Alex Cheung - Community / Operations


As part of a Community Team, what do you do? What does your work day look like?

I love that I do a little bit of a lot of things: sales tours, help members plan events, connect companies and great minds. I've helped some of our clients make their first sales and saw them from inception to acquisition. It has been incredibly rewarding.

How would you describe your management style?

I would say that I manage by empowering my team. Having started here as a part-time employee and working my way up, I have taken different management styles and techniques from my various managers. I promote an environment that thrives on taking initiative with autonomy, but I am also available for my team to guide them through any problem or question.

Can you tell us about your team and how you work together?

Our team is committed and compassionate. We strive to provide the best service for our members, but we don't forget to have fun.

What unique skills have you developed over time in your role and at this company?

  • how to patch a wall

  • install printer drivers on a computer in any language

  • break down a cardboard box

  • plan and run events for over a hundred people

  • come up with creative solutions to any problem

What opportunities do you think this role prepares you for in the future?

Management experience and working closely on a small team has helped develop as a leader. I know that my people skills can translate to any career—being able to read people and understand how to help them has been a great skill to use anywhere.

What is your professional/academic background and how did you end up in your current role?

I studied Science, Technology, and Society at Vassar College. I also minored in Economics, so my interests were quite diverse. What I loved most about my small, liberal arts education was that there was tight-knit community with fresh faces all the time. I visited Venture Cafe when I was interning for a startup, and I remember being very impressed with the amenities and community here. I went home with a whole mango, and I thought to apply to "that mango place" when I was looking into careers. I found a great community here, and I have been passionate about helping it grow and develop.

How do you see CIC as having profound impact on the world?

I've seen companies and individuals working on issues in all sectors and geographical areas in the world. We are building a community that helps them solve these problems, whether it is by providing the necessary caffeine in the morning, or by connecting someone to their next big opportunity. I heard about a company that was working here on a revolutionary biotech solution, and after being recommended to join MassChallenge by another community member, the company was awarded the largest funding prize from MassChallenge.

What excites you most about CIC?

The people! The staff and clients here are the people that I hang out with on the weekends and in my free time. I think it says a lot that the community is built of genuine and passionate people.

Claire Drummond - Relationship Management and Sales


What unique skills have you developed in your role at CIC?

The ability to email and walk - crucial skill.

Tell us about a fulfilling or exciting special project that you worked on this year.

Our CIC Providence is our newest campus, coming Q3 of 2019. The proximity and strong relationships between Boston and Providence have enabled our company and me to really dig into the community, the institutions there, and how CIC can play a large role in helping to build the Providence innovation ecosystem.

Can you tell us about your team and how you work together?

Efficient and shared language that enables us to quickly propose radical ideas, workshop them and provide clarity/answers to clients in an unbelievably quick turnaround time.

When did a colleague really impress you?

Honestly, I am amazed every single day to see the smallest and more impactful actions that colleagues do to make this space and our services impeccable to our clients. We are a happy-to-help and jump-into-anything kind of community: we all load the dishwasher, we all have done some weird hours/requests for clients, all have gone above and beyond in ways we might not have known we were capable of. Our company breathes this instinctual level of serving the client and greater community in a way that really makes you feel part of something so much larger than yourself.

How does working at CIC differ from other jobs you've had?

I feel empowered to try here in a way I have never have before - try a new role, try out a tough conversation, try to introduce new policy, try at whatever you think adds value here.

What's the most interesting conversation you've ever had with a CIC client?

Honestly, sitting down with a client who had a sick parent-in-law and discussing the humor and sadness associated with that process of watching someone lose key aspects of who they are.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

Janitor - when I was 13 years old.

What is your favorite hobby/what do you like to do in your free time?

Long runs around Boston.

Brianna Tobias - Events


Use three words to describe yourself.

Quick-thinking | Passionate | Big Thinker

What excites you most about CIC?

The day-to-day excitement! I get to work with new people and float between [multiple] buildings each day. The mobility provides an awesome campus-feel.

How does working at CIC differ from other jobs you've had?

My colleagues are all so creative and quick-thinking and that's true across sites. The space itself inspires and that energy transfers effortlessly into conversation. Also, regularly video chatting with colleagues around the world truly makes CIC a global network.

