Columbia County Maker Space

UASTrakker, LLC
240 NE Laguna Drive,
Lake City Fl. 32055
Tel: 386-965-4201

Click here for the latest Powerpoint presentation for the Columbia County Makerspace

A proposal to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Training to Lake City & Columbia County through a Public Private Partnership

Columbia County Maker Space

Creating a Public Resource Center Focused on Electronics

Sponsored & Proposed By:
UASTrakker &
H. Shawn Holmgren

Lake City & Columbia County need to Invest in Computer Sciences and S.T.E.M. Education.

Doing so will promote a healthy workforce...

Staff time and educational materials can be donated, granted, partly paid by the City & County, as well as fund raised for by volunteers.

Teaching young people to Code, and build drones or robotic projects would train them for careers and hobbies that will last a lifetime. 

By engaging youth at an early age with S.T.E.M. curriculum, we may be able to encourage them to develop lasting career skills and healthy hobbies.

Let us aspire to challenge our youth to learn and engage the digital world we all live in now with great enthusiasm.   One day they will lead and teach others, so let us be vigilant in giving them the best training, tools and resources they need to develop into great future leaders, and business people.

Start by Creating a Maker-Space

What is a Maker Space?

•A “Maker Space” provides the educational environment, shop tools and resources typically needed for teens and young adults to explore potential S.T.E.M. career oriented skills, and to build prototypes of ideas that young inventors may come up with, at an affordably priced membership fee. 

•A place where Mentors can teach young inventors and programmers how to market, research patents, prototype, and manufacture a completed product, APP, game or invention.

• Computers, CNC Lathes, 3D Printers, Wood-Working Shop, Radio & Electronics tools and Robotic stations all under one roof, often with guided lessons and instruction from local industry professionals and educators.

•A Maker Space is a “public electronics lab and learning center” that allows local businesses and big Corporations alike to partner with the community, to teach not only the valuable and employable technology skills needed for a job today, but also to foster a hobby that may provide a lifetime of enjoyment . Click here to check out the facilities layout at the Tampa Hackerspace; to see what the layout of their center is like and, what options are offered there.

•Here’s what Wikipedia states about a Hackerspace/ Maker Space or Library makerspace.

“A hackerspace (also referred to as a hacklab, hackspace, or makerspace) is a community-operated, often “not for profit” (501(c)(3) in the United States), workspace where people with common interests, such as computersmachiningtechnologysciencedigital art, or electronic art, can meetsocialize, and collaborate.[1] Hackerspaces are comparable to other community-operated spaces with similar aims and mechanisms such as Fab Labmen’s sheds, and commercial “for-profit” companies.”

• A library makerspace like the one in Jacksonville, as well as early learning centers & robotics clubs in primary schools can really accelerate interest in STEM programming, but often staffing and resources are an issue. A Maker-Space produced through a public-private partnership often leads to better community results, as it is available to nearly everyone, whether they are in school or not, and most importantly; it is FUNDED.

Utah has a great model of sustainability with government funding, a Foundation, and corporate sponsors all contributing to this collaboration. Visit and be sure to check out the Foundation Tab to see how many corporate Sponsors climbed onboard.   – This is the closest maker space to Lake City. is also a great example of a community based Maker-Space. Has bylaws, rules, etc that are pretty well founded.

What Is Needed to organize a Maker-Space?

• A minimum of 500-2500 sf of dedicated secure office space with phone and internet, most Makerspaces grow into 10,000 – 20,000 s.f campuses, often with more than one location.

•50 or more amps of electric capacity, ventilation and fire safety equipment

•Tables, chairs, work benches and A/V supplies

•Seek private sponsors & partnerships to provide legal, accounting and funds for Electronic supplies, laptops, and educational materials to get started.

•Create administrative Board of Directors, establish fees, develop a charter, 501(c)(3) and rules

•Engage municipal resources and grants to fund S.T.E.M. supplies, costs.

