The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub has hired Joel Gordon from the Museum of Discovery to lead The Launch Pad, its planned maker space.
The Launch Pad will take up about 6,000-SF inside the Argenta Innovation Center and is expected to, well, launch, next spring. More from the Hub below:
Joel Gordon to lead The Launch Pad
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub has hired Joel Gordon to be director of The Launch Pad, Innovation Hub executive director Warwick Sabin announced today. The hire marks a significant step forward in the development of the Innovation Hub’s effort to increase innovative and entrepreneurial activity in Arkansas.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring in someone of Joel’s caliber to put his creative energies behind the creation and development of The Launch Pad,” Sabin says. “The Launch Pad will be an anchor for the Innovation Hub’s Argenta Innovation Center. It will appeal to young people as well as to adults, whether they are interested in education, tinkering, or turning their ideas into profitable inventions. Local businesses and corporations will find it a great place for teams of employees to work on projects or wrestle through specific problems.”
Gordon comes to The Launch Pad from Little Rock’s Museum of Discovery, where he worked from 2006 until this fall as director of exhibits and facilities and then as director of visitor experience. He says this new position fulfills a longtime goal and vision.
“Our goal at The Launch Pad is to create a space where education, exploration, new techniques and practiced skills can come together in an open and shared environment,” Gordon said.
The Launch Pad will be a STEAM-focused maker space, which means that it will incorporate science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics elements. Specific areas of The Launch Pad include computer technology, electronics, carpentry, machining and metal workspaces.
“Using the tools of today, Launch Pad members and guests will have the opportunity to conceive, design and create the wonders of tomorrow,” Gordon said. “Young people will be introduced to new skills and techniques and experienced adults will have access to modern manufacturing tools.”
The Launch Pad joins a growing maker’s movement around the country, which started gaining momentum in the last five years. In addition to well-attended Maker Faires – events that celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the do-it-yourself mindset – cities across the United States boast local maker spaces, places similar to The Launch Pad where likeminded people gather to network, build, work on projects and share resources and knowledge.
Sabin said The Launch Pad will occupy over 6,000 square feet in the Innovation Hub’s Argenta Innovation Center and is expected to open in Spring 2014.
Learn more about The Launch Pad and the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub at www.arhub.org.
Here’s coverage from Arkansas Business on the launching of the Hub itself: