Why I Joined America Makes

The Barnes Group Advisors is scarcely 2 months old. I was at this year’s RAPID+TCT conference contemplating whether the decision to leave a relatively high profile role in a leading materials and manufacturing company was really a good idea. I wanted to create a small, intimate, engineering firm to help industrialize additive manufacturing. It was exciting and terrifying. I settled into my seat to listen to a keynote address given by a longtime colleague Rob Gorham, Executive Director for America Makes. 

Rob and I have had many conversations on numerous topics over the years. Deciding to go out on my own was one such conversation. I felt there was a need in the market. We believed that there was substantial growth ahead. America Makes was at a transition point as well. While the growth in membership was impressive, things needed to progress to continue serving a need in the industry. In short, the mission was maturing as additive manufacturing had transitioned from an exploration phase to a maturation phase. 

As I listened to Rob and watched him pace the floor, he announced the new America Makes @ program. As his words poured out, it became clear to me that things were aligning! My concept of a small engineering firm that could access the biggest companies in the world and my currency of being an additive ambassador, a willing participant, an advisor, a coach, a speaker – all had value to America Makes! Thought capital was accepted as readily as financial capital. 

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Recently, I gleefully put out my first press release as The Barnes Group Advisors (TBGA), and it announced our admission into America Makes. TBGA started with myself (and possibly a Golden Retriever) but has grown to include clever people who share a vision. Our head office is in Pittsburgh, but we are in several locations in the United States and Australia. 

The press release read, “John Barnes, Founder and Managing Director of TBGA said, “When we saw America Makes create the @ program, we got very excited and jumped on it as soon as we could. It gives a small business like ours reach and access to the best companies in the world”. 

Aside from the awkwardness of referring to yourself in the third person, it was all true. I believe we get value from access to America Makes in terms of networking, technical content and continuing to be part of the conversation. I also believe we give value by our participation in America Makes as they continue to strengthen and promote collaborations across multidisciplinary fields. We can also leverage this value to improve our offering to our clients. 

Our value proposition is converting data into information and information and knowledge into insight. The AM world is full of data, but it offers little in the way of conversion to usable information and this is what we aim to do. With access to America Makes, we can participate in the data collection and work to produce information.

Learn more about The Barnes Group Advisors here.

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