing people who are truly committed to transforming York City into a better community and business culture of “I want to be downtown and involved.” I am truly amazed by the skills, talents, commitment and depth of these folks who are making a difference. I’m humbled to be a very, very small part of York’s continuous transformation.
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Thanks for the interview and all of your help thus far, Keith!