Gene is a lifelong maker, entrepreneur, thinker, and public speaker.
From model making as a child, to machinist/tool-maker at age 21, Gene launched into his professional career by interacting with hundreds of manufacturing companies and running his own robotics start-up. Over the past decade, Gene has turned his focus towards enabling people to gain more access to hands-on skills learning, and the amazing opportunities in the world of Advanced Manufacturing. In essence, he wants to help people become capable makers and help solve the Skills Gap.
Born in the Soviet Union, Gene immigrated with his family to America at age seven and in 1988, he became a US citizen. With a tremendous passion and love of this country, Gene wants to help the U.S. maintain its global manufacturing and innovation leadership role. He hopes that his vision of Vocademy
and education- focused makerspaces can help create a skilled and innovative hands-on workforce. By doing so, also help thousands of people find meaningful and rewarding careers.
Gene’s career was primarily in the manufacturing industries and teaching others how to effectively use tools and technology to make better products. This involved travelling to hundreds of companies and helping them optimize their manufacturing methods. Along the way, Gene observed many of the issues that manufacturing companies were having. The largest problems being the lack of people who possess essential hands-on skills, the growing Skills Gap, and the negative view of manufacturing in our society.
After 25 years in industry and 5 years of working at a major University, Gene clearly saw the lack of practical hands-on knowledge being provided to students in all schools. Gene pushed to have these shop (vocational skills) classes put back into our education system. But academic bureaucracy and the budgetary constraints of our schools made that path almost impossible. So in October 2013, he decided to create a new kind of entity called Vocademy
. A vocational academy, one that is education-focused, open to anyone over 14, and where people can learn a breadth of these amazing and valuable skills. Gene believes that the key is not JUST access to the “tools of making”, but education on how to use them safely and effectively. Vocademy offers everything from fundamental skills classes and all the way to apprenticeships for Advanced Manufacturing companies.