What is your favorite hobby/what do you like to do in your free time?

My favorite hobby is writing! I've been working on a series of anecdotes from my childhood for about two years now. It's funny and sad and enlightening and completely therapeutic!

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

For two summers in a row, I carried a life-size inflatable flamingo named Floyd Pink around my college campus. For an hour every Wednesday, I made and handed out snow cones and took pictures of summer residents with their treats alongside the 6ft flamingo in a t-shirt. Definitely the weirdest job I've ever had but I wouldn't be surprised if I spent a day doing something very similar here at CIC!

Tell us about a fulfilling or exciting special project that you worked on this year.

I've been working to onboard a local bartending startup as the premier alcohol-provider for our events. It's been great working locally and having the opportunity to build up both CIC Events and this fresh entrepreneurial venture. I'm diving head first into the insurance and liquor liability abyss but I have a great team helping to smooth out the ruffles and ready to answer any & all questions.

What's the most meaningful thing you've done to help a CIC client?

Events are truly a 24/7 gig so being on-call all hours of the day makes the event host's experience much smoother. Some things can be resolved over the phone but I recently had to switch out of my lazy Sunday pjs and throw on my facilities hat to help a host on-site. Even outside of your typical 9a-5p there are opportunities to connect and collaborate with creative and excited hosts.

Shellie Cohen - Community / Operations

Use three words to describe yourself.

Funny | Welcoming | Weird

What excites you most about CIC?

I love the people who work at CIC—everyone is so interesting and nice. Somehow we all still manage to get an incredible amount of work done, while having fun together.

What unique skills have you developed in your role at CIC?

I have gotten incredibly good at a lot of strange things while working here. I think I can build IKEA furniture faster than I've ever been able to in my whole life after this job. Also, I have never felt more comfortable drilling into a wide variety of materials, fitting couches and strangely shaped tables through doorways, pushing furniture dollies across streets, and talking on the phone with clients and delivery companies.

Can you tell us about your team and how you work together?

Every team I've been on has worked slightly differently together, but the basics are always the same. We operate on a system of trust, understanding, and willingness to help whenever possible. We respect each other, know that projects will be completed on time, and care about clients' happiness and well-being.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

I was a standardized patient at UNC hospitals while in college and was paid to be part of an exam for medical students. I still remember part of my spiel—I was Nicole Murray, a 20-something who was experiencing abdominal pain and didn't know that she was pregnant (which really tested my non-existent acting skills)!

What is your favorite hobby/what do you like to do in your free time?

I currently play ultimate frisbee on Boston's Semi-Professional Women's team in New England, Boston Brütesquad! In the past four years, Brüte are two time gold medalists and two time silver medalists at USA Ultimate Club Nationals. We also placed T-3rd in the World at the most recent World Club Ultimate Championships in July 2018. I personally have been playing ultimate for about 17 years now, with 7 of those being at the semi-professional level. In 2013, I earned a spot on the U24 USA National Team and took home a gold medal. I have competed at 3 different World Championships, and have travelled all over the US and the World to play. I also have coached Middle and High School ultimate in North Carolina (my home state) and college (MIT) up here in MA. I'm looking forward to more great experiences with my friends, teammates, and the other amazing people who chose to play this sport!

What's your favorite snack in the CIC kitchen and why?

I love the ice cream sandwiches—not the fancy chip-wich ones, but the ones that remind me of being at the pool as a child.

Laurel Williams - Community / Operations (Concierge)


Use three words to describe yourself.

Upbeat | Open minded | Compassionate

What excites you most about CIC?

Since I'm starting my CIC career at our new site [in Philadelphia], I'm excited to see our community grow and learn as much as I can from our incoming clients.

What unique skills have you developed in your role at CIC?

Handling guests for other organizations confidently, despite not knowing their staff intricately.

Can you tell us about your team and how you work together?

My team is always open to new ideas, change, and improving procedures. As we are laying the foundation for the growth of a new site, we're not afraid to take risks knowing much will change in the future.

Tell us about a fulfilling or exciting special project that you worked on this year.

Before our site was up and running, I helped to build up our local benefit offerings. It was an incredible way to get out into the neighborhood, spread the word about CIC, and network in person.

What's the most meaningful thing you've done to help a CIC client?

