You can't build anything without a clean, organized shop.
It’s true in your own garage, and it’s true at Highway1, which is why we have shop technician Ky Faubion around. “I help people build their projects, find tools, resupply everything, and keep things running,” is how he puts it. “It’s what I live and breathe. I really love building projects and learning new things; I’m addicted to it.”
With an eight-year career in animal care under his belt, Ky felt an itch to try something new. After walking into a public makerspace, he knew he’d found his home — literally. “I spent so much time there, people legitimately wondered if I had a real home or not,” he recalls. “I built so many projects that I lost count.” His favorite tool? A polymagnetizer, a device capable of altering the field properties of a magnet. “All kinds of interesting patterns and projects become possible.”
Ky puts his considerable knowledge to work every day helping Highway1’s startups solve prototyping challenges, whether it’s cutting a complex shape out of wood or finding the right way to punch a clean hole through plastic tubing. When he isn’t checking in with a team or running a machine, he’s busy just keeping everything in the right place. “I check all the drawers to see what’s been moved around and who uses what the most,” he explains. “Then I look at basic cleanliness and make sure there’s no clustering going on. I know very well how shop environments can be, and how hard it is to keep them organized. I work to make sense out of chaos and help everyone stay focused on their tasks without forgetting what they just did — including myself.”
Given all the challenges hardware startups can face in their early stages, Ky is happy to help them get their prototypes right the first time. “There are a lot of small nuances,” he says. “Everybody thinks they can build a box or a drawer, but once they start from scratch, they quickly find out it’s not that easy. You have to be slow, patient: don’t rush, and definitely doublecheck everything. You know that old saying ‘Measure twice, cut once’ — I’ve seen people measure five times before cutting once.” Helping a team learn and grow their skills, as well as adding to his own repertoire of tips and tricks, is Ky’s favorite thing about what he does. “I thrive being surrounded by like-minded individuals who are thrilled to see and learn about something new.”