A pioneer in 3D printing in austere environments, Dara combines her design strategy experience and rapid ethnographic assessment to empower others through technology. Two years after the earthquake in Haiti, Dara realized the extreme supply chain challenges. Motivated to tackle these, started 3D printing as a way of addressing immediate needs. Co-founding Field Ready, an NGO focused on manufacturing humanitarian supplies, has already brought 3D printers to make essential medical supplies, replacement parts, water pipe fittings and more in multiple countries simultaneously training locals. Dara worked as Human Factors Lead for Made In Space, Inc., a company that built and operates the first gravity-independent 3D printer on the International Space Station. She has lectured at the UN, MakerFaire, TED, and more about the potential of technology applied effectively to address human needs in remote environments. Holding a BS in Industrial Design, a minor in International Business from MSCD, and receiving numerous accolades for her creative applications of technology has led her to recognition by the Obama Administration as a “Champion of Change.” In her free time Dara flies drones, works on AI optimized cars, and learns medicine for remote environments.
An Interview with Dara
When I was 10 I wanted to be the first woman on Mars.
I am proud of... Working on a 3D Printer that was launched to the International Space Station in Nov 2014 has only been paled in comparison to the joy of founding the first innovation lab in Haiti. Helping young people to create new tools and a new Haiti has been nothing but inspirational.
The biggest obstacle... I have faced was self-doubt and my learning disabilities. Repeatedly being called stupid when I was young had its toll. As it turns out thinking differently has paid off.
My advice to women is... play, love, and live with passion. If there is something you really - really- want to do, than no one can stop you. If they can stop you, it’s not what you really want to do. You will encounter challenges however it is these challenges that create the unique beautiful you.
Yearbook on Space Policy 2016: Space for Sustainable Development: At The edges, Vulnerability prediction and Resilience
Ashley Dara Dotz
Personal Statement: There are two things in life that I've constantly found myself obsessively drawn towards: captivating design, and meaningful connections with other people.
When I meet people, I cherish learning their stories, and playing a part in helping them to find the best paths towards their goals. This means spending a great deal of time truly understanding the person and situation at hand. I love the puzzle that is the human mind. It is fun and engaging for me to figure out what people really need verses what they think they need.
My background in Industrial Design has allowed me to focus intently on creative problem solving leading to tangible and appropriate results.
· Story Boarding, rapid prototyping, 3D printing, Human Factors
· Windows, MS Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Solid Works, AutoDesk Inventor
· Proficiency in communication and adaptability across cultures
· Experience organizing and leading volunteer teams, promoting a vision toward making a positive, substantial, and sustainable impact on communities around the world.
Field Ready Jan 2014-Present, Principle Designer// Co-Founder (Global)
Field Ready provides solutions to the most pressing logistical challenges in remote and difficult to work places. Designed by aid workers for aid workers, our transformational approach will lead to significant cost savings and dramatically improved results.
· In field needs assessments (Anthropological and Medical)
· Design and production of replacement parts, tools, and new products for limited resource environments
· Research and development of 3D printing technologies and their application in post disaster zones
· Research and development of multitude production methods and their application in resource constricted environments
Made in Space (NASA AMES) May 2013 to 2015
Human factors lead, (Mountain View, California)
Additive manufacturing in space. Additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) in space will radically enable the space industry. Building parts, structures, and tools in space will not only reduce launch mass and size constraints, it will also enable the capability to build parts when needed, on-demand. (NDA)
· Ensure functionality, ease of use and safety of zero gravity 3D printers for astronauts.
· Worked with aerospace engineers to modify designs to better meet safety, ease of use and functional concerns
· Research and development of 3D printing technologies and their application in space
iLab Haiti Jan 2013 to 2013, Founder, (San Francisco, California)
With iLab//Haiti, Haiti now has potential for small on demand digital manufacturing capabilities. In partnership with KIDmob, design strategy is taught weekly.
· Brought 3D printing technology to Haiti alongside donated equipment such as software, computers and physical 3D printers.
· Facilitated design thinking workshops with locals to give them creative problem solving, empathy building and resilience. Taught maker skills and 3D printing skills.
· Recruited volunteers for the project as well as raised funding and in-kind donations for our projects.
Haiti Communitere Nov 2012 to 2013
Volunteer mentor, (Port au Prince, Haiti)
Spearheaded the innovation lab initially with local nurses and disaster medics and from this came iLab//Haiti. Introduced new technology to Haiti, leap frogging challenging infrastructure and slow manufacturing practices.
