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History of Milwaukee Makerspace


  • Royce Pipkins and Tom Gralewicz started forming the Milwaukee Makerspace in August of 2009.
  • Royce's first tweet about forming a hackerspace in Milwaukee.
  • The first meeting was held at Tom Gralewicz's house in August 2009. The initial group of people interested in starting a hacker/maker space in Milwaukee started meeting at the Culver's in West Allis shortly after the first meeting at Tom's house. The space started working in Tom's garage before we had an actual space. We built 4 power wheels cars for the first public race at Detroit.
  • Before we rented a building, we built some drivable Pots O Gold and entered in the St. Patricks Day parade. The Pots were built at Tom's warehouse in Oak Creek. We had 3 drivable pots and a number of people walking carrying a Makerspace banner.
  • Here are some pictures of the partly completed cars in front of Tom's garage.
  • The initial officers were Royce Pipkins (President), Tom Gralewicz (VP/Treasurer), and Sean Malloy (Secretary).
  • They created bylaws, a member agreement, a member release form, a guest release form, etc.


November 2010

December 2010

  • The makerspace started accepting members in December 2010.
  • Tom Gondek (member 14) and Adam Cohen (member 15) were the first two members to join after the rental space was opened.
  • Moving electronic components and Wright-Line cabinets out of Tom's house, December 4, 2010. Pictured: Sean Malloy, Tom Gralewicz, Ron Bean.


January 2nd, 2011

  • The soft opening party was held for members, their friends and family.

April 9th, 2011

  • Our Official Public Grand opening
  • See photos here

July 2011

  • The group creates two new membership levels to promote growth:
    • Part-Time Membership for $40/mo. with Mon-Thur or Fri-Sun access
    • Student Membership for $40/mo. with 24/7 access
    • Milwaukee Makerspace took part in the South Shore Frolics Parade with a giant beer can and a giant Arduino, both motorized, with drivers.

Fall 2011

  • For various reasons, including a growing membership and the need for more space, the group had begun considering other rental properties in the Fall of 2011.

October 2011

  • Officer Election Results:
    • President: Royce Pipkins
    • VP/Treasurer: Jason Gessner
    • Secretary: Brant Holeman

October 29, 2011

  • Brant makes the first ever member photo wall, a total of 31 members

December 2011

  • Jason G. reports on our growth and finances over the past year.
  • The addition of part-time and student membership levels stimulated growth more than anticipated and the group ends the year at 38 makers.


January 17, 2012

  • The membership votes on whether or not to explore moving to a new building near the Milwaukee Airport.
  • The “Mallory Vote” won with 13 yes, 11 no, and 4 abstaining, but due to the divisions the vote created between members, the prospect is dropped and the location was not pursued.

April 29, 2012

  • Brant updates the member photo wall for a total of 58 members

May 2012

  • The idea of a Makership is proposed, approved, and the group soon begins accepting applications.

May 29, 2012

  • Brant updates the member photo wall for a total of 63 members

June 5, 2012

  • Frank Bolles is selected as the first recipient of the Makership program and immediately gets to work casting tons of awesome rings, medals, and jewelry.

July 17, 2012

  • Pete P. creates a program to report the number of members MMS has at any instant.
  • The hmmdmmh goes live and its first report shows 68 members.

Fall 2012

  • After exploring three to four dozen real estate leads over 18 months, three locations were deemed potential candidates:
    • Hamilton (18,400 sq.ft. brick and concrete building located near Brady St., formerly home to some large printing presses)
    • Oak Creek (15,000 sq.ft. warehouse, lots of parking, current home to Miller Computer Recycling and owned by Tom G.)
    • Lenox (16,000 sq.ft. former-grocery-store-turned-off-site-backup-and-data-center in Bay View)

August 23, 2012

  • Royce conducted an informal survey to poll the membership and determine which options are the most appealing.

August 25, 2012

  • Pete, Tom, Brant, Matt, Brent, and other members visit and tour the Lenox building.

September 11, 2012

  • The membership voted and agreed to move to the building located at 2555 South Lenox Street.
  • By the summer of 2012 membership had grown to 60+ people, and it was decided that a Board of Directors would be put in place to run the group. The board is responsible for conducting day-to-day organization business and making decisions on policies, events, and other topics, while also taking into account the thoughts of the members.

October 2, 2012

  • A Board of Directors was voted upon, approved, and officially added to our By-Laws.

