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Forge Greensboro, Bryan School alumnus featured on NPR podcast

Forge Greensboro, a self-described community maker space, was recently featured on the NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. For the piece, Wilmer spoke at length with Forge Greensboro’s executive director, a Bryan School alumnus.

“The end goal is to get people, hands-on, making things and learning how to make things doing project-based learning and expressing themselves creatively with their hands,” said Joe Rotondi, who graduated from UNC Greensboro in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship.

The year he graduated, Rotondi spoke with the university on the topic of downtown growth. At the time, he said his original plan when he moved to Greensboro was to work as a traveling bartender and hop from city to city. But after a few years, Rotondi knew he couldn’t leave. He started getting involved with community events and soon met a group of designers and inventors who eventually became the first members of Forge Greensboro.

The Forge, located at 219 W. Lewis St., is known primarily as a nonprofit workshop and collaborative space. But during the podcast, Rotondi said it also serves as a social experiment, with 30 businesses operating in different capacities within the maker space.

“There’s this interesting thing that happens when humans talk to each other from diverse backgrounds,” he said. “They come up with new ideas.”

The Journeys of Discovery podcast features stories from around the globe, from hiking through the wilds of Malaysian jungles and exploring remote atolls and isles throughout the South Pacific. Its episode on The Forge runs about 30 minutes and can be found here.

“Makers make our civilization,” Rotondi says near the end of the episode. “They build our world, they make our products. So, it’s a really exciting career to be in when you actually see the product of your labor.”

During its stop in Greensboro, Journeys of Discovery also released an episode featuring Elsewhere, a museum and artist residency set in a former thrift store.