· Mentored community members on 3D design, printing and problem solving
· Engaged doctors and nurses in the local community in prototyping and 3d printing basic medical devices
DloHAiti Dec 2012- 2013
Design Consultant (Haiti)
Collaborated on design with international team and locals to create a water transportation system that fit within the Haitian culture. Therefore improving the standard Haitian business model around water, lowering costs and delivering superior products and services to high-demand but under-served communities.
· Collaborated with water experts, locals, and communities to create the best solution for clean water access
· Designed a cost-effective water transportation system to get clean drinking water to peri-urban communities
· Proposed, designed and prototyped three shipping container offices
ReAllocate June 2012 to Dec 2012
Project Manager (San Francisco)
As Project Manager at ReAllocate one large project had the goal of creating a high tech innovation lab that can be deployed anywhere in the world. I separated out steps and teams necessary to execute on each piece. The first was to design and build out a shipping container Innovation Lab. The second was to create a portable 3D Scanner (hacking Kinnect.) Third, create 3D prints of the scans. The last goal of the project was to successfully film and deliver autonomously via drone to the client utilizing GPS tracking.
· Managing multiple teams of 2-10 people to execute a variety of design and build tasks
· Collaborating with international authorities to execute proof of concept in extremely trying environments
· User Research in capabilities of training capacities regarding high tech innovation labs for developing nations.
· Working with a variety of Robotics experts in fields of delivery and surveillance
North Design Labs June 2012 to 2012
Project Manager (San Francisco)
· Recruiting and organizing teams for work in a variety of international locations
· Collaborating with a variety of experts in electric vehicles, kitchen products, and 3D printers
· Rapid Ideation and deployment of ideas
Orbis Global Leadership Fellow (Nepal) Jan 2011 –2011
While in Nepal utilized Rapid Ethnographic Assessment tools and appropriate on-the-ground research skills to develop a successful business model solution oriented to subsistence farmers. This model for subsistence farmers, taught business skills, market development, safer farming practices, Permaculture techniques, design, and problem solving skill development.
· Organized a unified cross-cultural interdisciplinary project funded by local NGOs to positively impact 10,000+ community members within 2 years of launch.
Recrear (NGO), Germany Aug 2010 to 2011
Branding Manager/Project Coordinator (International)
Designed and implemented internal communication strategies to improve communication amongst 14 different nationalities. Result was a strengthened and solidified international network of NGOs, schools, and private businesses focused on International Development across more than 40 countries worldwide.
· Logo design and branding strategies
Office of Economic Development, Ute Tribe, Sovereign Nation, USA May 2010 – 2010
Graphics, product management, and development for the farm and ranch sector which meant developing brand identity, packaging, and public relations strategy to ensure product and marketing was in line with the Tribe’s cultural values and beliefs.
· Created multi-cultural project business plan, addressing market feasibility, target markets, organization and management, product line, supply chain analysis, and strategic planning.
Nuba Water Project (NGO) 2008 - 2010
Designed projects to include clinic concepts utilizing Thin Shell Concrete for Tanzani, refugee housing, rainwater harvesting, and implementation of sustainable business practices.
· Assisted and arranged site visits to South Sudan to aid in development, research, and efforts in creating new low-cost agricultural tools for returning refugees.
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Bachelor of Science, Industrial Design; Minor in International Business GPA 3.68
· Primary focus was the people and space in which they interact, ergonomics, and social entrepreneurship. Thesis project: “Conscious Design: A Qualitative Exploration of the Significance of Cultural Diversity and its Critical Function in the Globalization of the Planet”.
The Scholar Ship (American University Partner: UC Berkeley)
· Traveled for 6 months on Scholar Ship to foreign ports, living and learning with over 37 represented nationalities. Specific classes included Global Issues, Global Management, Intercultural Communications, and Intercultural Management.
• Emergency Medical Technician • Remote Emergency Medical Technician
• Medical Person in Charge • Yellow Belt, Krav Maga • NLP Master Practitioner • German Level 2
• Champion of Change for Making, Obama Administration 2016 • Lenovo top 10 Most Inspiring People 2016
• The American Female Entrepreneur Highlighted, Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017
• JCN Scholarship for Native Americans • First Generation Scholarship
• Pierls Opportunity Scholarship • Scholarship from MSCD for Scholar Ship
• Treasurer and Secretary of IDSA Student Chapter • President of NDP Student Chapter
• Iota Iota Iota, Delta Alpha Pi, and Golden Key National Honor Fraternities • Vice Presidents/Provost Honor Roll
Professional Associations and Activities
• Orbis Global Leadership Fellow, Nepal 2011
• German language immersion • study of Industrial Design, Bauhaus
Languages and Interests
• English, German, French, Haitian Kreyol, Spanish
•Learning, Growing, Designing
• Loving, Laughing, Traveling
• Member, Iowa Tribes