My colleague and I have been handwriting welcome notes and handing out succulents as welcoming gifts to our incoming clients. Since our space isn't fully inhabited, these small gestures seem to go a long way in helping to make them feel at home!

What is your favorite hobby/what do you like to do in your free time?

Long distance running! I love exploring new cities by foot, whether it's during travel or just expanding local routes.

How does working at CIC differ from other jobs you've had?

While I've always had customer service centric jobs, CIC is different as we are servicing long term clients that feel like family.

Sidi Gomes - Design

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How did you hear about/come to work for CIC?

I had a tech startup called ParallelCities back in 2011. I came to the Venture Café [in Cambridge] to do a demo of the prototype and really enjoyed what Venture Café was doing, so I started volunteering for the organization. Eventually, I met CIC's CEO, Tim Rowe, in a meeting we had with the other volunteers to brainstorm ideas for how to make the space better. Having done my architectural thesis work at Harvard on how to design spaces that help people interact, socialize and collaborate better, I had so much to share! A little while after that I got an email from [Tim] saying that he loved my ideas, and invited me for a breakfast meeting. He said that the goals of my thesis lined up perfectly with the goals of the CIC, so he invited me to join CIC, and design the upcoming Venture Cafe space and future CIC centers. The rest is history - I have been here ever since.

How did you go from joining as an operations manager to Principal Designer?

The main goal when I joined CIC was for me to start CIC's design department, since before I arrived the design of CIC spaces was done by outside architecture firms. To design better CIC spaces I had to understand how it worked from the inside. So, as I was designing my first CIC project - the first stand-alone Venture Cafe space, and the C3 space (the coworking offering at CIC [Cambridge]) - I also became C3's Curator, and grew the community to 4 times its original size (to over 400 people), and ran its operations. Once we finished the design and construction of the new C3 space and installed the community in its new home, I moved to Design exclusively.

What does your day-to-day look like?

Like many roles at CIC, there is no common "day" for me - I work in a variety of projects, all of them of different sizes, and at different stages of the design and construction process, so my days can be pretty hectic. I could start in the morning making concept sketches for a new CIC location; transition to a construction meeting about a project that is under construction; then move on to answering RFIs (Request for Information) from a contractor for another project that is being bid; then having a meeting about what components we should have in a project we are about to start designing; and finish up the day answering to the 1001 emails that have been piling up in the meanwhile.

How do you think design at CIC sets itself apart from other collaborative workspaces?

My expertise and research on social space design brings a different dimension to the design of our spaces, which goes beyond the surface level "interior design" some of the other workspaces can excel at. We have also learned greatly from having been designing and operating our spaces for nearly two decades. There is a lot that goes into the design of our spaces that might go by unnoticed.

What's your favorite food?

"Catxupa guisado ku longuisa i ovo streladu" - a traditional Cabo Verdean dish made of corn, beans, meats, veggies, and different types of sausages - YUM!

Jamie Hovis - Events


As a part of CIC Events, what do you do? What does your workday look like?

As a CIC Events staffer, my typical day starts mid-afternoon. Unlike the rest of my teammates, I'm part-time and work past the end of the business day until 7:30 pm most days. This flexible schedule is great for me since it allows me to work at my writing and my other gig as the editor of a local literary magazine. Most of my days include setting up our event spaces, which means arranging the furniture to suit the event host's needs, testing AV equipment, and giving folks quick impromptu lessons on how our spaces work. The rest of my time is spent providing advice on our spaces to prospective hosts, managing the Events team's online presence and promoting our events, and working on various projects to improve our spaces and streamline our team's workflow. If I'm staffing an evening event, I'm often the last CIC staff member to leave at night, so I've enjoyed getting to know our clients who like to work in the wee hours, developing a hyena-like bond over scavenging through leftover event catering.

What kind of technical challenges do you and your team face?

The biggest technical challenges that the Events team typically faces usually result from last-minute changes to the programming, spaces, or schedules of events. Because the process of planning an event at CIC can be quite different from the normal routine of our clients, and because assembly laws, liquor licenses and certificates of insurance all limit the flexibility of our space, there is a lot to think about. The coordinators on our team are constantly working to make sure that every piece is in place. Since I'm a staffer, I benefit directly from my team's hard work in advance of events. However, unforeseen problems can always arise. If there's been a miscommunication we don't find out about until event day, my biggest challenge is finding a solution to in the moment problems to keep our hosts and clients happy and safe.

