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Week of January 17, 2011

Staff spotlight

Biking, information 
sharing move 
education specialist

Pieter Kleymeer’s interest in bikes started when he was growing up in Petoskey, a small northern town on Lake Michigan. “There wasn’t much to do in town and your world just expands when you have a bike,” he says.

Today, the education manager at Open.Michigan — a U-M initiative that enables faculty, students and others to share their educational resources and research with the global learning community — has maintained his interest in bikes while pursuing career goals.

Photo by Scott Galvin, U-M Photo Services

Even in Ann Arbor’s chilly winter winds, Kleymeer bikes everywhere. “I share a car with my wife, but I prefer biking,” he says. He advocates for people to have the necessary knowledge and skills related to bike maintenance. “I think many times people give up on biking when they have a flat tire or something that requires work,” Kleymeer says. “With the right information and tools, biking can be really easy.”

In 2003 Kleymeer graduated from U-M with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. He took a job working on telecommunications policy at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. But after two-and-a-half years in that position, “I just got up and left for Seattle without a job prospect,” he says. Kleymeer was hired at a bike shop, where he learned how to “put together bikes from individual parts.”

But, “home is home” says Kleymeer, who returned to Michigan and U-M about a year later, to attend graduate school at the School of Information. He earned a master’s degree in 2007 and soon joined the Open.Michigan team.

The Open.Michigan concept came about in early 2008 to promote the sharing of scholarly work like research, data and educational course material for everyone in the community. “Information is intertwined with technology, community and people,” Kleymeer says. One of the goals of Open.Michigan is to enable the community to have information, make more informed decisions and improve the quality of life, he says.

“There is a misconception that knowledge is something scarce and we would like to change that culture,” Kleymeer says. “We view openness as highly valuable.” A typical day in his job could consist of doing different communications or outreach-based tasks. “We help faculty, students and staff maximize the impact of their creative and academic work by helping them license and format their products for online publication and distribution,” he says.

Kleymeer communicates with other institutions and organizations involved in the open information movement, from MIT to Creative Commons. “I’m continually surveying the trends and innovations in the knowledge sharing and dissemination space,” he says. Kleymeer manages projects ranging from launching a publishing platform on Drupal to building a repository of Ojibwe language and culture resources on the Open.Michigan website, “Day-to-day is a bit eclectic since we’re a small team, but that’s what keeps it fun and interesting,” he says.

Outside of work, Kleymeer and a group of friends promote their bike collective Common Cycle, The group has organized several successful bike repair stands in the city and has worked on more than 500 bikes.

“We want to empower the people of Ann Arbor who ride bikes with workspace, tools and education,” he says.

The weekly Spotlight features staff members at the university. To nominate a candidate, please contact the Record staff at



Meet Pieter Kleymeer, education manager, Open.Michigan, on owning a bike as a child: “Your world just expands when you have a bike.”


Ish Klein (above) and John Beer perform readings at 5:10 p.m. Jan. 20, U-M Museum of Art, Helmut Stern Auditorium.

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