Nathaniel Berger

Nathan Berger
Engineering & Design Expert
Regional Innovation, Ohio University

Nathan Berger is the engineering and design expert for the Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability (LIGHTS) program. Holding a BFA in art history and an MA in digital visual communication from Ohio University, Berger founded two creation spaces—Aesthetic Technologies Lab and CREATE_space—as resources to empower individuals in arts, technology and/or entrepreneurship.

For two decades, he has worked in the digital arena—producing interactive and static design—including games, print design, websites and prototypical objects—and collaborating with others to help them produce their own products.

Specializing in interactive digital technologies research, Berger has worked extensively with businesses, artists, entrepreneurs and educators developing objective-specific solutions demonstrating IT-centric and humanistic qualitative aspects of society. His solutions focusing on game design and content creation development have been hosted nationally, with sponsorship from such organizations as ITAAO, Genesis HCS and Games for Health.

LIGHTS Product Development in the Dark

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) recently funded a POWER grant, known as the Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability (LIGHTS) program, to help 28 coal-impacted counties in Appalachian Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia diversify their workforce through product development and commercialization.

As the regional economy is transitioning from traditional industry—new industries emerge and are in need of more diversity to provide economic security and widespread benefits. The regional coal laborshed contains a workforce of an abundance of highly skilled hand-workers.

Nathan Berger, engineering and design expert at Ohio University, finds the democratization of small-scale manufacturing has brought about more regional entrepreneurial business opportunities than the past 30 years. Makerspaces are soon to become pillars of this new economy and small-scale multi-domestic product enterprises are to have a wide impact. What we do not know, just yet, is what those products are to be, and who is to make them. We're in the dark.