What is F1 Engineering?
F1 Engineering is simply my attempt to fulfill the calling God has put in my heart.
When God called me to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, I though it was for disaster relief. Somewhere in my mind, I still want to be a first responder-type guy who rushes to the scene of the disaster and tried to help put the pieces back together.However, God opened my eyes to something completely different. He has shown me a beautiful country, with a hard working and intelligent local population, and a plethora of compassionate brothers and sisters here trying to serve. Realistically, I see a country with enormous potential, but one of it’s biggest failures is in technical education.
As I came to Haiti, God opened my eyes to the need for my technical background. So, now my mission is summed up with thoughts that are an echo of Nate Saint’s sentiment. As he was starting Missions Aviation Fellowship, he was envisioning it as a means to enable missionaries to do their work better.
For missionaries in Haiti, I aim to take the technical burden off the hands of those who are called to be other things, such as evangelists, pastors, child-care workers, educators, community developers, and the like.
For locals in the short term, I aim to provide a service of providing high quality electrical work, and showing that better standards exist.
For locals in the long term, I aim to teach others to the point that I am expendable. All that I do should be things that locals can learn and take over for me. I already have a couple men who I am looking at as apprentices, and I am hoping to start hosting week-long seminars soon.
I want to teach what I have learned in the 3 years I have been in Haiti.
-Solar Power Systems
-How to Tie to a low quality power grid and protect your house
-A basic electrical code (none currently exist here)
-Construction basics that are commonly done wrong
And, I want to invest in the lives of the people I am working with.
I am trying to be a positive influence on the lives of the Haitians I work with, pointing them to a deeper relationship with Christ, and a fuller dependence on Him.
What does this look like right now?
My wife and I live in Jacmel, and will be readying a vacant lot to establish a community workshop in the coming months. This will be a place for locals to come and use tools and learn how to do more work themselves. I believe this will help people to get jobs, or at least do more of their own household tasks. In turn, we get a chance to build relationship with our community, help them create an income, and empower them to provide for themselves better.
For many workers, they may have knowledge, but a lack of tools or a space to work. We can provide that, and teach them as they come to our places as well.
Then, we will do the teaching seminars and increase their knowledge even more.
I’m also developing the idea of training apprentices to provide maintenance for inverter systems throughout the country. While it is not a lot of work, most systems do require some basic routine maintenance, and this could provide a good way to improve the performance of systems around the country while providing a few more jobs.
Who am I?
My name is Travis Knipple. I am 28 years old, from Johnstown, PA, with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and now with a background of about 3 years in Haiti. Mostly I’ve learned “on the job” about contruction and solar power systems, and how they work in Haiti.
My wife, Jamie, is a Finnish-African, growing up in an amazing lineage of Finnish missionaries to East Africa. She is an amazing photographer, and has a wonderful heart for God. She is my help-mate, and will continue to serve as God prompts her here in Haiti as well.