The University of Central Arkansas Makerspace Powered by the Conductor opened its doors for an official launch Tuesday.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, UCA President Houston Davis, city and university leaders and other officials were present for the ceremony and spoke on the important significance the new space brings to UCA and community.
Chief Catalyst Jeff Standridge said the Conductor is an initiative partnership between UCA and Startup Junkie Consulting that focus on four major activities including innovation, entrepreneurship, talent and development and economic empowerment and through a variety of programs and workshops, coach, consult and mentor inventors, creators and entrepreneurs.
He said in the past couple months they have come in contact with more than 1,300 from the previous groups as well as had interactions with more than 250 college students, created a mentor network, held more than 300 one-on-one consulting meetings and hosted around 100 plus kids on campus.
“We’re very proud of what’s occurring in this space and we do think that what we’re doing here at UCA really is propelling the state of Arkansas forward,” President Davis said.
Kim Lane, the chief operating officer at the Conductor, said the new Makerspace and the ability to use the tools that are offered is free to not only students and the UCA community but the public as well, a “game changer.”
“We’re super excited about the implications this has, the opportunities this creates for central Arkansas and the impact this is going to have on our community,” she said.
The ultimate design of the new space, Lane said, is to bring everyone together in a collaborate, hands-on area to prepare a new generation of people to enter the workforce — one that is being changed by innovation and technology — and learn innovatively.
“We’re really excited about people from different disciplines, different backgrounds, different majors coming together in a shared work space to work alongside each other, solve problems together and create things together,” she said.
The UCA Makerspace has six stations, 3D printers, a laser cutter, CNC machines, routers and other digital tools.
Lane said the best way to sign-up for the events and learn about the new program is to visit arconductor.org
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the opening was an exciting day for UCA and the campus but also for Arkansas and the continued emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation and providing the tools to make that happen.
“I’m excited about Conway and their history in technology but what they’re doing in technology companies in [spaces] like this that can literally bring ideas into reality,” he said. “This gives us the space to accomplish and to build the technology community that is so needed in this state.”