There are a thousand roads between any two given points and Scott seems incapable of picking the one most traveled. A generalist by nature, his is a life spent dabbling and lost in experimentation. It’s against this background of distraction and day dreams that the thought of a makerspace in Fresno was born.
Thirty years of innovating solutions in industries as diverse as agriculture, publishing, and finance have provided an understanding of what it takes to get buy-in from users and build consensus around a project. It was through these abilities that the Ideaworks community was brought together. Scott is living proof that if you just close your eyes and jump, there's no telling what you can accomplish.
These days Scott is most easily identified by his recurring complaints that he personally never gets to make anything… a tradeoff he reluctantly views as worthy.
Steve Popenoe was raised on the north coast of California in Humboldt County. After receiving a degree in Environmental Engineering from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, he and his wife found their home in downtown Fresno in 2005. Steve immediately fell in love with his neighborhood, which like many in Fresno, is mostly folks who have responded to the disadvantages of generational economic poverty with inspiring perseverance and creativity. It was his desire to leverage that creativity to improve the lives of his new friends that drew Steve into Ideaworks as it started in 2012.
In 2015, Steve left his civil engineering position as a State regulator to pursue opportunities in social entrepreneurship. He is now working with Neighborhood Industries (a local community benefit organization) to start a manufacturing/assembly business. Steve says that, together with influence from church, Ideaworks helps shape his hope for what Fresno can be. At the shop, Steve spends most of his time talking with members, getting overly excited, working on electronics projects (IoT, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, etc.) and making art on the CNC router or laser cutter.
Spending leisure time beyond the mandatory school schedule in the ceramics studio and woodshop in junior and senior high school was a catalyst for Matt Estes. Matt credits a time where the educational system valued the arts and trade skills, enhanced with passionate educators, as the fuel that drives his pedagogy for living. He uses the movie, Tomorrowland, as an analogy of the attitude he thinks we all need more of: “Can we fix it?” – Casey from Tomorrowland… Damon Lindelof, producer and writer of the movie, answers it with this, “you can, but you have to do something… You can’t sit around, and the future isn’t something that happens to us; it is something that we make happen.” In Matt’s estimation, Ideaworks is our Tomorrowland.
Matt Estes is an educator at heart. A Fresno native, Matt has spent the last three decades inspiring our community’s youth as a teacher with Fresno Unified School District. At Ideaworks, Matt is a shop fixture—almost always around and available to guide and assist our community of makers; he lives his philosophy. Matt is our resident woodshop guru; Matt teaches our ever so popular, almost always sold out, beginning woodshop class. If that wasn’t enough, Matt has also been around since Ideaworks’ inception and serves as an active board member. He holds a B.A. in Health and Physical Education/Fitness from California State University, Fresno.
Benjamin Kirk spent much of his young life in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Sonora, California. It was there he found his passion for snow skiing which ignited a desire to create his own snow skis. While he was working to set up his own shop, he found Ideaworks in Downtown Fresno. In that, he also found a community of people who were willing to help with his [slightly insane] dream. While the project is still a work in progress, Kirk can proudly say that he has successfully skied on his own skis – thanks to the community at Ideaworks.
Benjamin Kirk has been a member of Ideaworks since 2015 and became a board member in 2016.
Kirk has worked in the broadcast industry in Fresno for the last 18 years. He currently manages the website for a local television station where he oversees online news, digital video production, and social media.
He is an alumnus of Fresno Pacific University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Business.