•Secure laptops, 3D Printers, Ham Radios, electronic kits, Bench Power tools and woodworking shop equipment from donors and/or grants.

•Enlist the volunteer services of STEM teachers, tutors, peers & coaches

•Schedule drone, robotic, rocketry, programming and amateur radio club meets

•Engage Amateur Radio (HAM) operators to learn; radios, repeaters, FCC licensing

•Code Camps, Drone & RC Car races, Robotics competitions, radio meets.

•Invite/sponsor guest speakers from tech industry and tech education partners like Microsoft, Embry-Riddle University, FGC, UF…

•Foster the creative minds in our City by providing a free resource center to learn about radios, electronics, computers, coding, robotics & aerospace.

Maker Space Resources Online Offers a lot of resources and guides to help establish a productive Maker-Space environment. This is a must read for someone new! Maker Space Ideas Set up an event

Video about a Maker- Faire

Software?  Hardware?  Tinkering?

•Different people have different strengths.  While one person may like to construct things out of batteries, tubes, motors and brackets, someone else may prefer to keep their hands clean and work solely in a computer programming environment. 

•Robotics involves a combination of devices like sensors, motors and electrical switches that are controlled by a Computer with electronic programming written to perform a specific task.  (e.g. a Robotic Arm can be programmed to assemble parts on an assembly line or perform micro-surgery, depending on what tool it is holding and how it is programmed to operate.)

•One of the first decisions a person will make is whether they like to tinker with the hardware devices, or write the code and do the software programming required for projects.   Either way, many pioneers have come before you and each path is now easier to navigate than ever before because of Open Source Projects.

•Open Source is a term used to describe free Community Forums, Free Examples, Free Code and Free software examples that are free to copy, duplicate, modify and reverse engineer to help you succeed inventing or creating your idea.

The Columbia County / Lake City Maker-Space will empower children and young adults to begin learning about computer programming, prototyping, radio electronics, robotics and aerospace right here at home, at an early age, often using free online resources, open source tutorials and low cost electronics.

Internet of Things (IoT)

•Websites, Apps and Cloud Services designed to collect and analyze data from connected devices.  (e.g. Ring Doorbell Camera, a WiFi enabled weather station or an internet connected alarm system)

•The main providers of Cloud Services are Amazon-AWS, Apple, IBM, Microsoft-Azure and Google. Amazon and Microsoft dominate the IoT Cloud space.

•IoT Allows developers to track data that is generated by anything; like your refrigerator, your car, a weather station and your DJI drone to name a few. 

•Delivering the data from a device to the cloud requires programming and PLC’s to gather and send the data over the internet using IP protocols, Internet Mail and other web services.

•Websites and Apps are used to display up to date information, such as the current temperature in your fridge, or how many attendees have entered an event arena, as examples.

•Learning to Code and automate tasks on an Arduino board or Raspberri Pi will prepare people for a promising IoT career or hobby

•IoT is developing quickly to support Drones and autonomous vehicles.  These machines are at the cutting edge of Artificial Intelligence data collection and use, so it makes sense that the aerospace and robotic industries are using this technology more than many others.

Collaborate on S.T.E.M. Resources

•Once people get a taste of programming and building projects, they will want to collaborate with others who share this interest. Below are just some of the organizations that sponsor and develop challenges, workshops and outreach programs that we can tap into to further challenge our future programmers, aerospace engineers and robotic engineers. STEM Research Competition Encouraging young women to STEM  lists online competitions and challenges.    – Join a Robotics Club like “First Lego League”  (which in Lake City is hosted by the Lake City Middle School; contact Jennifer Saylor at 386-758-4800)  Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Educational outreach programs to encourage early S.T.E.M. development. offers dual enrollment classes.

