Masterclass in Problem Solving: Josh Burker
Meet Josh Burker. The penultimate problem solver, he is a teacher who stepped up to develop solutions for communities in dire need.
"The most rewarding part of the process was being able to step into the breach when the federal government failed to protect medical workers, farm workers, and others...”-Josh Burker
While many wait for others to solve their problems, leaders step forward to develop solutions for everyone. Armed with curiosity, tenacity, and a willingness to learn, problem solvers are people who improve the world for everyone around them. Josh Burker, an Educational Technologist in Connecticut, is a problem solver. A few years ago he noticed a gap in the way classroom technology was taught to students and stepped forward to solve it. He went on to write several books about hands-on technology projects that help students to engage in authentic learning.
When COVID-19 hit the United States in early March 2020, Josh again saw a problem and heard the call to action. Firing up his 3D printers, he went to work producing face shields. Realizing that was only part of the solution, he harnessed the power of his network and began coordinating production with friends to ramp up production capacity. Continuing to work through production issues, he built a jig for his drill press that quickly and accurately cut holes in stacks of poly shields, the thin plastic on a face shield that covers your face. As materials online dwindled, he located and worked with local suppliers to keep production running.
As the critical work of PPE production continued, Josh developed a network of people who were in dire need of PPE. Included in that group was his own brother, a ER doctor in Washington State. Josh then saw the PPE problem morph: there were farmers, other essential workers, and others who couldn’t quarantine, all in dire need of face shields. Never one to wait for a solution, he reached out to them personally and stepped in help solve their problems.
Reflecting on the experience, Josh stated, "The most rewarding part of the process was being able to step into the breach when the federal government failed to protect medical workers, farm workers, and others who could not quarantine themselves".
Josh supplied face shields to those who otherwise might never have had access to personal protective equipment when they needed it most. It is through his actions that Josh Burker sets a shining example of how the solutions to our communal problems take hard work, commitment and a true generosity of spirit to achieve.
Images courtesy of Josh Burker.