We had our annual general meeting a few weeks ago and elected a new board:
- Darcy Casselman (president) (that’s me)
- Rob Adlers (secretary)
- Ben Brown (treasurer)
- Karl Williams
- Mark Pitcher
- Doug Moens
- James Bastow
As is tradition, I gave an address to the membership at the AGM about where we are and where we’re headed, which you can read after the jump.
Thank you, everyone, for another awesome year of Kwartzlab.
I’m excited about where we are today. This wasn’t the easiest year for us, but we made it through with style, racking up some impressive accomplishments along the way. And now I think we’re stronger than ever.
Shortly after the last AGM, we lost about a fifth of our membership–about 7 people–over a span of about two months. That was a bummer.
It coloured everything we’ve done as a board over the last year.
As a board, we want to be in a position where our regular monthly expenses–rent, insurance and a few other miscellaneous fees–are covered by membership dues. The magic number of members we need for that is 30.
We spent most of the last year at about 25-27 members. Even though we have a robust emergency fund and generous grands from RIM through their Proud2Be program, we were very reluctant to spend the money while we were below what we consider to be break even.
It gives me no small amount of pleasure to announce that with the approval of Sean’s membership this week, we are once again back at that magic break even membership level.
Despite the worries about money, it can’t be understated how much we were able to accomplish over the last year.
Tuesday Open Nights are now busier than ever. Our Artist in Residence program is bringing in awesome people doing awesome work. We got to show off 3D printing to kids for National Engineering Month, make games for Ludum Dare, host workshops and NaNo and Headshots from the Heart. Our tool room is a functioning work space now. And we pulled off Hacky Freaking Halloween.
I’ve been impressed by how we’ve been able to sieze on opportunities. Hacky Halloween happened because we jumped on an opportunity presented by the KW Awesome Foundation. We now have a laser cutter because a member pointed out that a new organization called the CEEO was offering grants to creative non-profits to help them grow. We put in the work and we got the grant and now many of you are making amazing things with a fanstatic tool.
We’re getting better at reaching out to other groups and orgs that might help us. This will ensure we can build our capabilities and help us grow. And it will be crucial if we need to one day leave Boehmer.
Given that they will be starting off from a much stronger position, I hope the next board is able to be a little bolder so we can more quickly realize the fantastic potential of this amazing place. We do a lot of great things and I believe we’re capable of doing so much more. Even if we do lose a few people, as we seem to do every summer, I don’t think the next board should feel as constrained. I think we have to keep making Kwartzlab the sort of place where hackers, artists, tinkerers and makers feel welcome and able to make all the crazy crap they’d never be able to make if we weren’t here. It’s what we’re here for, and I think we’re doing a fantastic job.
Kwartzlab, you are awesome. And I can’t wait to see what awesome things are still to come.
Party on, dudes.