09 Mar 3D Veterans: Creating Opportunities For Veterans To Help Veterans
In eight years with the military, I got to travel all over the world and help people. My first duty station was in Alaska. That was a life-changing experience and it exposed me to a different culture all the way around. We did humanitarian work, which was exciting and so rewarding to provide care for people that lived in the area. I started off as a dental specialist and later transitioned into a surgical technologist. It was an amazing journey!
Four years prior to transitioning out of the military, I started doing research on how to pursue my passion. All I did was take a step back and look at myself in the mirror. I asked, what did I like to do when I was a kid? What would I do without thinking it was a job? I always had a love for entrepreneurship, but I also loved technology. I used to take apart old computers that we had at home and would never put them back together. I was just really interested in how things were made.
3D printing was one of the technologies that I fell in love with. I started cold calling companies and figuring out how I could get into the industry. I would attend trade shows to get ideas about what exactly I wanted to do. I ended up going to one four months before I got out of the military and purchased a photo booth. The booth took a picture of you and created a 3D model of your face, which would then print a 3D picture of your face. Even though they shut that product down it led me to where I am today.
I now work with 3D Veterans where we are conducting 3D training programs for veterans here in San Antonio on how to 3D print and design. We offer 6-week programs where veterans will learn how to use 3D design tools and 3D print to help them get jobs in technology. With software and technology partners, our goal is to help create opportunities for veterans.
Another division of our company is branching out to VA Hospitals where we will develop 3D devices for veterans with disabilities using 3D printing. We created a virtual online university with the VA because the hospitals want to learn how to utilize technology and amplify their capabilities. They want to make things go faster especially in the prosthetics department. We are going to help them utilize those tools with 3D scanners and 3D printing.
Before 3D printing, it would take weeks to create a prosthetic for a veteran with a disability from the plaster molds to the finished product. Now with 3D printing, we can use 3D scanners and 3D printers to create those custom prototypes and then add attachments. There really is unlimited potential in 3D printing for occupational therapists and physical therapists to create custom tools for a veteran that has a disability. And with this technology, we could even have a veteran create their own because they understand their own challenges. I’m just excited and appreciative of how this company is going to amplify the technology capabilities of VA hospitals nationwide and help put veterans in those 3D printing opportunities where they can create prosthetics for other veterans.
San Antonio, TX
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