My name is Baron Concors and I am the founder of Techie Factory. For the last 20 years, I've led technology organizations for Fortune 500 companies - including roles as Vice President of Technology for FedEx, Chief Digital Officer for Pizza Hut, and Chief Information Officer for YUM Restaurants International (Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut). Even though I achieved success in the technology space, that wasn't always the plan.
It all began when I was six years old and my father bought one of the first personal computers for his business called a Commodore PET. I became fascinated with it. I read books and taught myself to code. My father bought more computers for his work - an Apple II, Apple IIe, the first Mac. Whenever something didn't work at my father's business - I was called in to fix it. However, when I turned 10 years old, I turned my attention to sports and didn't look at the computers again until a dozen years later.
I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living after I graduated college. I had a degree in Anthropology but I knew that wasn't a career. It turns out some big consulting firms were on campus and they were hiring. I met with one of them who put me through a series of interviews and tests. They asked me "do you know anything about technology?" and I said yes. The person handed me a test with a few dozen questions. I answered them, handed it back and they said they would be in touch if interested. I received a call the next day with a job offer. The person on the other end of the phone said "You answered every single technology question correctly. How did you learn this?" and I told her the story about my childhood learning everything I could about computers. My entire career was built on the intellectual curiosity of that first computer my father bought when I was a boy.Here we are twenty-five years later and technology is revolutionizing entire industries and economies. How critical will technology be in 10-15 years when our kids graduate? There isn't a profession or occupation where working with technology is not critical to success. Despite this, technology is not being taught as a core discipline in K-12 education in most schools. Our teachers are doing their best, but there just isn't enough time or money to dedicate to this important subject area within the current education curriculum.
We are part of this community and you can bet our own kids will be attending Techie Factory. We are tired of them staring at the screen and now its time for them to start learning how to make and create. I know if they have a solid understanding of technology and how it works - they will be well positioned for the future and they have a skill they can rely on their entire lives.
On behalf of my wife Leslie and I, we hope your children will enjoy Techie Factory as a destination to have fun, unleash creativity and to teach them that any idea can be brought to life through technology.
I’m Mess Wright, and I conceive, plan, and execute programs for Techie Factory.
I was a pretty terrible student when I was younger. I looked at school as a necessary thing - something to be endured. I made good grades, but I spent every minute with a book about something else tucked into the book I was supposed to be studying. I ignored all but a few very inspiring teachers and mentors. The good news is, I’ve easily read thousands of books. The bad news for my own life was that I could not reconcile my contempt for formal education with my own love of learning new things. I had a pretty okay corporate career, too, throughout my twenties, but I felt for that a similar sentiment to the one I’d had for my educational career. I was just surviving it.
In 2010, I opened a STEM focused party place in Lake Highlands (“The Lab”) because I was personally tired of dragging my own young kids to pizza places and arcades every weekend. I aimed to have a space where kids could do smart, hands-on Chemistry/Biology/Physics activities, learn new things, and never feel out of place. I wanted programs that welcomed the curious kids and celebrated their quirks while nurturing their sense of curiosity and self-confidence. After one year, The Lab Rats and I packed up and moved; we enjoyed three years in Junius Heights and another year in a giant Mercedes van. In mid 2016, I added power tools and digital devices to my program offering, as I began to believe the people who would drive the future would be those most comfortable with technology and the maker movement.
For all my efforts these last eight years, D Magazine, The Dallas Morning News and Advocate Magazine have recognized me in print and online. I have appeared on FOX 4 Good Day, Good Morning Texas and Channel 33’s Close-Up promoting The Lab’s programs. I’ve also traveled the U.S. meeting with some of the brightest disruptive educators on Earth. Lots of “mommy bloggers,” teachers, and parents have celebrated the work I’ve been doing and have enjoyed my support and friendship, too (I’m most grateful for that).
To date, I’ve led over eighty camps, a few hundred school, church and community events and classes, and about 1,000 fun STEM birthday parties. I did all this to further your children’s interest in science and exploration of things unknown, and I have been able to learn and grow alongside them myself.
Of course, I don’t plan to stop any time soon. Today, Techie Factory is a most excellent place for me to offer the quality STEAM content I care about and that my friends and followers expect. Let me know if I can help you or the children you care about become and remain lifelong learners. You can find me on LinkedIn, or email me at Techie Factory today!