The beer barrels are gone, and now a think tank has moved into the walk-out basement of a circa-1894 building that formerly housed the Northern Brewery. The Forge, a new collaborative workspace open for user groups, events, and other mind-sharing purposes, has opened at 1327 Jones Drive in Ann Arbor, also home to Tech Brewery
The Forge is also the first office space for Pillar Technology
, a Brighton, Mich.-based tech consultancy that employs 45 in Michigan, 45 in Ohio, and another 30-40 in six states around the U.S., according to Pillar Technology CEO Bob Myers.
"We have more work than we have people, so we could probably add anywhere from 20-30 people if we could find the talent," Myers says, adding, "So there'll be a lot of training and instruction and community events where we're helping people to learn how to do IT and put them to work."
The roughly 4,000 square-foot space can field about 30-40 workers. The company renovated the interior from scratch, installing windows, a stairwell, a kitchen area, enclosing the walls, and furnishing it with big screen TVs and collaborative-style furniture made by Steelcase.
There is no charge to use the facility, "but there's gotta be a purpose. You've gotta be in here trying to accomplish something to advance the cause ... that's what the only requirement is," Myers says.
The cause being? "The cause is innovation and bringing innovation to the area, creating jobs, helping people to figure out what constraints are real and which ones are perceived, and breaking those off. Innovation and incubation, really a place to go where you can learn and fail and it's okay. Just to really better yourself."
Source: Bob Myers, CEO, Pillar Technology
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar