MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis steps down, will lead new ‘Innovation Workshop’ at Stratasys

Bre Pettis, CEO of the popular consumer 3D printer company MakerBot, is stepping down and taken on a leading role at a new “Innovation Workshop” at MakerBot’s parent company Stratasys, first reported. MakerBot president Jenny Lawton will take over as CEO.

Stratasys CEO David Reis issued the following statement:

Stratasys and MakerBot are excited to announce some management changes at MakerBot that will take effect in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2014 and into January 2015. Most notably, Bre Pettis will be transitioning from the day-to-day activities of management to a position with Stratasys where he will be able to influence and direct the vision of MakerBot and Stratasys; he will also be a member of the MakerBot Board of Directors.  Jenny Lawton, president of MakerBot, will be promoted to the role of CEO of MakerBot; Frank Alfano is being moved from chief revenue officer to president.  Aric Jennings, chief operations officer for MakerBot, will also transition into the international role of vice president of global manufacturing for Stratasys.  We are excited about these promotions and pleased to continue the positive momentum that Stratasys and MakerBot have experienced and achieved.

Pettis followed a winding path to MakerBot. He previously worked as an assistant on films and as an art teacher, plus a video podcaster for Make Magazine. He co-founded the NYC Resistor hackerspace, where he produced the first MakerBot prototypes with his co-founders. As CEO, he saw the company through its transition from a producer of small batches of open-source, maker-oriented 3D printers to one of the most popular consumer printer producers in the U.S. Stratasys, which is one of the largest 3D printer companies in the world, purchased MakerBot last year but kept its operations separate.

MakerBot is based in New York while Stratasys’ headquarters are split between Minnesota and Israel. It has not yet been announced where Pettis will be based or what form the Innovation Workshop will take.

MakerBot CEO Jenny Lawton. Photo courtesy of MakerBot.

MakerBot CEO Jenny Lawton. Photo courtesy of MakerBot.

Before serving as MakerBot president, Lawton was senior vice president at solar energy company Mercury Solar Systems. She has also been a cafe and bookstore owner and COO of a blood collection instrument company. She holds an applied mathematics degree from Union College. Lawton’s MakerBot biography reads:

Jennifer Lawton has been with MakerBot since 2011 and has been responsible for the overall strategy and growth of the company, including strategic partnerships, product development, and retail.  In addition to her work with MakerBot, she is a respected company builder, technologist, and advocate for fostering entrepreneurship.

In 1991, Lawton co-founded Net Daemons Associates (NDA), an information technology consulting firm. With Lawton as CEO, NDA was recognized on the 1998 Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing privately held U.S. companies, and on the Deloitte and Touche Fast 50 and Fast 500 lists for 1997 and 1998. In 1999, Net Daemons was acquired by Interliant Inc. (formerly Sage Networks), where Lawton served as a senior vice president. She later worked as an entrepreneur-in-residence with Softbank and Mobius Venture Capital.

In 2001, Lawton left the corporate world to become the owner of the independent bookstores Just Books and Just Books, Too, as well as Arcadia Café in Old Greenwich, Conn. After ten years running successful retail ventures, Jenny re-entered the business scene, serving as COO for Rockin’ Water and RAM Scientific, and SVP Operations for Mercury Solar Systems.

She is currently a board member of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.