Welcome to Locally Grown! Locally Grown introduces you to the people and stories behind Local Lake County businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Monte Turnage, owner of Engineering For Kids.
Monte and his wife, Krista, have found a way to bring their passion for working with children, their education, and their careers together in a way that serves the children of Lake County. It is broadly understood that kids benefit from exposure to STEM experiences at a young age, and there aren’t enough opportunities for hands-on learning in this area at most schools. That’s where Engineering For Kids comes in. The couple launched their business in 2014, with one class at St. Joseph Catholic School in Libertyville. The program has grown to offer camps and classes at more than 35 locations, and expects to work with over 1,2oo students this year. There are options for scouts and home schoolers, too. You can even have a party with Engineering For Kids!
Monte is originally from New York, and came to Lake County in 2005 to work. Monte met Krista, a Chicago native, while they were working in the internship program at Caterpillar. They now live in Lindenhurst, with their 14-year-old daughter. As a family, they enjoy eating out at Grande Jake’s and Emily’s Pancake House in their hometown, and they are season pass holders to Six Flags Great America. Their daughter is an aspiring Olympic gymnast. Balancing business-ownership and parenthood is a big challenge, especially with their daughter’s rigorous training and competition schedule. They spend a lot of time traveling–six days each week–for her practices and meets.
Both Monte and Krista have earned engineering degrees and MBA’s. They have a passion for working with kids and making STEM fields more accessible. Through tutoring and mentoring programs, they have worked to improve the lives of young people. The couple has also been involved with a number of organizations as tutors in schools, teachers of after school classes, and have served on the boards of organizations, including A Better Chance–an organization that increases educational opportunities for young people of color.
After working in the private sector, Monte and Krista decided to bring their collective professional and volunteer experience, a well as their passion for sharing STEM programs with children and open the Lake County branch of Engineering For Kids. Since their first class in 2014, the program has grown by leaps and bounds, with new classes and locations added almost every session.
Engineering for Kids serves kids from age four through eighth grade, and aims to increase awareness of the different disciplines of engineering. As a country, according to Monte, we are failing to educate young people and create the engineers we need to sustain our future. Monte also believes,
At Engineering For Kids, we aren’t teaching hardcore engineering. We are teaching kids to understand process, problem solving, and design. We are trying to instill some of the characteristics you need for a future in engineering. We want them to learn what it is like to BE an engineer.
Next week Monte steps in as guest editor with his calendar picks, and later this month, we’ll share more about the classes, camps, and other opportunities to learn and grow with Engineering For Kids.
Little Lake County Exclusive! Engineering For Kids is offering our readers an exclusive 20% off on all party package reservations made by September 30th, 2016 — just make sure to mention Little Lake County when you register. Contact them at [email protected] or 224-372-7805 to take advantage of this offer.
Disclosure: Engineering For Kids is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series.