Plus One Podcast

Video Season 2 Episode 3 - Joel Leonard on Maker Spaces

October 23, 2021


This episode is different! 

Joel Leonard is an educator, an entrepreneur, an activist and a Maker, based in North Carolina, USA.  He is (I think!) my first guest with Shawnee and Cherokee ancestry.  He inspires people around the need for practical skills, bringing his message far and wide, travelling to those who are sometimes outside mainstream education, including and empowering. 

This interview was recorded on the hottest day of 2021 back in July, and so many things went wrong - it was done on 30 minutes notice, I forgot to hit the record button for the first 20 minutes of our discussion, and Joel was on his phone which lost power a couple of times, so apologies if it is a little disjointed as I tried to cut the different segments together into something of a coherent whole. As I lost my introduction in the missed 20 minutes - here it is:

Joel is I think the first guest on the podcast with Shawnee & Cherokee ancestry, and I’m talking via the magic of Zoom with him at his home in North Carolina, USA just before he sets off on a 4,500 mile, 20-day trek to bring educational resources to the Navaho tribe.  Making stuff happen seems to be Joel’s mission in life!  And his office is his car – another first I think for the podcast…

Joel is Chairman of the Manufacturing Workforce Advisory Committee in the National Defence Industrial Association.  He has spoken at international conferences & before US Congress, on CNBC, NPR.  He created an online TV Show, written hundreds of columns about solutions to skills gaps and working in the trenches of building pipelines of skilled technicians in aviation, machining and maintenance sectors. 

In 2014 Joel helped set up a maker space in Greensboro where 16 companies were formed, 9 patents filed and over 50 job seekers got employment.  Joel has counselled college presidents, executives, governmental leaders on how to build a stronger workforce and prepare for future talent needs.

Joel won numerous American Business Publication Editors awards for my columns, was awarded the VFW Americanism Award for helping place veterans into employment, was given Greensboro Community Foundation Game-Changer Award and on January 4th 2016 received the Conover Citizenship Award.

Anyway, sit back and enjoy an inspirational 50 minutes from Joel !



Contact Joel by email at or by phone on +1 336 338 1011 

Joel's website is at 

A book he recommends is "Inside the Tornado" - 

Podcast to follow - "Nation of Makers" - 


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