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20180915_123414_E_downsized.jpgESCO Celebrates Long History with OMSI at 2018 Maker Faire 

by Eric Blackburn 

September 19, 2018


Last weekend, ESCO participated in the Oregon Museum of Scien​ce and Industry’s (OMSI) 2018 Maker Faire. While the Maker Faire is a festive experience for people to celebrate science and industry, ESCO’s involvement with OMSI goes far beyond this annual event.

ESCO’s dedication to OMSI comes from our former chairman, Hank Swigert, who has been an advocate for the museum and its mission for decades. In 1992, ESCO and the Swigert family helped fund OMSI’s move to its current location on the Portland Waterfront. The Turbine Hall, which features the physical science and technology labs, is dedicated to Hank’s grandfather, ESCO’s founder. In recent years, Hank has been devoted to improving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for kids in Oregon, specifically through the types of programing offered at OMSI.   

 

 

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November 1959: Fred and Ernie Swigert admire plaque installed at Oregon Museum of Science
and Industry in honor of their father at the dedication of the C.F. Swigert Hall of Industry (turbine hall) on November 3.

 

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Just like Hank, I believe strongly in the importance of STEM education, especially as good programming is hard to come by in our local schools and young students are taking more interest in other subjects. But it is vital that we reach our local community early in childhood to highlight the importance of STEM learning. 

I joined the OMSI Board of Trustees in 2014 to help carry out Hank’s legacy at OMSI. I’ve had the opportunity to further the mission of the museum and to help get more kids in Oregon excited about science and building and creating things.

The annual Maker Faire at OMSI is the perfect example of one way we try to make engineering accessible for children. In general, the maker movement is the business of creating things. Our team at ESCO wanted to give kids at the Faire a hands-on opportunity to see how things are made at our company every day. To do this, we brought our casting booth to the Faire, which allows kids to put together a sand mold and watch us melt the metal into a finished casting. It’s always exciting for kids to see first-hand how ESCO makes its product and they get to leave with a handmade souvenir. 

Casting is just one example of how, at our core, ESCO is an engineering company. It’s important to us that we’re not only drawing from local talent, but that we’re helping to educate and support future engineers at an early age. Our work with OMSI is just one way we’re focused on educating the next generation of STEM leaders in Oregon.

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 Volunteers at the 2018 OMSI Maker Faire in Portland, Oregon.
 
Another tool we use to highlight the science our ESCO employees work with every day is through our Hank Swigert Innovation Center. The innovation center is a great resource that allows us to show people how technology is applied to our designs, showing the practical application of things you might learn at OMSI. The ability to show how science and engineering are applied to the real world is invaluable. 

While ESCO’s connection to OMSI is deeply rooted in the Swigert family, its legacy will live on and grow as our community and our society continues to focus on STEM education. Our team at ESCO is dedicated to expanding education in engineering, math and the sciences, through our innovation center, through partnerships with local schools and through OMSI.
 
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