Drummond Woodsum Attorneys at Law

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July 20, 2015

Dick Spencer, a shareholder in the School and Local Government group was quoted in the July 20, 2015, Portland Press Herald article, "Once-Prominent Craftsmen Group with Deep Maine Roots Reinvented."

The article discusses how the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association, formed in 1815, will now connect and support modern 'makers' such as app developers, inventors and others. Members voted to place four new members on the board including Dick Spencer.

"Spencer, has been a member of the mechanic association for 25 years. He joined because the organization was a bit of a novelty and he appreciated its history in the city. However, he acknowledges not being very active until the recent energy around the group's revival pulled him in.

Spencer has been a member long enough to remember when the association still offered free mechanical and architectural drawing classes to members, which it did from 1875 until 1988 (instructors included famed Portland architect John Calvin Stevens, who also once served as the association's president). In fact, Spencer's son took those classes in the 1980s. Today, he's an architecture professor at the University of Washington.

"I don't know if that directly related to his becoming an architect, but certainly some sort of seed was planted," Spencer said.

Part of the strategic plan aims to bring an educational component back to the association's mission. Ideas range from reviving the classes in architectural drawing to offering classes in basic coding or Web design.

But it'll be up to members and the new board to make these visions a reality. Spencer, for one, is looking forward to the challenge.

"I think it's kind of amazing," he said. "The organization was formed by people who made a living off skilled workmanship, banding together for self-improvement and to help each other. Now there's a whole revival going on in Portland and around the country of the makers movement and people who are either traditional craftspeople or innovators using new technologies. So, in a way, the mission the organization originally had seems remarkably relevant to what's happening right now. I think it'll be fun to be part of its revival.""

To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

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