Get to know Idea7!
Founder and CEO:
Chris Thompson is a christian, husband, dad, citizen, servant, and big-time science and technology geek who loves to make stuff and share his passion for learning and creating things with others.
For those who expect such things, here is Chris’s bio:
Chris was a science-loving tinkerer from his early days. After high school, he went on to receive a BS in Control Systems Engineering (Robotics) from Annapolis and served in several roles as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy. Chris later transitioned to NAVSEA to work in several engineering roles at Wallops Island, VA including Weapon Systems Engineer and Future Initiatives Engineer. He continued his education earning numerous professional certifications related to defense acquisition, project management, and engineering.
During his time at Wallops Island, Chris also served as Navy’s STEM Outreach Coordinator at Wallops Island, founded a 501c3 nonprofit to grow robotics and hands-on STEM education in the region, formed partnerships with NASA, local universities, and others, organized numerous local and regional competitions, co-founded and served as the instructor for an Advanced Robotics Camp in cooperation with NASA and the Virginia Space Flight Academy, and ran weekly student project activities at a local makerspace he founded and managed.
In addition to his leadership and teaching roles, Chris has designed and produced over 14 educational products including 4 unique robot kit designs for Cornell University’s Summer College Program. Chris has received recognition, awards, and numerous praises from the likes of the Virginia Secretary of Education and NASA Education officials.
Chris has now committed full-time to Idea7 and serving Idea7 members. In his off hours, he stays busy trying to be a better husband and dad.
It takes more than a lone crazy-person:
Chris is surrounded by a team of partners, family, and friends who support Idea7 and are big fans of Real-project Learning! The team’s collective experience is a subject obviously too vast for an about page, but here are some highlights:
• Bachelor’s Degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
• Master’s Degree in Education; College and Technical School Seminar Instructor
• U.S. Navy Aviator; Computer, Electronic, and Communication Systems
• U.S. Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter Aviator
• Homeschool Parents, Grades K through 12
• Public School Teacher and Technical School Child Development Instructor
• Engineering and Quality Assurance Supervisor; nuclear electrical generation plant
• USCG UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) Operations
• Innovative manufacturing entrepreneur
Our team is dedicated to helping you grow forward and succeed with Real Project Learning!
Idea7 LLC was founded in 2017 as an open source hardware and innovation company with a passion for learning through real projects. As with most founding stories, there were years of events leading to Idea7’s start in 2017 and we’ll eventually tell that story here. For now, the gist: Humble beginnings, grand plans, hard work, and lots of learning.
Technology is advancing rapidly. Our “process jobs”* are increasingly being automated with robots and apps. The role of humans in our workforce is seeing a fundamental shift and while old opportunities are closing, new opportunities abound for those who are prepared.
Good thing we’re preparing our kids for this change!…wait, are we?! [facepalm]
Idea7 was created to help solve this problem. It’s not about the kits, the kits are just one helpful element in a larger purpose–to prepare our kids for the future and give them the skill to find purpose, be creative, and actively learn in a rapidly changing world.
We think project based learning (which is certainly not a new concept) is a crucial part of helping our kids thrive.
TEC Hub Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a very similar mission. TEC Hub Foundation is all about helping communities get involved with hands-on project-based learning (including STEM, but broader). Idea7 is more focused on creating useful products and resources to help enable that mission. At Idea7, we encourage our employees to support TEC Hub Foundation with volunteer time, we provide donations to help TEC Hub Foundation’s mission, and we participate in the online TEC Hub community. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise since Idea7’s founder also founded TEC Hub Foundation several years earlier.
And now, let the journey begin…