Tom Root grew up near Youngstown, OH with a passion for business and entrepreneurship. While attending a food conference in San Francisco with his wife who worked in the deli of Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Tom came up with the idea of a mail order website for the legendary food store. . On September 22, 1999 Zingermans.com took its first order, and Tom took on his first official role at Zingerman’s as Chief Information Officer. During the next two years he introduced Zingerman’s to email, established a wide area network, connecting all the various Zingerman’s locations and managed Zingermans.com. In 2002 Zingerman’s Mail Order and Zingermans.com merged and Tom took on the role of controller of the this important part of the Zingerman’s empire.
Tom has also launched Maker Works in Ann Arbor. This innovative place is where people with ideas but who lack the tools can come and rent professional equipment to create product made of metal, circuits, wood, and craft. It is a vision of taking the “1099’s”—those people who are part of the freelance world, and unleash their creativity on Michigan’s economy. Instead of raising capital for expensive equipment, anyone with an idea, passion, and talent can rent equipment on a membership basis and get started. According to Root, this method eliminates barriers and helps to develop and launch new small businesses. It is a unique, unorthodox way to reconsider the very notion of manufacturing.
Sponsored by the UM-Flint Innovation Incubator
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Harding Mott University Center Michigan Rooms