October 9, 2012

  • The first four Board Members were elected:
    • President: Rich Neubauer
    • Treasurer: Jason Gessner
    • Operations Director: Brant Holeman
    • Communications Director: Pete Prodoehl

October 16, 2012

  • The three “at large” Board Members were elected:
  • Director at Large: Kevin Bastyr
  • Director at Large: Adam Cohen
  • Director at Large: Jason Hilleshiem

October 23, 2012

  • Milwaukee Makerspace, LLC officially closes on the Lenox Building.
  • The Milwaukee Makerspace Investor's Group is formed to manage the property.

November 2012

  • Shortly after Thanksgiving, Rich Neubauer stepped down as President. A meeting was held to discuss a succession plan and Brant Holeman was voted the Acting President until the membership could meet and vote on the position. After two special elections, the following Board Members assumed these titles:
    • President: Brant Holeman
    • Operations Director: Brent Bublitz

December 21, 2012

  • Makerspace of Milwaukee, Inc. is officially recognized as a non-stock corporation in the State of Wisconsin.

December 29, 2012

  • Makerspace moves 99% of its stuff from Chase to Lenox.



  • Milwaukee Makerspace completes its move into the Lenox Building.
  • Major renovations continue for four more weeks.
  • Milwaukee Makerspace is granted an occupancy permit on January 25th and meetings resume.


  • The Board creates a new membership option, allowing a spouse/family member in the same household to join as a “secondary member” for just $10 per month.


  • Milwaukee Makerspace hosts the first large event at Lenox, Art Milwaukee's “Art Jamboree” and hundreds of people come through the space to check out local artists and the new space.


  • Milwaukee Makerspace hosts the Bay View Gallery at Lenox and hosts the Bay View Arts Guild, showing off their work, as well as the work of members, and the space.


  • The group achieves 100 members.
  • Milwaukee Makerspace took part in the South Shore Frolics Parade and showed Bay View our modified Power Wheels Cars.
  • For the first time since its creation, the Board of Directors recommends that a membership be terminated. A hearing is held on Tuesday, July 30th to address the group. The resolution receives 37 votes to terminate and 15 to remain a member; just below the 75% majority required. The individual remains a member.


  • The first ever “Milwaukee MakerFest” was held at Milwaukee Makerspace and drew 700+ visitors in
  • A new Board of Directors was elected


  • Reached 1337 likes on Facebook.


January 21, 2014

  • Joe R. elected Treasurer, replacing Tony W. who stepped down in November 2013

February 20, 2014

  • After months of discussion and projections, one of the group's long term goals is finally deemed viable. The Board of Directors unanimously votes to reduce dues and give all members 24/7 access for $40 a month.

May 2014

  • Tiffany M. elected Facilities Director, replacing Matt W. who stepped down shortly before. Title of Facilities Director changed to Operations Director.

September 9, 2014

  • The membership votes to approve By-Laws Revisions proposed by the Board
  • 43 votes to approve, 0 no votes, and 3 abstained out of 178 members

September 27-28, 2014

  • The first ever Maker Faire Milwaukee draws 26,000+ people to the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds over two days.

September 30, 2014


January 11, 2015

  • Six Board Members present the Operations Director with a signed letter asking she resign. The President cites months of arguments and conflict rendering the Board inefficient.

January 12, 2015

  • Six Board Members request a Vote of No Confidence for the Operations Director. It is the first time a Vote of No Confidence has ever been pursued.

January 14, 2015

  • 10% of the membership agrees to pursue a Vote of No Confidence; 21 of the then current 196 members.

January 18, 2015

  • Brant updates the member photo wall on the letter board outside the Laser Lab with 93 members

February 3, 2015

February 13, 2015

  • The membership votes to amend the By-Laws so that Annual Board Elections take place in March rather than October. The change allows the Vote of No Confidence to be nullified if a new Operations Director is elected. The vote is 72 for, 5 against, and 5 abstain out of 207 members for a 39% turnout.

March 17, 2015

  • A new Board of Directors is elected at the Annual Meeting.
  • 81 of 200 members participate; a 40.5% turnout.

September 26, 2015

  • Milwaukee Makerspace co-hosted Maker Faire Milwaukee, which saw attendance of 54,000 people over the course of the event.

November 18, 2015

  • Carl Stevens elected Communications Director, replacing Felisha Wild who stepped down.

December 30, 2015

  • The Board of Directors signed the paperwork to purchase the building from the Makerspace Investment group


January 1st, 2016

  • The Makerspace building is now owned by the membership. A party occurs. 6' fireballs (outside the building) occur.