Dominika Duda Kirakowska - Community / Operations (Concierge)


Tell us about yourself in one sentence.

I'm hyperactive social monster with zest for life and I truly have no limits when it comes to things that I might find interesting.

Tell us about a fulfilling or exciting special project that you worked on this year.

In Rotterdam we created a sustainability team where staff with "green hearts" find challenges and try to troubleshoot operational problems with eco-friendly solutions in mind. I'm happy to be part of that team, and even though it's a struggle to combine it with daily operations, it is very fulfilling.

How does working at CIC differ from other jobs you've had?

First of all, every person among CIC is a unique champ. Second, I've never worked at such a well organized company that dealt with so many operations. Third, what a fun place to work at! The amount of jokes, bursts of laughter and casual silliness is enormous, I love it.

What unique skills have you developed in your role at CIC?

I believe that I've mastered the mythical skills of multitasking, patience, and prioritizing. When a lot happens you need to work your way through, have an honest smile, and be able to lean on people that you work with.

What's the most interesting conversation you've ever had with a CIC client?

The most inspiring conversation was with a client that had similar experience as I did in finding a workplace that would empower him to change the world. He wanted to be an inspiring teacher, yet the reality and school setting didn't allow him to pursue his passion, and he has become an entrepreneur teaching kids robotics.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

A weird example is translating offshore safety courses where we would simulate evacuation from a drowning helicopter in gigantic pool or climbing down a platform. So much fun!

What is your favorite hobby/what do you like to do in your free time?

I love to invite people to my place and cook for them. Additionally, I'm an amateur singer, and there is nothing more fun than to jam with my friends and create some ridiculous lyrics. When I'm not in a social mood I'd get a good book or find an interesting documentary and just hang out under a blanket.

What's your favorite snack in the CIC kitchen and why?

I'm a great fan of Haribo Apple Rings. They remind me of my childhood, when we could only eat those when my folks received a package from family in Germany. However, dried mango slices and coconut cubes are not far behind—so much flavor and so healthy!

Jemar Souza - Community / Operations


What excites you most about CIC?

There's something special and incredibly inspiring about being surrounded by creative, entrepreneurial energy each day. In the communities that CIC builds it's easy for everyone to make genuine connections, whether they’re hoping to collaborate with someone now, in the future, or maybe never. People here are always one conversation away from a new business partner, idea, or friend. I love it!

How does working at CIC differ from other jobs you've had?

My background was mostly in social media marketing before working for CIC. It was great to start and excel in a job that allowed me to not just use my creative mind, but my hands, legs, and muscles too!

What unique skills have you developed in your role at CIC?

Spreadsheets. I'm starting to become a master of spreadsheets. And I'm also developing my design thinking abilities, focusing on user experience in physical spaces.

What is a challenge you've had thus far in your job?

Figuring out how much extra furniture to order and where to make space for it!

What is your favorite hobby/what do you like to do in your free time?

I'm an all-around geek into anime, cartoons, video games, and other sci-fi/fantasy stuff. Right now, I'm pretty much obsessed with Pokémon Go and always looking for cool people to play with. I also work with my girlfriend, Jamila Rowser, on a project called Straight Outta Gotham, which produces and showcases connections between geek and Hip-Hop culture. Creative writing used to be my primary passion but over the last 7 or so years, I started focusing on "work" and "business,” instead of feeding my creative spirit. This year, however, I was fortunate enough to collaborate with Jamila and a super talented comic book artist on a short story which will be published in an anthology soon. I've always wanted to write my own comic, so it was super cool to finally check that off my bucket list.

Lindsay Clark - Expansion

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What is your professional background?

Before CIC, I worked on an Economic Development Team for a local government in the UK. The council had received a small grant which was earmarked for town center regeneration. They utilized the funds to open a council-managed pop-up shop (among other projects) because they felt that it was important for businesses in the community to have a flexible option to trial business ideas.

