The Association of Professional Model Makers is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization
established in 1993. It was chartered with the mission to serve as a forum for exchanging information and ideas, as
well as pool talent and resources for the benefit of the industry as a whole. The APMM was founded on the idea that
model making is a vital and integral part of the design and product development process. It seeks to enhance
communication between the industries that use prototypes and models and the professionals who make them, promote
professional recognition and support the advancement of model making tools and technologies.
The “Napkin Sketch”
In early 1993, a group of Silicon Valley, California model makers decided it would be a
great thing to hold a conference to discuss and measure the impact technology was going to have on the model making
industry as the 21st century approached. These specialists felt that if the garage-based, one man shops didn't learn
about the breakthroughs being made in Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Machining (CAM), CNC and Rapid
Prototyping techniques, then they would be left behind, and eventually put out of business. Kelly Hand and Robert
Novack (Satellite Models), Wendy Sommers, Jeff Hoefer and Tom Jacobson, among others, began planning the first-ever
model maker’s conference, with the theme "The Future of Model Making", to take place in October 1993.
The initial problem was to determine how many model makers there were around the country (and the world). Nobody
really had any idea of how to do this, and with the internet in its infancy, researching meant heading to the local
library to look in the Yellow Pages for various cities. After endless hours of brainstorming and searching, the
effort paid off. The organizers were amazed that there were so many people who could identify with the term Model
Maker. Kelly and the others, in speaking with these individuals, found that a real interest existed in having a
forum where model makers could get together and share ideas with others in the same line of work.
Intense preparation was begun by a small group of people, making phone calls, reserving a conference center, and
inviting presenters and speakers. This gathering was truly an extraordinary undertaking for people who were not in
the business of running conferences! The head of Apple Computer’s prototyping department, along with people from
IDEO and Lunar Design would speak at the event. CNN, the world-wide news channel, planned to send a journalist and
camera crew to cover the proceedings.
Developing the Concept
Looking into the Future
The APMM exists for, and because of, its members. Members can ensure that the APMM
stays alive and remains strong by volunteering for one of the Board positions and committee roles when they
become available (two-year terms), by offering input for improving services and benefits, by renewing their
membership, and by contributing questions, answers, and interesting posts to the Forum.