May 14th, 2016

  • Milwaukee Makerspace ran a Nerdy Derby exhibit at Madison Mini Maker Faire where we helped kids build over 500 cars.

June 25th-26th, 2016

  • Milwaukee Makerspace once again competed in the Power Racing Series at Maker Faire Kansas City.

July 30th-31st, 2016

  • Milwaukee Makerspace once again competed in the Power Racing Series at Maker Faire Detroit.

September 24th-25th, 2016

  • Milwaukee Makerspace co-hosts Maker Faire Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Expo Center at State Fair Park.


April 11, 2017

  • New Board of Directors members are elected at the Annual Meeting.
    • Treasurer: Adrian Volden
    • Communications: Pete Prodoehl
    • Operations: Kathryn Hughett
    • At-Large: Mat M.

June, 2017

  • Milwaukee Makerspace once again competed in the Power Racing Series at Maker Faire Kansas City.

July, 2017

  • Milwaukee Makerspace once again competed in the Power Racing Series at Maker Faire Detroit, and visited OmniCorpDetroit and i3Detroit.


April, 2018

  • New Board of Directors members are elected at the Annual Meeting.
    • President: Tim Campbell
    • Treasurer: Dan Jonke
    • Communications: Pete Prodoehl
    • At-Large: Markus S.
    • At-Large: Colleen L.


January, 2019

  • Brant updates the letter board outside the Laser Lab

April, 2019

  • New Board of Directors members are elected at the Annual Meeting.
    • President: Markus Schneider
    • Treasurer: Billy King-Dee
    • Secretary: Faith Finfrock
    • Communications: Pete Prodoehl
    • At-Large: Steffanie Maher
    • At-Large: Carl Stevens

June 2019

  • Members Markus S., Kathy C., and Carl S. attended NOMCON (The Nation of Makers Conference.)


March 16, 2020

  • Makerspace closes to comply with state and local stay-at-Home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 2020

  • A group of members form the MMSPPE team to produce face shields for local medical workers. An all volunteer effort raised over $22,000 in funding to produce an injection mold and partner with local and Wisconsin-based companies to produce PPE items.

May 26, 2020

  • Makerspace begins the re-opening process under “Phase One” plan.

December 9, 2020

  • Maker's Village (2517 E Norwich Ave. St. Francis, WI) receives a Certificate of Occupancy.


January 2021

  • Maker's Village opens

November 2021

  • First ever “Zelda Day.” Many old/ugly pots made at the space were smashed and turned into mosaics.
  • First “Open Forge Friday” night. Dan Jonke hosts a training for members to learn how to use the forge and make their first project.


July 16, 2022

  • MMS participates in the Redbull Flugtag. Faith Flintock piloted the aircraft, named “Leap of Faith.” Does not place, but everybody had a blast making together and watching Faith fly. None of the crew jumped off the pier.

August 9, 2022

  • MMS has its first Lampworking event, leading to a permanent area.

August 13, 2022

  • MMS Member Steve B. makes surgical masks to support efforts in Ukraine

November 22, 2022

  • Steel Tigerlillies Women's lead sculpture and metalworking group is debuted by Sarah Davitt.

December 3, 2022

  • Long Arm Quilting Machine purchased by membership for Craft Lab.


April 2023

  • Bicycle Repair area established. Stefan Bacon is first Champion.

September 2nd and 3rd, 2023

  • MMS hosts first ever Rummage Sale in Norwich upper lot. Raked in over $1200 to benefit space areas.

September 9, 2023

  • MMS hosts first ever iron pour in the casting area.

October 28 2023

  • MMS members knock down wall at Lenox to make path from West Room to Paint Booth more efficient and revitalize the vault hallway.

November 4-5, 2023

  • MMS participates in Maker Faire Milwaukee. Stained glass, forge, and daleks had their own booths, making a huge showing.

Nov 22, 2023

  • MMS hosts our annual Makesgiving event for families to make their own holiday gifts.

Dec 2, 2023

  • The board votes to remove of what remains of the Lenox forge and move the equipment to Norwich.
  • The board votes to reduce the amount of public meetings to twice per month, add a mini-SID to the second Tuesday of the month, and move the monthly BOD meeting to the end of the month.

Dec 18, 2023

  • The MMS hosts a non-denominational tree decorating event. Members made weird and wonderful ornaments and hung them on a tree in the Norwich meeting room.
historyofmms.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/08 22:38 by wildapricot-gondek_traci