Is Mesa the perfect new home for Heatsync Labs?

Science, Technology

Heatsync Labs, the nonprofit tech innovation “hackerspace” at Chandler’s Gangplank, has outgrown its current home and is looking for a new one. At least part of that search is using Mesa’s new social networking iMesa initiative to feel out a possible move to that city’s downtown area.

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith recently launched the program, aiming to transform the city by embracing the latest in technology and social networking to harvest the best ideas of residents. The goal is to define a vision long before bodies are assembled in one place to take formal action. Participants in the online program get votes they can cast for or against ideas — it kind of feels like the social bookmarking sites Digg and Reddit.

As of this writing, the “Heatsync Labs Location Search Committee” had 100 votes in favor of is proposal to move to downtown Mesa — far outstripping other ideas like fixing roads, taking down “the ghetto” and luring a theme park like Six Flags or LEGOLAND. Here are some of the comments:

I’m very much in favor of the proposal to have Heatsync Labs relocate to downtown Mesa. The areas of technology they are involved with include solar energy, near-space exploration, advanced fabrication techniques including 3D printing and laser cutting, micro controller-based robotics, and many other similar technologically-oriented areas.

They are also involved in community outreach, including technology education for both children and adults. They provide an encouraging incubator for inventors and innovation.

This would be a significant asset to Mesa!

This is a fantastic suggestion! Heatsync does a lot of amazing things, and provides a core nucleus of technical expertise that welcomes any and all visitors. They are very community oriented, and could really be the genesis of some interesting technology oriented enterprises here in Mesa. It would be a real boon to downtown Mesa to have Heatsync relocate there.

Excellent Idea! We missed an initial opportunity to have Gangplank start up in Downtown Mesa two years ago. This is the kind of business that would actually encourage people to begin to Live/Work downtown.

I’ve been working with Heatsync for over a year now. An interesting thing about Heatsync is how varied they are. Before coming to Gangplank they were made up of folks coming out of ASU, UAT, Devry, the PHX2600 group, etc.

Gangplank has a software environment, so right now Heatsync is filling a nitch with the hardware side. Independent of that Heatsync is much more than physical hardware. For almost any technology project there are hardware, software, and design components that really need to live together. Mesa needs all of those in a tech incubation space, but I have no doubt Heatsync could fill out all those needs. Even if Mesa opens a space and makes Heatsync the first tenant you’ll find that all those elements quickly congregate there.

I think a technology incubation space is a perfect fit for Mesa. There are many organizations in Mesa that could have some synergy with this, EVIT, ASU Poly, MCC, and even MAC.

I know a focus of this imesa isn’t just about funding but the City should recognize the significant number of votes this idea is getting and be aware of that when/if a matter like this comes up for zoning, permitting, licensing, etc. Be friendly to the idea and concept. An incubator in and of itself isn’t the end it’s what has the potential to come out of it, and could continue to come out of it for years to come.

Heatsync has formed a committee to explore all of its options, of course — from staying in Chandler to moving to Mesa, downtown Phoenix or Tempe. Wherever you stand, reach out and get your community involved — it’s probably the only way you’ll ever be able to say you brought a massive laser cutter to your town.

Laser at Heatsync via Flickr user .dh

Heatsync Labs laser photo by Flickr user .dh

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