Decades before GoCreate opened as a Koch collaborative makerspace at Wichita State University, Kim McCollum was well on her way to becoming one of the facility’s leaders.
“I come from a long line of entrepreneurs,” says Kim. “I was one of those kids who knew how to write patents when I was little.”
Kim recalls how her father would challenge her to imagine new inventions. They would visit the Patent and Trademark Resource Center at WSU, the only library of its kind in Kansas, to see if the ideas already existed.
“That kind of grew my love for inventing and coming up with new things,” says Kim.
Years later, in the spring of 2017, Kim was a stay-at-home mom raising kids of her own. Her father was still busy inventing and he stopped by one day to get her opinion on his latest concept.
After reviewing his patent, Kim started building a prototype using items from her family’s craft closet. GoCreate had opened at WSU three days prior. Just like she did in her childhood, Kim went to investigate.
“I came in and knocked on the door just like anyone else. I said ‘Can you make this for me?’ And they said, ‘No, but you can.’ And that’s where it started.”
Kim soon found herself not only using GoCreate to experiment, she joined the staff as assistant director.
When she gives tours of the 20,000 square-foot makerspace equipped with professional mentors and more than $2 million in state-of-the-art technology, Kim points out it’s not just for students or people with entrepreneurial backgrounds. Koch Industries and The Koch Family Foundation wanted to make GoCreate available for the entire community.
“This building faces the community for reason, because they wanted to make sure it was open to everyone,” says Kim. “We have members that are as young as 8 years old, all the way up to 84 is our oldest member at this time.”
GoCreate members experiment with textiles, metals, wood, plastics, printing and other resources to help bring their ideas to life.
“You can be somebody who wants to learn something new. You could be out of work and need a new skill. Or you can be a tired mom like I was when I came in and just want to do something kind of like therapy,” says Kim.
“We call this a collaborative area because even if we can help you make it and do it, it's ultimately up to you. It's your idea, your vision, your dream.”
For more information on GoCreate and membership details, visit GoCreate.com.
Hear from Kim and others why Koch's support of innovation at WSU is important to students and the community in this episode of The Picture, a Koch Industries Spotlight Series telling inspirational stories from Koch's hometown, Wichita, Kansas.