Michael Zick Doherty is an engineer and social activist interested in intersections between community, environment and technology. While studying at UCLA he served as Build Day Coordinator for the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity and had the opportunity to build homes in Capetown, South Africa while in the Semester at Sea program. After graduating from UCLA’s Design | Media Arts program, he moved to New York where he was a designer and software developer for the Terra Natale project with Diller Scofidio and Renfro. He then went on to do his masters at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. While at NYU he interned with Windowfarms, which included helping manage the online global community and installing hydroponic systems in locations around the world. Michael also worked in NYU’s Office of Sustainability designing and developing web applications for coordinating on campus sustainability programs. He also served on multiple committees, including food and waste where he helped spearhead the student composting initiative. With a team of ITP students he prototyped an API for energy monitoring that won honorable mention at the 2010 Techcruch Disrupt hackathon. For his thesis he developed OpenRTMS, an open source mobile sensing platform for health and the environment that was showcased at 2011 Personal Democracy Forum.
After graduating, he took a position at Havas Worldwide to launch it’s emerging technologies lab. At the lab he developed technologies that range from digital fabrication to wireless communications. After working with the lab for a 1.5 years, he decided to devote his full attention to developing his hydroponics automation company, Bitponics. Michael also is an instructor at 3rd Ward and has taught hardware, software, and hydroponics engineering for the past 4 years. He also co-managed 3rd Ward’s farm plot at the Dekalb Market. Other urban agriculture projects Michael has been involved with include the Brooklyn Grange and Hayseed’s Big City Farm Supply. He participates in alternative forms of economics as technology chair at the Bushwick Food Coop and through consulting at Sure We Can, a 501(c)(3) recycling center and urban farm in East Williamsburg that is currently transitioning to a member run cooperative.