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Could the Washington DC metro area be a hidden east coast maker mecca?

What do you think of when you think of the Washington D.C. Metro area?

  • U.S. Federal Government (yep … it’s big and it’s all here - 38% of people in DC say they work for the Federal Government)
  • Beltway Bandits (the private sector portion of the Acedemic-Military-Industrial complex)
  • Pentagon (the public sector portion of the Acedemic-Military-Industrial complex; 1% of Ameicans are employeed by the U.S. Military which is the single largest employer in the world)
  • Foreigners and Transients (not just the diplomats; only a small portion of the residents are here for long, an even smaller portion grew up in the area)
  • Telecoms and Data Centers (every major American telecommunications company is either headquartered or maintains a campus here)
  • Spook Central (you only “see” a small percentage of the three letter agency presence)
  • Biotech and Healthcare (there is a whole area around DC, Bethesda and Rockville dedicated to the National Institue of Health (NIH) and it spills all over into Northern Virginia as well).
  • Traffic (I’ve driven all over the United States, L.A. is bad, Atlanta is just stupid, Chicago is crowded … the beltway (Interstate 495 circle around Washington DC) is just plain dangerous).

Yep. All that is true.

Here are a few other things that are true … 

  • High cost of living (one of the highest in the US, probably THE highest outside of urban areas) … but the salaries are also high.
  • Very well educated population; both academic and military. Because D.C. is mostly administrative and political in nature (even the military, tech and manufacturing presence is usually centered around management). White collar work probably outnumbers blue collar work by 4:1 here. Only service and hospitality is probably larger.
  • High stress work. D.C. is an east coast city … hence, a lazy ass here would be considered a work-a-holic on the west coast. Plus, a significant portion of the population can’t even discuss their work over the dinner table.
  • Very easy access to nature Loudoun County, VA … Central Virginia … Appalachian Trail … Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay
  • History is all around in one of the oldest areas of our country.

Add all of that up and you get a good percentage of the population with interesting hobbies and backgrounds that often have the disposable income to really invest in those hobbies.

Why then do places like San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Los Angelos get all the maker spaces and attention?

Is Bohemian New York the only place on the east coast with creative people producing work?

Oh course not.

I think I will try and put together a campaign to visit shops and spaces and people all around this diverse area and show off their projects, techniques, tools and shops.

Maybe we can pull together a directory of East Coast makers and suppliers.

So … calling all 


  • Woodworkers
  • Blacksmith
  • Machinist
  • Welders
  • Mechanics
  • Carvers
  • Makers
  • Electronics Hobbiest
  • Model Makers
  • UAV Builders
  • R/C Builders
  • Auto mechanics
  • Painters and Custom Bodyshops
  • Tool Manufacturers
  • Furniture Makers
  • Farmers
  • Fabricators
  • Ferriers
  • Fletchers and Bowers
  • Leatherworkers
  • Recreationist
  • Performers
  • Artisans


Contact me with your …


  • ideas
  • list of favorite suppliers (website, what kind of materials, area, etc)
  • contact information for interesting people/artisans
  • shops of some particular interest, exceptional value or quality workmanship
  • contact information for private workshops of interest
  • rare, intersting or unusual hobbies


Stay tuned for developments.

              - PinderNET

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