Rutland, VT — Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) will hold a celebration on Thursday, October 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Vermont Farmers Food Center in Rutland. VELCO will commemorate the company’s 60th anniversary serving as the nation’s first collaborative, transmission-only utility with an event to help launch the Greater Rutland Makerspace.

“VELCO is a Rutland-based company that has reliably served and delivered value to the entire state. Our best, most innovative work has been and continues to be through collaboration. So rather than simply holding a party for ourselves, our employees wanted to find a way to celebrate that gives back to our community, that reinvests in Rutland. That’s why helping to launch the Greater Rutland Makerspace fits perfectly,” said Kerrick Johnson, VELCO’s Vice President of Strategy and Communications.

Makerspaces are community centers with tools, manufacturing equipment, and education that enable community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone. They are springing up around the country, feeding a creative, entrepreneurial spirit that holds promise to revitalize local economies.

The idea of a Rutland-based makerspace was developed under the aegis of the Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC) which recently pledged funding and facility support to help with the launch of the newly created Greater Rutland Makerspace. REDC Executive Director, Lyle Jepson, stated, “The REDC board is eager to move this initiative forward. We are excited to provide the Greater Rutland Makerspace a home in a REDC-owned incubator building. Funds from a previous job creation fund, donated by Green Mountain Power, will be used to provide building retrofit and equipment purchases. We are especially thankful to VELCO for accelerating this project and for doing so in such an innovative way.”

In thanking VELCO and REDC for their support, Pete Gile, chairperson for the Greater Rutland Makerspace group, noted the groundwork already completed for this initiative, “In August 2015 and 2016, Rutland held two successful Mini Maker Faire events that generated a great deal of interest and support from the community. Over 30 makers signed up to display their innovations and showcase their craft.” Gile added, “We have a dedicated group of organizers working together to create a more permanent space for the Rutland maker community and we are grateful to VELCO for making us a focus of their 60th celebration. We are hopeful this event will raise the funds necessary to help launch our makerspace and earn even greater support from the Rutland community for our work.”

The celebration will include live music, local food, and a popup makerspace to display local maker magic. A short presentation to celebrate VELCO’s past, present and future as part of the Rutland and Vermont community will cap the evening. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased on the event website, http://bit.ly/2coKJYK. All proceeds from the event support the creation of a Rutland MakerSpace. Visit www.rutlandmakers.org for more information on the Greater Rutland MakerSpace initiative.

This event, summed up Johnson, “is an opportunity to enjoy great food and music, meet exciting engineers, check out cool inventions and support your community. See you there!”