What We Do
Wowser is a non-profit maker-space located in Willits, California. Our mission is to provide an industrial/arts build facility where people learn, make, and teach.
In support of that mission we offer the following:
- A 20,000 square foot, membership-based facility that provides a unique working/learning experience.
- Access to a myriad of machines and tools for metal machining, electrical & electronic fabrication, welding, woodworking, sewing (fabric and leather), bicycle building and repair, jewelry making, computer-aided design, 3D printing, and more.
- Help with your Project design and prototypes facilitates the launch of new local businesses.
- A range of reasonably priced workshops taught by local makers and artisans that focus either on general training for specific tools/machines or the creation of finished products.
- Local Maker events that pull together like minds to encourage collaboration.
Why We Do It
As it turns out, learning to become a maker does have value in this world. The process of having an idea, and then going through the steps to make it a physical thing is invaluable. Nothing gets created without going through that process. Sadly, these days, that process is rarely taught. There’s so much focus on even getting enough food to eat, that Making – purely to learn to make – is not considered important. But all those wonderful things you NEED to have (that car, phone, hat, pants, shoe, table, earbud) were made by someone.
And YOU can learn to become a maker too.
Will you feel strong and powerful after you have made something with your own hands?
YES, absolutely. Nothing beats the feeling you get when looking at something YOU have built with your own hands. You liked it when you were a child, and we think you will like it now.
Who We Are
Wowser was an idea enlivened by five people who had a vision for improving our small town community. The first year, 2013, (operating as Wowser LLC) was spent in developing the infrastructure. All tool acquisition and space build-out was funded by the five founders.
In 2014 we received our 501.C3 acknowledgement from the IRS; thereby becoming an official non-profit business. We currently have around 300 members and we are growing daily. Wowser is largely run by a small team of dedicated volunteers. Our Board of Directors is responsible for keeping Wowser fiscally and legally sound and true to the mission.
Roger Wilson (Chairman-founder): Skilled designer, Architect, General contractor, Hacker/Maker, computer expert and teacher. Second career as a computer modeler/animator in the U.S. and abroad. He worked on the original Tron movie, KnightRider and numerous commercial work. Instrumental in five successful start-ups. Third career includes 45 years at the original Renaissance Faire. Roger is our chief Maker and project developer.
Cyndee Logan (Treasurer-founder): Business Owner, 29 years. Experience/skills: Community Coordinator Willits; NCO (Community Action Agency) board member and chairperson 10 years, Lake County Economic Development Corporation chair; Facilitator, Mediator, Planning Commissioner, Mendocino County Youth Commissioner, Mendocino County Youth Project Program developer. League of CA cities Helen Putnam award for Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, and Community Involvement. Other awards and recognition: from the City of Willits; American Cancer society; CA state Assembly, Mendocino County Environmental Health.
Anna Wilson (Member-founder): Retired, has both Psychology and Nursing degrees. Logged thirteen years owning a successful private business. Anna is the angel that watches out for us at Wowser.
Mike Burgess (member): Retired Spacecraft Electronics Engineer (34 Years @ TRW). Research Engineer. High speed analog and digital (DC – 20GHz) low power, spacecraft module development. Mike has also been NASA Certified in bonding, soldering, crimp and torque. He was also his department’s Health and Safety Inspector and liaison. Mike retired in 2012 and he and his wife moved near Willits to a totally off-grid 90 acre parcel. Mike enjoys computers, photography, maintaining an antique diesel generator, and helping care for 300 fruit & nut trees.
Richard (Dickey) Weinkle (Member-founder): Retired insurance agency owner. Former elected county official responsible for water, sewer, and power production. Grand Jury member, Hospital board member during building of new hospital,. Rotarian, and Interact (high school Rotary) sponsor and leader of many years. . Community builder through shared projects.
How to Get Involved
Essays and other resources that have inspired the founders of Wowser can be found on our Ideas page (click here).