Sitting in the lobby at Strategic Factory in Owings Mills, Ari Barnett-Goodwin marveled at the colors and designs that surrounded him.
“I’ve never seen a place as nice as this,” said the Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School student, holding a one-dimensional guitar. “This is probably the most graphic-intensive place I’ve ever seen.”
Barnett-Goodwin is working toward studying electrical engineering and computer science with classes in engineering, and is a part of the school’s robotics team.
"Everywhere I picked was a place where people could get jobs."
With a day off from school for Election Day, Barnett-Goodwin took an opportunity to tour a few places that could also help.
He was one of 25 students who took a manufacturing tour of three sites in the area, organized by Ed Mullin of the Baltimore City Robotics Center. In addition to the printing and signage operation at Strategic Factory, the group got a look at what was happening at the makerspace and companies in City Garage in Port Covington, and the 3D-printing and CNC-router work that goes into producing sand castings at Danko Arlington in West Baltimore.
At Strategic Factory, account executive Ben Cook provided a tour of machinery and talked about how the business continuously offered new products and services to grow.
“It’s always best when you can manufacture things in-house,” he said at one point.
The tour was part of the Robotics Center’s efforts to open up career pathways, which was also on view at its Blacks in Tech event last month. It also happened to fall during the Maryland STEM Festival.
“Everywhere I picked was a place where people could get jobs,” Mullin said.
The intent seemed to resonate with Barnett-Goodwin.
“As is said over and over again, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. If I know this person at this place, then I get this job,” he said.