The 2019 Nation of Makers Conference (NOMCON), held on June 14-16, is the annual national conference that brings together leaders from maker organizations representing the diverse sectors, people, regions, and foci that represent the U.S. maker movement. Hosted by the national nonprofit Nation of Makers, the conference aims to spark and increase connections across sectors, generate robust collaborations and partnerships, set a research agenda for the U.S. maker movement, and promote the growth of an inclusive maker community. A central goal of the event is the promotion of relationship-building across lines of regular conversation, generating an increased sense of connected community throughout the entire ecosystem of maker-supporting entities.  


NOMCON will be held in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the Chattanooga Convention Center (One Carter Plaza Chattanooga TN. 37402). Chattanooga is centrally located in the Southeast at the intersections of I-75, I-24 and I-59.  Our river-city is within three hours of more than ten million people living in Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, Birmingham and Huntsville.  Chattanooga’s Airport, CHA, is just ten miles from Downtown and offers direct or 1-stop flights to most destinations.For more details about the conference location, Click here to view a video about the Chattanooga trade and Convention Center.


The theme for NOMCON 2019 is The Power of the Network - celebrating the diverse community of makers across our country that represent a multitude of backgrounds, geographies, and perspectives, whose collective talents, resources and backgrounds are the backbone of the Maker Movement. We realize that our community is stronger collectively (when we are a Nation of Makers) than we are individually (as individual organizations). This year’s conference will highlight the ways that this holds true, and gather the community together to discuss how we can harness and amplify the strength of our community as a whole to maximize our local and global impact. The theme The Power of the Network will be woven throughout the each of the program tracks.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
- Edward Everett Hale

As a maker community, we enjoy a rich connection of talent, backgrounds, ideas and skills that are not often recognized beyond the boundaries of our particular maker organization. We recognize that, in addition to elevating examples and telling untold histories, there is a need for us as a collective community to be self-reflective, to document and share best practices, resources, and support each other in deliberately becoming stronger together. For all of these reasons, we are committed for this gathering to add meaningfully to the maker movement conversation nationally.


NOMCON is intended for those leaders who help make the maker community! This event is perfect for those that:

  • Run or organize spaces (hackerspaces, makerspaces, Biospaces, FabLabs, etc.)

  • Organize events (hackathons, maker camps, workshops, summits, etc)

  • Represent organizations that support the maker community (for-profit, non-profit, educational, government, or institutional)

If you are a leader who supports makers, this conference is for you!

This conference is not a good fit for those that are simply interested in making as an individual or simply want to show off a project that they have made. Although you may hear about a number of events, organizations, or spaces at NOMCON, this is not a marketing venue to attract individual makers to any one thing. The intent of NOMCON is to give and get insights from other organizers in the Nation of Makers community.


Many events in the broad maker community focus on promoting makers and their projects, inspiring someone to try making, or teaching people how to be makers. The organizers themselves rarely have a chance to step back and thoughtfully consider how to best support the community they are creating. At NOMCON you might learn:

  • How to expand your network from within your maker community

  • Sharing resources to grow your space without draining your budget

  • Networking beyond your maker space or organization

  • How to recruit volunteers from outside your network

  • How to collaborate with local businesses, educational institutions and the community

  • How to find partners to collaborate with, including funding partners

As a maker leader, you will also be invited to participate in the greater community dialogue of how we should grow the Nation of Makers, and what projects we, as a community, should consider taking on to help both the maker movement and our communities, both locally and nationally. NOMCON is an opportunity to learn from and collaborate with your peers in the Nation of Makers community to help the community as a whole grow and thrive!


Expect to learn, to be challenged, and to contribute to a meaningful building of the maker movement!

NOMCON will be an opportunity to meet and share best practices with your peers in the maker community. This will be different from any maker event you’ve been to in the past! Each session will be tagged as recommended for those who run spaces, who are event organizations, or who represent organizations (for-profit, non-profit, educational, government, or institutional).

Friday, June 14th -  Pre-Conference Tours. Some of Chattanooga’s most interesting makers have opened their doors to provide NOMCON attendees an in-depth look at the resources, technology and networks the city has cultivated to create an ecosystem that is supportive of makers and helps some of them move into entrepreneurship. Click here to see a list of pre-conference tours.

Saturday, June 15th and Sunday, June 16th. Programming will consist of keynote speeches, six programming tracks, and a variety of networking opportunities--including a dedicated Project Planning Session on Sunday plus a lunch and learn on Saturday! During the conference, visit our Exhibit Hall to meet with a dynamic range of makers and see what resources are being used in makerspaces around the country.

Post-Conference Opportunity, June 17th-19th. Thanks to our friends at the Public Education Foundation, 50 NOMCON attendees will have the opportunity to attend the Fab Institute for free. This unique professional development designed to give K-12 teachers one-of-a-kind experiences as they engage in hands-on learning with digital fabrication tools in our advanced makerspaces, Volkswagen eLabs! Tickets are limited and available on a first, come, first serve basis. To register, go to: http://www.vwelab.org/chattfab and use the discount code NOMCON2019. Please note: you MUST be a registered NOMCON attendee to receive free admission to the Fab Institute.

What are the Program Tracks for NOMCON 2019?