While part of the team, I helped to lay the groundwork for the pop-up shop and other projects, performed public outreach to attract local businesses and get people excited about the shop, and gained an understanding of how the council planned to appropriate funds to maximize impact. In the time since I left, the town’s vacancy rate is down, footfall is up, new businesses have spun out of the pop-up shop to take brick and mortar locations, and existing businesses that had considered leaving the town center have renewed their leases. I got to see firsthand how a targeted shared space program can reinvigorate and improve a town.

What are you most passionate about in relation to your work?

I’m passionate about my work at CIC because I think what we do is similarly impactful—albeit at a much larger scale. I strongly believe that shared facilities (office, wet lab, maker-space, event space, etc.) promote innovation and are good for entrepreneurs, cities, and the broader economy. I love that as we go into new cities, we are working to create innovation districts and campuses rather than just opening flexible office space. I feel like we are in the vanguard of leaders in this sector and am excited to see how we impact new communities as we expand.

Aidan Kostenko - Community / Operations


What is your professional background and how did you end up in your current role?

I managed the computer labs and student lab attendant staff at my university right out of college, then went on to the US Peace Corps. After two years of building rural computer labs and facilitating adult literacy groups, I went on for a Masters in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management. I wrapped up my degree with another year of national service as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a youth-outreach nonprofit, then got hired on at the same organization as a Field Support and Training Manager. I've always valued service and outreach and was drawn to CIC for its strong mission and vision.

What skills or characteristics do you possess that most contribute to your success in this role?

Patience. Even keel. Affinity for assembling IKEA furniture. Being open to trying out new things, talking about process, and defining underlying issues.

Can you tell us about your team and how you work together?

My operations team includes six people with diverse work experience, and each brings a mind-boggling amount of skills and expertise to the table. Decisions are largely democratic, with the team coming together to work through tough problems. This is definitely an environment for collaboration!

What excites you most about CIC?

At the end of each day, my team's check-ins are a torrent of ideas, conversations, and completed tasks. I'm happy to be a part of an organization so full of creativity, excitement, and talent.

Jen Jekel-Farrell - Community / Operations


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I currently live in St. Louis in a self-rehabbed brick bungalow with my family, and I spend my time rediscovering the world with my kiddo, reading, cooking, gardening, and listening to music/making up my own interpretive dances in my living room that my cat critiques (his reviews are devastating).

Can you tell us about your team and how you work together?

I recently made the move from a Senior Relationship Manager with the Sales Team to the Community Lead at our 4240 location, and I'm really enjoying learning so much from the 4240 team! They have amazing camaraderie with each other, and balancing flipping offices with in-depth discussions about early 00's pop stars has been a ton of fun. Keeping this place running is hard work but my team makes it look like a breeze.

What's something about you that may surprise people?

My first job was at age 12, as an Arrow Technician and Vending Machine Restocker in my family’s archery range. I made $2.50 an hour plus snacks.

What's your favorite snack in the CIC kitchen?

Bridge mix. It’s a one-sided love/hate relationship.

Solomon Flax - Events


What drew you to your current role?

Working with motivated people who put the clients first and, in the context of events, want to make each event the smoothest and most pleasant experience for hosts. The more complicated and detailed, the better. There's honestly a rush when I feel I've successfully pulled off a multi-day event with furniture deliveries, crazy setups, multiple rooms, trash pickups, you name it. I think of events like a puzzle, and when all the pieces fit together I know it'll come out beautifully.

What are you most passionate about in relation to your work?

My passion is creating memorable experiences for people. The idea of curating fun and watching people enjoy themselves brings me incredible joy and satisfaction. I've created programming for kids as a summer camp counselor, planned a detailed (but fun!) itinerary for friends visiting me in Boston, coordinated logistics for a 100-person conference at my previous job, and planned my best friend's bachelor weekend which involved his favorite childhood video games and a hot sauce challenge (update: we're still friends).

Richard Morrison - Community / Operations

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Tell us about yourself in one sentence.

I'm definitely a grandpa trapped in a 30 somethings body; enjoy time with my greyhound and in the kitchen.

How does working at CIC differ from other jobs you've had?

CIC encourages us to try new things! If you have a crazy idea and want to enact it, CIC says, "sure, go ahead." I love that we aren't afraid of new ventures.

Can you tell us about your team and how you work together?

