Bob, the Flint Chamber, and I collaborated for nearly five years attempting to start a Young Inventor's Program. The Young Inventor's Program rose out of the ashes of a program which prolific area inventor Doug Hougen had funded in the Flint School district for many years. Several years before his death Doug Hougen asked me to resurrect that program, and I took the problem to The Flint Chamber and Bob Ross.
At one point we thought we had a home for the Young Inventor's Program at Mott Community College, but unfortunately it fizzled. And while I was preoccupied with other matters Bob took the bull by the horns, identified an existing program to use as a guide for ours, and he recruited Linda Roeser to run the program. They have worked tirelessly for three years to promote creativity among area children by bringing the Young Inventor's Program to many Genesee County schools. Over 6000 children have been mentored in this program.
Giving, generous people like Bob Ross come into our lives every now and then. Do to health issues Bob has had to retire from acting as a SCORE councilor and from the Inventor's Council. I doubt that any one person can fill his shoes.
So in addition to recognizing Bob's contributions to our community, I write this in part to seek volunteers to continue Bob's work. I think that the best way to honor Bob Ross is to see that the programs which he worked so hard to foster continue. I am willing to bet that it will take several volunteers to fill Bob Ross's shoes.
In my experience the inventing part of the process is the easy part. Commercializing the invention, and avoiding all the pitfalls from invention promotion fraud to defending ones rights from large corporate predators is far more difficult then the majority of people realize. Becoming an entrepreneur like Bob Ross is what benefits the community. This is what creates jobs and tax base, jobs which are prone to stay in our community because the inventor is part of that community.
Michigan has a wealth of inventors who are capable of producing jobs and prosperity for our community. But those inventors generally need help to acquire the skills they need to succeed in business.
With this in mind I ask for volunteers to step forward who have entrepreneurial, management, and/or engineering experience. Recent retirees are in my opinion especially effective.
Ronald J Riley www.InventorEd.org