Callye Keen & Mike Hogarty


“Exposure to IMTS will help makers expand their concept of what's possible.”

With IMTS history stretching back to 1927, generations of machinists, engineers and shop owners know that they can find the tools, technology and connections needed to grow their business by walking the halls of McCormick Place. Maker entrepreneurs who want to grow a business have no such heritage for finding industrial solutions – but not for long. Through the efforts of Red Blue Collective, the maker community will connect with the manufacturing community at IMTS 2018.

Red Blue Collective

Makers combine the DIY spirit of the arts and crafts culture with engineering, electronics, CAD, robotics, 3D printing and metalworking, among other skills. Makers are the new generation of tinkerers, designers and inventors, and the growth of the maker movement coincides with tools, machines, technology and software becoming more affordable, notably 3D printers and CAD-CAM software such as Fusion 360 from Autodesk. These budding entrepreneurs share a collaborative spirit, creating maker spaces where volunteers provide physical resources and generate a positive mental environment to support their peers.

“We want to connect people who have ideas from outside the industry with the people who can help those ideas become reality. We have identified a real need to share what IMTS represents to the maker community members who want to dream bigger,” says Mike Hogarty, Chief Operating Officer of Red Blue Collective (learn more about Mike Hogarty and Red Blue Collective ). “Makers who want to turn their passion into a small business might not have considered going to IMTS, or they didn't know the show existed, so we're going to host a Maker Meet-up at IMTS with the focus on sharing IMTS resources with the maker/entrepreneur community.”

“Red Blue Collective helps entrepreneurs and small businesses who are making physical products connect all the dots necessary to take them from a nascent stage to successful sales,” adds Callye Keen (read Keen's story), President and Founder of Red Blue Collective. “Makers and manufacturers have a lot of unknowns. By attending IMTS, learning about new technologies and making connections, they share ideas, find solutions, avoid common mistakes, lower risk and increase their chance for success.”

“Exposure to IMTS will help makers expand their concept of what's possible,” says Hogarty. “Immersing themselves in the manufacturing technology at IMTS will empower makers to think of new design concepts and production methods.”

Red Blue Collective's Maker Meet-up at IMTS will be held on Wednesday, September 12, at 1:30 pm, McCormick Place | W471. The meet is limited to 300 people. To reserve space, visit #MeetatIMTS


The maker community fervently supports innovation and individuals, predominantly young people with less experience. Without a formal organization around them, the community bands together to share pain and solve problems. This gave rise to maker spaces such as Nova Labs in Reston, Va., which hosted an event last year called Launch100 that connected Keen and Hogarty with AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and operates IMTS. Ten entrepreneur teams pitched a variety of products, competing for a $5,000 prize provided by AMT and with an AMT representative participating in the judging.

“For makers to take their products to the next level, IMTS offers them technologies they haven't even dreamed of using,” says Hogarty. “It's also a place to solve problems, whether that's through a physical solution or talking with someone who has solved the problem before you.”

Keen, an IMTS veteran whose family has been in manufacturing for more than 50 years, explains that small businesses run by owner-operators are deep in the weeds of dealing with daily fires and may not have the time to look into new technologies.

“IMTS gets people out of their bubble,” says Keen. “Going to the show creates a fellowship by not just looking at the machines, but by talking with your peers. That can add huge value. The start-up community relies heavily on mentorship, and people in the manufacturing community love to share their mastery of a subject. You have to come to the show to further your dream.”

Hogarty adds, “If you come to IMTS 2018 and the Maker Meet-up, you're going to meet people who can further your dream as an entrepreneur. You're going to come away inspired by seeing new possibilities for your business.”

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