Tri-State MakerFest Open To The Public & Focused on Workforce

What can you look forward to at the 2018 Tri-State MakerFest? The full event happens Thursday-Saturday; November 1-3, 2018 inside the Oakley Lindsay Center at 300 Civic Center Plaza, with Friday reserved for tri-state high school students. Thursday and Saturday are open to the public.


Thursday, November 1 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

  • B2B Social Networking & hosted bar sponsored by HOMEBANK.
  • Part 1 of the S.T.E.A.M. bridge building competition where guests vote on aesthetics.


Businesses are welcome to attend the afterhours networking event and preview participating MakerFest businesses in the OLC hall. Be the first to hear about a new Talent Attraction & Retention Project to launch for our community, led by Great River Economic Development Foundation (GREDF) and the Herald-Whig.


“The most critical issue facing our community is finding enough skilled workforce to fill open positions in our growing industries,” states Marcel Wagner, GREDF president.


“Quincy and our region is fortunate to be in a growth mode,” continues Ron Wallace, Publisher HW & VP of Newspapers. “However, we recognize there is a gap in our workforce. Therefore, we need to get the message out to other areas about our growth, as well as our low cost of living and quality of life, encouraging people to seek Quincy for their place of employment. This new Talent Attraction & Retention Project will allow us to tell our story, target regional job seekers, and offer a solution for people in places suffering higher unemployment rates.”


Additionally, be the first to see completed projects from the S.T.E.A.M. bridge building competition, sponsored by Ameren Illinois, and vote on bridge aesthetics. Engineers from local companies paired up with participating schools with the goal of not only building the strongest bridge out of balsa wood, but also inspiring careers in S.T.E.A.M.


Roger Leenerts, engineer at Leenerts Group reflected, “Last week was a great start to the MakerFest bridge building contest! I was so impressed with the enthusiasm of the teachers at Paris High School and the interest that the students had in this event. Not only were the students interested in doing well in the competition, they were fully engaged in the learning process about engineering principles of good bridge design. It’s fun to be a volunteer with a group like this!”


Participating school classes & their engineer coach include:

Unity High School – Stephanie Altgilbers

Engineer – Deepak Balaji from ADM


Quincy Christian School – Lloyd Keeney

Engineer – Charles Paquet from Knapheide


Paris (Mo) High School – Suzanne Otto

Engineer – Roger Leenerts from Leenerts Group


Pittsfield High School – Paul Lennon

Engineer – Brian Norman from Klingner


“I believe this event is very important for connecting students and the community to all the available S.T.E.A.M. related businesses the area has to offer,” explains Deepak Balaji, plant engineer packaging – ADM Oilseeds. “This exposure to the local industry is key in driving the economy and future of the area. I think this will teach students that careers in S.T.E.A.M. are beyond just math and sciences but more importantly teamwork and collaboration.”


Saturday, November 3 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM | OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

  • See employer exhibits accepting applications & resumes, tech demonstrations showcasing company innovations, equipment & video presentations and interactive displays.
  • Part 2 of the S.T.E.A.M. bridge building competition where bridges will be tested, as well as S.T.E.A.M. activities for K – 6thgrade students.


Cheer the classes on as Dr. Wolfmeir from John Wood Community College uses equipment to test the structural qualities of each bridge.


Participating businesses and organizations include:

Adams Fiber

Archer Daniels Midland Company

Blessing Health System

Craig Industries

Dot Foods, Inc.

First Bankers Trust

First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust



Hollister-Whitney Elevator


John Wood Community College

Knapheide Manufacturing

Kohl Wholesale

Lakeside Casting Solutions

Manchester Tank

Quincy Area Vocational Technical Center

Quincy Medical Group

Quincy University

Sisbro, Inc.

Sparks Maintenance

Titan International, Inc.

Workforce Innovation Board


MakerFest is sponsored by HOMEBANK and in partnership with John Wood Community College, Workforce Innovation Board of Western IL, West Central Region Education for Employment System #240 / Quincy Area Vocational & Technical Center.


For more information, contact Joi Cuartero Austin at GREDF (217) 223-4313.


Great River Economic Development Foundation is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit organization with a mission to maintain and GROW the economic vitality of the Quincy and Adams County, IL region through the retention and expansion of existing businesses and the attraction of new businesses to our entire region.