  1. Making Local: Highlighting the regional impacts of the maker movement with a spotlight on these efforts in Tennessee

  2. Making Sustainable: Exploring ways that makers make money, sustain their efforts and or source sustainable to survive and thrive

  3. Making Makers: Exploring the ways that educational efforts in formal K-12, higher ed, informal, career and technical, and adult learning environments are being advanced through making

  4. Making History: Celebrating the inclusive past and predicting the potential future impact of the maker movement

  5. Making a Difference as a Maker Community: Documenting the impact of the social and global change efforts elicited by the maker movement locally and around the globe

  6. Making Networks: Discussing how the maker community is strengthened by the development of inclusive and vibrant networks

This year we also are excited to weave YOUTH TRACK programming (programming geared towards a younger audience) throughout all 6 tracks. And as Intentional Inclusion remains a focus of the mission of Nation of Makers, we will continue to weave last year’s theme of Intentional Inclusion throughout the entire conference.

What is the format of the program tracks?

Each programming track will fall under on of these six session styles that suits that particular track best.
The program sessions are as follows:

Keynote Talks: Enjoy hearing luminaries representing the full breadth of the maker movement that will give diverse perspectives on this year’s theme, “The Power of the Network”

Ignite Talks: Eight, 5-minute sessions presented by YOU, the maker community! Share your passion and spark a new conversation. 

Ignite Talk Working Sessions: Each track features a working session beyond the ignite talk session, where participants can discuss and ideate “next steps” forward with the ignite session presenters. In addition to the the ignite sessions, the agenda features additional facilitated working sessions for deeper dives into content across and within sectors.

Discussion Sessions: Facilitated by makers from around the community, discussion sessions are opportunities to dive deeply into topics of interest, share what we know, and learn from others. 

Working Group Sessions: Working Group sessions, represent an opportunity for our Nation of Makers working groups to convene in a face-to-face settings, goal set, and develop an action-setting agenda moving forward.

Project-Planning Sessions: Our final session of the conference is slated to be a project planning session, where new and scaleable efforts can be discussed, and implementable actions and next steps can be identified, allowing the conference participants to leave with a clear vision of next steps, committed project partners, and what we hope will be a sustainable roadmap to future success.

Will there be programming for youth?

We know that there are quite a few youth in our country who are developing new products, providing leadership in their makerspaces, and making amazing things. This year, we are curating youth programming just for them, and youth (age 14 and up) ticket pricing. Along with access to all the keynotes and conference tracks at NOMCON, youth can also expect to connect with peers who are making a difference in their communities, share knowledge and develop new skills that can help them now and in the future. Youth must be between the ages of 14 and 18 to qualify for this youth ticket, and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. Click here to purchase your tickets today.

Should I bring my children who are under 14 to NOMCON? While we do not have any explicit children’s programing that children under 14 would appreciate, Chattanooga has a lot of age appropriate activities, and places that your whole family will enjoy. This includes the Chattanooga Public Library’s 4th Floor Makerspace which is across the street from the Convention Center. Click here to read what the Atlanta Journal Constitution has to say about children’s activities in Chattanooga.


In order to create the most inclusive access possible, we have created a "pay-what-you-can" pricing structure. Please see https://www.nomcon.org/pay-what-you-can/ for details. This is for registration costs only.

Should you require assistance with travel expenses or housing, please click here to apply. We will have a limited number of travel awards available to help defray the costs of attending NOMCON.

Several community members are organizing group rides and housing to help lower the cost of attendance. Join the Slack group at https://nation-of-makers.slack.com/ and check out the #nomcon_travel-plans channel for more details.


Yes! Without the generous support of our sponsoring partners, NOMCON would not be possible. If your organization is interested in supporting NOMCON as a sponsoring partner, please download our sponsorship package here, and contact Dorothy Jones-Davis at: dorothy@nationofmakers.us.  


Given the nature of our maker community, it is important to note that the Exhibit Hall will not be a typical vendor space. Special attention will be made for how exhibitors create interactive experiences; those wishing to exhibit can expect an exploratory conversation in the process to ensure the planned experiences are in keeping with the overall vision for the conference and the space. If your organization is interested in exhibiting at NOMCON, please download our exhibitor package here, and contact Kate Warren at: kate@nomcon.org.

What is transportation like in Chattanooga?

Chattanooga has an incredibly walkable Downtown and offers many free and unique ways to get around the city.  The free electric shuttle runs daily* about every 5 minutes, covering all of Downtown and connects to the Northshore.  The downtown shuttle runs weekdays from 6:30am to 11pm, 9:30am to 11pm on Saturdays, and 9:30am to 8:30pm on Sundays. Chattanooga also boasts one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world connecting the North and South shores as well as a thirteen mile riverwalk.  The first citywide bike share system in the South lives in Chattanooga with 300 bikes at 30 locations throughout the city.  So ditch the car and ride the shuttle, walk or easily rent a bike for the day as you enjoy Chattanooga.

Should you decide to rent a car or drive, there is plenty of metered, parking garages and lot parking available. ParkMobile is used at all of the metered spaces and is available for free download here. We also have Uber, Chatty Wagon and Lyft.

Images in dark blue indicate areas of importance to NOMCON attendees. These include the conference center, Friday and Saturday night activity sites and pre-conference tour locations. Please check back for more details. Click here to download our detailed shuttle guide to Chattanooga.