Who We Are

Ben-HeadSo far, “we” are mostly just “me” and a couple handfuls of wacky volunteers. My name is Ben and I’m a local to the Pioneer Valley. I currently do computer stuff as a day job. Among my past jobs are farm mechanic, assistive technology educator, and tutor of various things. I’ve taught blind and low-vision clients how to use computers, and I’ve built large agricultural objects. I’m passionate about teaching and I seem to have a knack for making and fixing things. I like metalworking, woodworking, good beer, good friends, and long walks in the woods. No, not all at once, you weirdo.

I got the idea for Repair Public from a video on Facebook about Repair Cafés, which are a worldwide framework based in The Netherlands (http://repaircafe.org/en/about). Holy cow, Facebook is actually good for something productive! Who knew? Anyway, I thought it was a great idea, so I re-posted the video. I kind of hoped someone else would take the concept and run with it, as I don’t fancy myself as much of an organizer. But nobody did! Well, darnit, that meant I had to do it. I think that’s how that works.

Shout-outs where due:

My volunteer staff! Dan, Dana, Drew, Jill, John, Justin, Karl, Kevin, Nate, Owen, Seth, and a few others. Last names withheld to quasi-protect the innocent. Only two of them are actual mad scientists, though I won’t reveal which.

Nathan Hobbs (also a local!) and his social mecca Seymour the Pub. His enthusiasm, structure, patience, and support were instrumental in getting Repair Public off the ground.

Rabib “RJ” Rafiq and Patrick “Patches” Burke of Bistro 63, hosts of our second event. RJ and Patches really know how to make a wrench feel welcome with their seemingly-effortless efficiency, professionalism, and support. Not to mention their incredible food!

Casey at the Hitchcock Center found Repair Public, I didn’t even have to ask her anything! Her space is fantastic and fun and a perfect fit for all the Amherst events to come forth ever.

I’m really glad you’re reading this. No, seriously.