If you Google the name Lindsay Craig, you will no doubt learn about many interesting people. But none more interesting, established, or personable than Lindsay Craig (aka Linz Craig), Design News’ 2017 Rising Engineering Star.
Craig, who changed his name to Linz when he transitioned to a regional high school from his small town of Lincoln, Massachusetts -- “Google Linz Craig I come up on the first page. Google Lindsay Craig and I don’t come up at all,”
he says -- rarely has downtime to pursue his hobbies of music, snowboarding, cooking, and art.
In fact, it could be argued that his love of snowboarding sparked his impressive career. But let’s first tell you why
we chose Craig as the Design News 2017 Rising Engineering Star. At just age 35, Craig has devoted much
of his life to helping kids learn basic programming and math. He has traveled the world doing the same, and has created two start-ups. As you read on, you will find he also does piecemeal prototyping work for people who can’t afford the rates of a professional engineer but still want a prototype that is proof of concept.
Craig isn’t a professionally trained engineer, but he certainly has the chops.
He built his own major -- a combination of computer science, art, and education -- while an undergrad at the University of Massachusetts (UMass)-Amherst. “You have to pick 11 classes over the 300 level over the various areas of concentration,” he said. “It’s what you do when what you want to do doesn’t fit into the traditional degrees.”
While at UMass, he decided he would design video games for a living and set out with another student to create animation of a robot breakdancing. “No one explained to us how difficult this was going to be,” Craig said. “It was frustrating and I realized how much drudgery work it was, so I decided that animation wasn’t for me."
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That was in 2006. His next move would be to crash on his brother’s couch in Colorado and spend some time snowboarding while “finding himself.” But he also needed money, so he decided to use the educational aspect of his degree and got a job teaching programming to middle- and elementary- school age kids at a local public school. “I kind-of stood out in the after-school program,” Craig said. “I found myself as one of the more knowledgeable people.”
Fast forward to 2010, when Craig -- in response to a Craig’s List ad -- started working at SparkFun as its Educational Outreach Coordinator. “It was a niche position. They were looking for someone that would come in with a fresh set of eyes,” he said. “I thought I was a round peg in a square hole until I got the SparkFun position – employers