Koenect it Forward
by Glenn Maslowsky

The power in giving back:
So once again, I am in line at the drive thru at one of the many Tim Horton coffee shops here in Buffalo. As has happened more times than I can actually count on both hands, I pull up to the window to pay and am greeted with the words that the person in front of me has paid for my coffee. I instantly begin to ponder why and might even get a little paranoid until I realize that they just wanted to buy me a cup a coffee. Maybe it is with the hopes that I might want to share the feeling I am currently having with someone else …that I might want to buy a coffee for the person behind me and pay if forward. Well it works, maybe too well.

Here at Koenect we believe that giving back is part of our culture, we are a community built on passion driven connections and we promote a collaborative working relationship between members. So why not offer a skill to another member that shares a passion and interest to yours or help support a project they are working on. That might encourage them to do the same…..That’s Koenect-ing it Forward.

Mud-USA Bike Stems

Mud-USA and Endless Innovations have different skill sets and passions and as these two members demonstrate, there are many ways to Koenect it Forward. Mud-USA was a designer and manufacture of high end cycling components Made in the USA. One of the core values that Mud-USA held high was promoting the understanding and appreciation for US Manufacturing. The shop was comprised of a Coffee shop/Bike shop that opened up into the design and manufacturing space. This offered the consumer the ability to tour the shop and observe the actual manufacturing of the components they could potentially purchase. All with the intention of bringing awareness to the design and manufacturing process.  This effort was highlighted even more when Mud was asked to help a graduate student, Lucas Mesmer at the University at Buffalo collect manufacturing data to support his thesis. The study is titled: Enabling supplier discovery through a part-focused manufacturing process ontology, I know right. But basically the paper presents a new approach to process and manufacturer discovery through the use of part features and characteristics developed in an engineering ontology called: Part-Focused Manufacturing Process Ontology (PMPO).

See the full publication: Enabling supplier discovery through a part-focused manufacturing process ontology

So in this example of Koenect-ing it forward, Mud-USA discussed the process utilized to produce the Nth-Degree Stems (see sections 4.2 and 4.2.1 of the study) based on the design features. This offering was to disclose the rational for the selection of the machine tool technology and manufacturing methods that made this product producible in the US and how the features on the parts drove the machine tool selection process. To help further support the Part-focused Manufacturing Process Ontology study, additional process evaluations and methodologies were also disclosed. So Mud-USA Koenect-ed it forward with a technical discussion to help validate the Thesis.

Nickel City Cycles

Endless Innovations took a different approach to Koenect it forward, they elected to offer the complete skill set within their shop to help another Koenect member. Nickel City Cycles, a small designer and fabricator of high end cycling frames and hardware needed to design and fabricate a conversion of their chain-stay jig into a fork jig (watch for upcoming video footage). This conversion would improve the manufacturability of their Fork production.

As with many of our members these are businesses driven by a passion and commitment to their craft.  They are not pursuing a path to the corporate arena of investors and profit margins that could impact the quality and value they build into every project and product. To keep the passion alive, these businesses models become very efficient at managing cash flow and performing as many tasks in house as possible. But there is a point of diminishing returns where you stretch yourself so thin that progress almost comes to a standstill and frustration starts to outpace the passion and you might consider giving up. This is where the Koenect community can really shine. Many of our members have a unique skill set and they all have a passion for what they believe in.  As we build this community, there will be many opportunities to work with and help other members maintain a drive by offering a skill, “On the House”  to keep the Dream Alive..that is Koenect-ing it forward…it will be one of the most rewarding contributions you can offer to someone that is chasing a Passion and a Dream..just like you ..It all started with a simple cup of coffee !!!

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