Below is the text from a press release that went out this morning:
‘Gangplank Utah’ Creates Gathering Place for Individuals, Ideas and Innovation
• Employees of Sorenson Media and TechTITANS Student Innovation Society Based at the University of Utah Promote Collaborative Community Concept Begun in Phoenix, Ariz.
• Freelancers, Industry Pros, Small-Business Owners, Students to Meet in Informal, Unofficial Setting, Learn What Others Are Working On, Share Possibilities
• Weekly Evening Meetings Begin Wed., Sept. 23, at Utah Entrepreneur Center
SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 21, 2009)—A group of Utahns has organized an independent, statewide idea and technology environment open to everyone who wants to expand their circle of relationships and knowledge by collaborating, creating and innovating. Based on the successful Gangplank organization started in Phoenix, Ariz. in 2008, Gangplank Utah (gangplankut.org) brings together individuals, micro-business owners, industry veterans, university students and others in an informal setting to share ideas in an open, collaborative community.
“Gangplank embodies a very powerful idea,” said organizer Mike Flathers, chief technology officer of Sorenson Media, a Salt Lake video encoding, publishing and delivery business. “I’ve worked closely with the group in Phoenix for a long time and am constantly impressed by what they have accomplished. I’ve always felt that creativity is fostered by individuals gathering in a low-key situation and sharing in an open atmosphere. Already, Gangplank in Phoenix has sparked several successful partnerships. The student-industry connection is one of the most exciting aspects of Gangplank Utah. It adds a new aspect to what they have done in Phoenix.”
Interested individuals will gather every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 23 at the Gangplank Utah facility located in the Lassonde Entrepreneur Center, 85 Fort Douglas Blvd., on the University of Utah campus. Meetings include live video feeds between the Salt Lake and Phoenix groups. Person-to-person interaction and brainstorming will bring new ideas to light, said organizers, and the space has Internet access and workstations.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity for students from around the state to rub shoulders with industry veterans and successful businesspeople in a casual environment,” said organizer Shirlayne Quayle, director of the University of Utah’s Sorenson Innovation Center, home of the TechTITANS Student Innovation Society. “When imaginative students interact with resourceful entrepreneurs there’s always economic development potential, but that is not what is most important. Gangplank in Phoenix has a lot of momentum because they are doing the right thing for the right reasons—it’s more about giving than taking. The University of Utah is providing neutral ground to create a community of individuals with many different talents in which collaboration beats out competition.”
Gangplank Utah is different from user groups and technology councils because it is committed to supporting individuals rather than companies, said Flathers. It does have backing from local business, but is independent and not driven by any company agenda. “We want to break down walls. At Gangplank, each individual is both a mentor and a student, and no one has a lock on good ideas.”
For more information about Gangplank Utah, visit: http://gangplankut.org/
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University of Utah
Sorenson Media Public Relations