Providing Opportunities to Discover, Explore, & Learn Real World Trades

Big Ideas, Inc.’s mission is to provide opportunities for people to discover, explore, and learn both technical and soft skills needed to succeed in skilled trades. We use leading-edge augmented and virtual reality hands-on technologies to engage curious learners and then in-shop minicourses to continue the exploration. We are proud of our collaboration with professional tradespeople who share their skills, knowledge, and stories to give learners front-line insight into the wide variety of options offered in every aspect of skilled trades.

We believe that built in every person is a sense of pride when they create something tangible and good.  We are a group of people who have come together with the goal of promoting skilled trades to share that joy of teamwork and comradery, and awaken the joy and pride from the sense of satisfaction you get from a job well done.; we are here to help people discover that there is nothing better than being able to stand back and say, “I built that!”, or, “I did that!” That is who we are.

In 2016, after watching their two oldest children and friends approach their senior year of high school and consider their futures, the founders had four convergent realizations.

                Inferiority- The significantly fewer high schoolers contemplating a trade program or two-year degree appeared to feel inferior to their peers considering four-year degrees.

                Scarcity of Tradesmen- The founders had noticed longer wait times for home service and repair professionals to become available. Popular press began to report the ‘looming’ shortage of tradespeople as the median age of the industry was increasing and the number of apprentices was decreasing.

                Lack of Opportunity for Dabbling- With society’s shift from the farm and labor-based occupations, opportunities for all ages to engage in experiences that would create interest in the trades had diminished. Fewer local youth helped their parents do repairs around the house, work on cars, build structures, or make meals.

                Electronics- Perhaps kids were tethered to their electronics not because of electronics but because opportunities to putz around were not as prevalent as they once were.

These observations inspired the big idea for Big Ideas, Inc. They envisioned recreating “grandpa’s shop” and “grandma’s kitchen”. This would generate opportunities for youth to learn to use basic tools such as a tape measure, hammer, and saw. It would allow a chance to experience how an engine works, basic electricity circuits, soldering, welding, grinding, and greasing.

 

     Since the founding date, Big Ideas, Inc has morphed into more than just community classes. We have developed the Road Show, which allows us to bring trades exposure and the career potential behind it to any area. As of June 2021, over 1500 learners have gone through the Road Show, and over 400 have taken Big Ideas courses. We are changing minds with every event. And we are just getting started!

The Faces Behind Big Ideas​

Briana Huhn

Staff
Welding - Automotive

Peter Gag

Instructor
Welding - CAD

Val Besser

Instructor
Sewing

Chris Montgomery

Veteran Outreach Consultant

Andrew Kish

Staff & Instructor
Millwright

BIG IDEAS TIMELINE

Founding Date

01-2017

1st New Ulm Classes Held

07-2017

1st Partnership Established

07-2018

Trailer Purchase

06-2018

Trades Showcase at Brown County Fair

08-2018

Trades Club Debut

03-2019

Trailer Exterior Wrap

05-2019

Our 1st Minnesota State Fair!

08-2019

Dig-It Event

08-2019

Manufacturing Day Greenheck Minneapolis

10-2019

1st Out-of-State Partnership

01-2020

Road Show Creation

06-2020

Trailer Renovation Begins

01-2021

1st Out-of-State Class in Texas

04-2021

Road Show Debut

04-2021