Pete Prodoehl

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Maker Faire Milwaukee

What does it mean to be a maker?

Being a maker means continually trying new things and learning new things. It means never being satisfied with what exists and always looking to create something new, or improve something that already exists. People who have a thirst for knowledge and love to learn new skills make the best makers, because they continually grow as a person, and in the process tend to inspire others to grow and learn as well.

What are you doing in the Maker community?

Besides sharing my projects and explorations online for many years, I’m a member (and previous Board Member) of Milwaukee Makerspace and helped it grow into a 16,000 square foot facility with 230 members who share their skills and their tools to do amazing things.

I’m also a producer of Maker Faire Milwaukee (the largest free Maker Faire in the United States) through my employment at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum where I build museum exhibits. I also help organize maker events for adults that take place at the museum, because we can’t let kids have all the fun!

I’ve also recently started teaching Physical Computing at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, where I help artists and students learn all about using Arduino microcontrollers to activate their ideas.

Who are some other Makers you admire and why?

Frankie Flood, a good friend and amazing instructor is someone I admire because he’s always willing to share what he knows, and take the time to teach you something new. Tom Gralewicz from Milwaukee Makerspace is another maker I look up to, because he’s alway able to provide a solution to whatever problem I currently have. He also seems to always “know a guy” who can get the thing you need for a project.

Besides the people I interact with on a daily basis, I have a great admiration for my father, and my grandfather. They aren’t around anymore, but when I was young they were both what we would consider “makers” and were skilled in wood working, building, and repairing things, which inspired me more that I realized in my youth, but definitely appreciate as an adult.