There are numerous Free Open Source Programs, Forums and Environments that cater to specific functions or web services.  
A few examples are as follows:  is dedicated to teaching all beginners to code. Create an account and get started coding by yourself, or with an instructor led lesson plan free of charge.  They are the promoter of the “Hour Of Code” one hour challenge. is an excellent place to start any school aged child, or young adult.  This is a great place to try their skills out, free of charge, from any computer. offers a simple visual coding interface making it easier for young people to learn and develop games and digital animations. is tailored to teaching girls and young women to code.  They have groups for 3rd-12th grade girls as well as older young adults.  – “Black Girls Code” is an organization dedicated to teaching young women of color to Code and thrive in a Tech world.  They have 15 chapters with the closest one in Atlanta. is a free forum that is designed to introduce new programmers to Microsoft products and web technologies.  It offers tutorials and website development instructions. is tailored to teach coding best for Android, and Google platform services is one of the best free website development tools & forums.   You can build and host a website for $50/ year or less; making this a very affordable programming and web development environment.  Lots of free templates.

United Way Offers a good list of STEAM resources and suggestions here.

Organizations focused on high school students:

  • Embry Riddle Youth Outreach
  • Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, including programming to strengthen their interest and confidence in pursuing STEM education and careers.
  • Project Lead The Way empowers students to develop and apply in-demand, transportable skills by exploring real-world challenges in engineering, computer science, and cybersecurity.
  • Million Girls Moonshot seeks to inspire and prepare the next generation of innovators by engaging one million more girls in STEM learning opportunities through after-school and summer programs.
  • FIRST designs accessible and innovative robotics programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM, while building knowledge and life skills. 

Organizations focused on adults:

  • CodePath provides college students with no-cost computer coding courses, mentorship, and career support to prepare them for careers in tech.
  • Hacking for Defense is a university course that teaches students to work with the Defense and Intelligence Communities to rapidly address the nation’s emerging threats and security challenges.
  • NPower creates pathways to economic prosperity by launching digital careers for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities. 

Foundations & Grant Opportunities and

Click Here to Download an 8 page list of Grant & Funding resources for STEM Programs Written in 2012, about half the links don’t work, but the ones that do and writings herein are an excellent start to STEM fundraising

Robotic Instructors

•One example of how we could leapfrog our STEM curriculum without investing a fortune would be Pepper, or a similar robotic instructor to teach, supervise and literally provide roving security for our Maker Space. Pepper is much cheaper to feed than an employee, and more accurate most of the time.

Pepper taps into AI, so it can be a robust teaching aid, multilingual concierge, intuitive nursemaid, intellectually challenging companion or whatever you choose it to be each day. It would be an exceptional greeter at the Lake City airport, as an example, since it can speak a dozen languages fluently.

For an example of how affordable a robotic instructor can be, visit They offer a robotic instructor, for a 2 year lease, with teacher training for around a $50K investment, If you can get approved for this pilot program…  Pepper comes with a subscription to the Artificial Intelligence data, preset templates for use, and a tremendous learning lab with software development kit and programming tools.

•With Pepper teaching our youth, Lake City would be pioneering in S.T.E.M. education, attracting investment, state and local participation as well as lots of positive publicity.

With automated factories and distribution centers nearby, we should position Columbia County to be a leader in Robotics instruction, an epicenter of programming talent, and a partner with the local Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapter to steer our youth into high tech and aerospace careers.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is fast emerging as a consumer environment, and not just the playground of government researchers. This presents enormous opportunities for teaching inquisitive minds to code and create. A Maker Space in Columbia County would provide the tutors, technology and learning lab needed to explore emerging tools like: (click on the links).

Chat GPT 4.0 A free Open AI engine that functions as a chatbot. Ask it to do anything, including write a term paper, play or song about something…

Dall E 2 an Open AI Image creation tool similar to Corel Draw. Ask it to draw a famous ship or person, or to graph the historical price of a commodity

Azure AI Allows a software developer to program using AI functionality

Contact H. Shawn Holmgren at UASTrakker for more information, if you have a robotic question, or if you would like to volunteer and to offer support for this local Maker Space concept.
Telephone: 386-965-4201 or Cellular 561-389-1490 or
Email: Investors