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White House Honors Limor Fried, AC2SN, Among “Champions of Change for Making”


The White House will honor Adafruit founder Limor “Ladyada” Fried, AC2SN, on June 17 as one of 10 “Champions of Change for Making.” According to the announcement, while an engineering student at MIT, Fried became determined to create a company that focused on supporting the learning of electronics for makers of all ages and skill levels.

“These individuals were selected by the White House for their personal passion and tireless efforts to make advances in technology and platforms, educational opportunities, or spaces that empower even more Americans to become tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs,” the announcement said.

Fried founded Adafruit in 2005, and it has grown to now employ more than 100 individuals in a 50,000 square foot factory in New York City. As the company’s sole owner, she has committed to building both innovation and community and is known for creating resources for learning.

“When Limor Fried looks at a circuit board, she sees it as a series of aesthetic choices — a vehicle for self-expression, rather than simply the product of rational optimization,” Nicola Twilley wrote in the March 3 edition of The New Yorker magazine. Twilley quotes Fried as saying, “I want to show people that engineering isn’t something cold and calculated. Thinking like an engineer is a beautiful and fascinating way to see the world, too.”

Fried was the first female engineer on the cover of WIRED magazine, and she was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by Entrepreneur magazine. She also served on the NYC Industrial Business Advisory Council.

Adafruit has expanded its offerings to include tools, equipment, and electronics, which Fried personally selects, tests, and approves before it goes into the Adafruit store. In 2014 Adafruit was ranked number 11 in the top 20 US manufacturing companies and number 1 in New York City in the list of 5000 fastest-growing private companies. Adafruit was featured for New York in Google’s 2015 Economic Impact report. It cited Fried as saying, “Engineering can be a force for good. We’ve done such a good job of showing what engineering is like, and who engineers are, that we can actually change generational thinking. You can really change somebody’s life, if you get to them early and inspire them.”

According to the announcement, the Champions of Change program was established as a way for the White House “to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.”

The White House will live stream the recognition ceremony on Friday, June 17, at 1700 UTC. 



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