About Us

The Company | The People | MVV | One Kid at a Time

The company

Innovation Academy, formerly Table Top Inventing, is dedicated to developing innovators on purpose. There is so much potential in every human being, and we want to liberate that potential. With the challenges facing us locally, nationally, and globally, we can’t afford to lightly disregard the potential hidden inside every student. Instead we need to open the mind, spark the curiosity, and set fire to the imagination!

The Innovation Academy approach is to create a powerful learning environment, provide students state-of-the-art tools, and step to the side while students explore and learn through projects. Inquiry-driven, project-based learning puts students squarely in charge of their own education by providing an environment where growth naturally occurs through the process of “hard fun”. Working alongside others with all their senses and mind fully engaged, students learn to solve challenging problems.  To see a student who learned how to learn check out this blog Debby wrote about the subject. With an environment rich in possibilities and inspiration students have the raw materials to become amazing!

We believe what Socrates said, “I cannot teach anyone anything. I can only make them think.” Thinking is a very personal activity done for very personal reasons, but most education focuses on pushing knowledge at students rather than encouraging students to pull knowledge in and turn it into wisdom.  None of us can reach our hands into the brain of a student and help them rewire neurons. Yet on the other hand, environments can be created where we encourage exploration, tinkering, and personal thoughts without the fear of criticism or stigma of failure. In fact around here, we don’t really believe in failure. Failure is simply the first step to something amazing!

Productive “failure” is the main ingredient in innovation.

The people

Hi, my name is Steve and I love innovation!  The things I make are sometimes useful and sometimes playful.  I can’t imagine a life without being able to create things.  Six years ago, I started to use a cool new technology called “3D printing”.  I became so excited about this platform for making things that I just had to help other people learn how to use it too!  So I did what any self-respecting American would do, I decided to ask my wife Debby to help me start a business so we could support our habit of helping others move from consuming to creating.

I’ve actually been using 3D design software, physical computing, and computer programming for about 15 years.  I never used 3D design alone to make a living, but whenever I had a project that needed a 3D model, I would go to the 3D CAD (Computer Aided Drawing) software and build something.  As an innovator and a research scientist — the PhD in physics helps with my crazier ideas — I have the quintessential “absent-minded professor” thing going on, and fortunately for me, Debby brings a strong organization and social intuition to our business.  Just as I’ve been an innovator all my life, my wife has been an educator all her life.  In fact (don’t tell her I actually posted this), she used to line up her stuffed animals on the bed and have “class”!  She’s added a few more credentials to those skills over the years, including a Master’s in Educational Technology Leadership.  To be honest, she’s the most amazing teacher of technology I know! Here are the “official” LinkedIn pages with our academic backgrounds, in case you were wondering: [Debby] [Steve]

We keep ourselves busy by chasing around our 8 kids (well, actually most of them don’t require much chasing anymore with 2 abroad, several cautiously exploring independence, and 1 who has his own family).  We enjoy making things together with our family and working on projects.  We have a budding artist, one exploring law, a couple of young engineers, a socialite, an entrepreneur, a medical scientist, and one still early in the exploration process. Our little ranch includes 5 dogs, 5 cats, a 70-year-old tortoise, and squirrels that won’t go away (previously, 10 goats and 20 chickens too!).  We enjoy our technology as well as camping, hiking, road trips, and hanging out with our friends.  We think you’re going to have a great time getting to know us and exploring your own innovative side.

If you read this and would still like to know more about what we do here, click here to find out More About what we do and what we’ve done.



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