About Us

Board of Directors


Josh Morris

Josh is a project manager with GDA Engineers. In his spare time, Josh spends time with his family and enjoys building and creating at the Makerspace as well as at his home. Josh’s favorite equipment at the Makerspace includes the CNC Router and Laser Engraver.

Josh received his BS Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wyoming.


Vice President

Leslie McPherson

Leslie McPherson has been an educator for nearly 30 years. Starting as a high school English teacher, followed by many years as an elementary school librarian, she’s back with the teenagers as the Powell High School Media Specialist for the past 5 years — and loves it!

As a western Montana native, she has a deep respect and love of the outdoors and spends much of her free time outside.  Her hobbies include gardening, furniture refinishing, and scrounging for treasures at garage sales and thrift stores to either refurbish or repurpose.

As a member of the board, her goal is to build a strong connection between the school system and the Makerspace that encourages students and their families to engage in community-based lifelong learning.



Tessa Baker

At a young age, Tessa Baker decided to pursue a career in journalism. She serves as the features editor at the Powell Tribune, overseeing special editions, covering K-12 education and writing feature stories as well as obituaries.

She received her associate’s degree from Northwest College and her bachelor’s degree from Boise State University.

Baker loves being involved in a rural community and enjoys working with the public. In addition to her work at the newspaper, she serves on the Northwest College Alumni Association Board of Directors and is involved with Grace Point Church.



Nathan Winniger

Nate Winninger is a rancher, inventor and entrepreneur in the Big Horn basin. While juggling businesses he takes care of livestock and crops, builds laboratory equipment for use with embryos and his latest venture is a UTV rental and tour business. These seemingly unrelated enterprises have been built from a set of unique experiences and education that include growing up in an embryo production facility, an Associates in Business and Certifications in mechanics and automotive refinishing from WyoTech. These have been coupled with yearly continued education courses such as Ranching for Profit and the Wyoming L.E.A.D program along with personal vendettas such as his current one of perfecting his Spanish skills. Nate believes innovation comes from having minds from many spectrums working together for a common goal. A makerspace is the perfect canvas for this and he enjoys lending his brain to the cause.


Programming Committee

Rhett Pimentel


Rhett is a senior at Powell High School that loves all things tech. For as long as he can remember, Rhett has always found passion in building and creating things. Arduino microcontrollers, 3D printing, and origami are among the things that Rhett enjoys doing. In school, he is an active member of the robotics club and enjoys science and math classes. Rhett has visited numerous Maker Faires in Denver and talked to many other enthusiastic makers.




Board Members

Judith LaPlante

Judith LaPlante, CTE department head, Powell High School Teaching wasn’t always in the cards for Judith. After earning a BS in Computer Science from Oregon State University and completing the coursework for an MS in Computer Science from New Mexico State University, she began a 13 year career at Microsoft where she led the program management team for the C/C++ compiler products and created the first version of Visual Studio. She and her family moved to Powell in 2007. Four years ago Judith agreed to take on and grow the technology program at Powell High School. She now teaches 3 course sequences in computer science, web development, and robotic engineering to nearly full classes using project based teaching techniques. She also teaches two concurrent enrollment computer science courses in partnership with Northwest College, both of which transfer to the University of Wyoming. Her courses currently reach just under 20% of the student body. Judith extends learning beyond the classroom by mentoring US First FTC robotics teams as well as preparing her students to compete in Skills USA competitions. In each of the first two years of the FTC robotics program, teams from Powell High School earned invitations to the World Robotics Championships. Students have also finished in the top 7 nationally in both Skills USA programming and robotics competitions, and have received National Center for Women & Informational Technology (NCWIT) student Aspirations Awards. Judith is a two time recipient of the NCWIT National Educator Award.

Rick LaPlante

Entrepreneur and business leader more coming soon

Christine Bekes

Executive Director, Powell Economic Partnership Inc.
Certified Economic Development Finance Professional Christine coordinates the local economic development efforts for the City of Powell through PEP. PEP’s main priorities are supporting and growing existing businesses, business recruitment and entrepreneurship. PEP often partners with other community organizations to maximize our local, state and federal resources for initiatives that are foundational to economic development.

Christine has successfully managed and completed two grants – a planning grant for the Powell Economic Development Strategic Plan through the Wyoming Business Council for $50,000 and a foundation grant for $20,000 from the Northwest College Foundation Bill & Joanne Price Fund for economic development. In 2014, she applied for and was awarded an opportunity to bring an entrepreneurial crowdfunding education campaign to Powell. This was valued at approximately $25,000. PEP and their crowdfunding team helped two local businesses access over $16,000 in capital for through crowdfunding and another community organization raised over $30,000.

Ongoing projects funded through state and federal sources have been spearheaded by Christine and PEP. In 2015, Christine wrote and received a $30,000 grant award from the Wyoming Department of Energy to conduct a Park County Public Transportation Feasibility Study. This study is a joint effort by the two economic development organizations – Powell Economic Partnership and Forward Cody. Christine is the lead contact for this grant and is the project administrator. It is scheduled to be complete by December of 2015. Also this year, Christine worked with USDA Rural Development to help the City of Powell secure $44,000 in grant funding through the Community Facilities program and also to access $50,000 in grant funding for PEP through the Rural Business Development Grant program for innovation equipment for the Powell MakerSpace.

She is a graduate of the Park County Leadership Institute, a University of Wyoming Extension program. She is Co-Chair of the Wyoming Economic Development Association Legislative Committee. In 2014, she successfully completed a Grant Management Workshop facilitated by Grant Management USA. In September she earned the industry-respected certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council. Her undergraduate degree is in Chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA.

Jayne Johnson


Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Photography from Northwest College.

Jayne is a Digital Studio Specialist at Northwest College and offers expertise in technical support for all areas of analog and digital photography, including image processing, electronic and analog image capture as well as electronic and hard copy output.



AmeriCorps VISTAs

Anthony Riesen

Anthony is a recent graduate from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics.  Originally from Iowa, Anthony has long enjoyed combining different areas of study and making things with his hands.  While in Powell, Anthony is working for the Makerspace and taking classes through Northwest College to further his education while he decides what comes next.

Familiar with pretty much every piece of equipment and policy at the Makerspace, Anthony is the person to talk to if you have a question about how to do something, or just have a general question about the Makerspace.




Maren Fross


Our Partners and Sponsors

Park County Library Foundation:

  • Memberships available for check-out
  • Early-release programming services to the Powell Library children


Powell Economic Partnership:

  • Commitment to partner for programming related to entrepreneurs and small business
  • Sponsorship and administration of USDA Rural Development Grant Award
  • Sponsorship and administration of two awards from AmeriCorps VISTA including two full-time positions for VISTA volunteers


Parks and Recreation:

  • Collaborating on summer youth programs





TCT West:

  • Ongoing support of our internet needs



Northwest College:

  • Active engagement with NWC Center for Training and Development for opportunities to collaborate with programming



Powell Valley Community Education
  • Ongoing conversations to try and maximize the potential for collaboration



Park County School District #1:
  • A very generous in-kind donation of the space




AmeriCorps VISTA
  • Provides the living allowance for our AmeriCorp VISTAs  that makes it possible for them to work with us.
Powell Community Foundation
  • Supporting free programing for students of Park County School District #1 grades 5 -12
CTD – Center For Training and Development
  • Ongoing conversations to try and maximize the potential for collaboration

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