As our team continues to grow more comfortable with each other, we chat more and more. This leads to new ideas and ways to accomplish things in a relaxed setting.

Tell us about a fulfilling or exciting special project that you worked on this year.

I got to help set up the new Philadelphia location. It was amazing to see a barely completed construction site turn into CIC. Everyone working together make large charges in a just two weeks.

What is your favorite hobby/what do you like to do in your free time?

I love baking new desserts and knitting while binge watching Netflix.

What's your favorite snack in the CIC kitchen and why?

Smoothie Station! You can make these healthy or a gluttonous treat - what's better?

Sarah Ivey - Expansion


Where are you from and where have you lived?

I was fortunate enough to grow up on the North Shore (NOT the Noath Shoah), in Beverly, MA. I’ve lived in 6 (!) Boston area neighborhoods (Allston, Brighton, JP, Somerville, Charlestown, and currently Cambridgeport) and loved and hated them all in turn. I also spent one summer in Philly way back when.

What do you do when you’re not at CIC?

During the non-frozen months of the year I can usually be found somewhere on the Charles river yelling at groups of men twice the size of me (also known as coxing for Riverside Boat Club), and during the winter I’m an avid skier and spend most weekends driving to and from mountains all over New England/the rest of this grand continent.

What's your favorite snack in the CIC kitchen and why?

Tea! English breakfast for caffeine, but we stock such a great variety, and I'm an herbal aficionado personally. (Much love to the 18th Floor Tea wall @50 Milk). Besides it being a comfort go-to, making a cup of tea provides you with just the right amount of time to linger in the kitchen and chat; make a new friend, catch up on the weekend with a colleague, or learn about the hot new cafe in Kendall no one told you about until now.... Kudos to our clients for always being a delight to converse with!

Shannon Chaulet - Construction

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Tell us about yourself in one sentence.

I help clients build their dream offices.

What excites you most about CIC?

The purpose. When I hear a success story of one of our clients, it reminds me of every interaction I've had with them. The same people we share coffee and oatmeal with every morning are the ones breaking ground in their respective fields. We host companies working on anything from life-changing therapies and cutting-edge robots to video games! To play a role in their advancement is something that excites me every day.

What's the most interesting conversation you've ever had with a CIC client?

One of our clients is a refugee from Somalia who fled to the United States to become a writer. When I shared stories of my travels throughout South America and Eastern Asia with him he opened up to me about his experiences as a kid in Africa. I often think back on what he told me that day. Hearing someone who went through so much, tell you about their plans to go back and help is really an inspiring thing.

How does working at CIC differ from other jobs you've had?

The ambiance is unlike anywhere else. At CIC, you're working in offices that are designed to give you the freedom and flexibility to change your environment based on what you need. There are co-working desks where you can always find a seat, conference rooms you can reserve for meetings, phone booths for long calls and common spaces to relax in. Though my desk is at our Boston office, you can usually find me floating around in one of our Cambridge buildings.

What is your favorite hobby/what do you like to do in your free time?

Guitar! I'm currently rocking a Gretsch Electromatic g5120 and I play it every single day. My favorite guitarists are Tom Morello, John Frusciante and Stevie Ray Vaughan. My favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Tell us about a fulfilling or exciting special project that you worked on this year.

This year I helped organize a 12-hour gaming marathon that raised over $4,000 in donations to Boston Children's Hospital! We opened the doors to Venture Cafe and our coworking space to the public for a great cause and it was a huge success.

What's your favorite snack in the CIC kitchen and why?

The coffee! We have cafe-style espresso machines, pour-over stations, cold-brew on tap, Nespresso pods and even some specialty options. I never would have imagined myself a coffee connoisseur until I was surrounded by so many great options.

Claire Keatley - Community / Operations


Where are you from and where have you lived?

I was born in South Korea, lived in Florida and spent my formative years throughout North Carolina. I suppose that makes me a Southerner all around!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love all things metals and working with my hands. Metalsmithing has made me a bit of a tool hoarder and my workspace a mad scientist test-kitchen. I work mainly in nonferrous metals and small-scale tool making with steel. My other passion is pool - the billiards variety. I enjoy shooting competitively and on teams.

What’s one item on your bucket list?

Learn to speak Korean and visit South Korea.