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 someday. I already have a couple men who I am looking at as apprentices, and I am hoping to start hosting week-long seminars in the future.
I want to teach what I have learned in the 5 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.
Starting 3 years ago, we establish a workshop in the lot next to our home.
This space is used as a base of operations for our ministries to other missionaries. We do all of our prep work here to make sure we can install systems quickly and efficiently. In our time in Haiti, we have been able install 45 solar power systems through the country, as well as many other projects which are a bit harder for me to recall and number.
We have 8 apprentices that are learning from what we know and are growing daily in their skills. At this point, they are able to do work even when I am not personally around, though I still do the design work and inspect what they have done before we finish a job.
In the future, we plan to hold teaching seminars that will be open to the public as well.
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 32 years old, from Johnstown, PA, with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and now with a background of about 6 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, who grew 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.