IT STARTED WITH ONE
For over twenty-five years, Steve and Sheila Conner have been helping people find knowledge and pathways to work through technology, science, and engineering. It all started with one eleven-year-old kid drawing in chalk on a sidewalk in Queens, NY. The work was stunning.
Steve was on his way home from work. Steve asked the youngster if he had ever thought about using computers to create things. He looked at Steve sideways. “I like chalk. I like to paint. I don’t like computers.”
That kid, Bert Cambridge, became Steve’s mentee from then on. Steve worked with Bert through high school and college. Then one day, Steve tricked Bert into putting his music into editing software. Within eighteen months, Bert edited all of Steve and Sheila’s commercials and films at their production company. These commercials included ads for McDonald’s, Coke, Pantene, L’Oreal, Burger King, and the famed Budweiser Whassup commercials.
Steve recruited Bert’s friends, Eric, Malik, and Rob, within two years. Steve tasked them with building an editing and visual FX suite from scratch. They made computers and augmented programs to meet Steve’s needs as a director.
Remember those huge Bally Total Fitness commercials from the late ’90s? They were written, produced, and directed by Steve and Sheila, but a group of 19-year-olds from Queens did all the editing and visual FX effects! It was the ultimate work-study!
Twenty-five years later, Bert is an Emmy award-winning film editor. Yet, he still pulls out the chalk from time to time.
Bert was the first of over 5,000 interns and mentees who Steve had the joy of inspiring with STEM.
THE CALL TO ACTION
In 2014, Steve and Sheila realized that the nation’s learners were in trouble with STEM. They saw students who had “tuned out” of learning about math and science everywhere they looked. Finally, they knew what they had to do.
The HEPH FOUNDATION and INCREDICAMP just put names on a life-long mission of helping people find their meaning and role in the future of work.
THE HEPH FOUNDATION
The name HEPH is short for HEPHAESTUS, the Greek god that made tools for the gods.
The HEPH FOUNDATION is an educational foundation whose mission is to help learners find STEM-related pathways for success in school and the future workforce. Our focus is on the learner. We use mindfulness, teamwork, creativity, real-world problem-solving, and entrepreneurship to create an active learning experience that fully engages students in learning STEM. We also engage the learner’s parents, community, school, and subject matter experts to surround the learner with support.
HOW TO QUANTUM LEAP INTO THE FUTURE
The HEPH Foundation was founded in 2014 by Steve Conner, who decided to scale how he was helping disenfranchised students defeat their fears about STEM-related study. To catch up with the rest of the world, Steve felt that American students needed access to tools and new ways of learning that stood on the shoulders of current educational practices.
The HEPH FOUNDATION’s philosophy comes from Steve and Sheila Conner’s twenty-five years of successful internships/mentorships, five years of curriculum research, and personalized STEAM training for their son Stone. Steve likes to say, “Stone’s training started at zero and is in its 19th year!” Stone is currently attending San Diego State University. He is studying Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science. Stone has also started his own business – Tachus – an after-market parts business for exotic cars. Stone works with his mentor building race cars from a late model 911 Porsche during the summer months.
The family motto is, “Let’s build it in the basement! ”