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Gangplank office space moving to ASU Cronkite School

(Photo: Taylor Summers/KTAR)

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications will be home to a new kind of office space that has already found success in Chandler and Avondale.

It's called Gangplank, and it is a place where small start-up businesses can operate.

"No one pays rent here," said Katie Hurst, director of operations for Gangplank. "We see a paying structure or fee structure as a barrier to entry. Our space is driven more by social capital, not monetary capital."

According to Hurst, the city of Chandler pays rent and utilities for its location while Avondale provided a building to use.

The small businesses, or anchors, "pay" for their space in different ways. That could be something as simple as paying for all the printer paper to making sure there is toilet paper in the bathrooms.

"In a lot of cases it's large things, like heading our initiatives, organizing workshops, running events, or teaching other people in our space a new skill," said Hurst.

The ultimate goal is that small start-ups get a chance to work with other people going through the same problems, then finding ways to help each other. Since everyone comes in with a different set of skills, everyone has something new to offer.

"I didn't know anything about Facebook ads, and how to run Facebook ads," said Chris Piccirillo, who runs his start-up, Bonanza Educational, out of the Chandler Gangplank. "The company behind me runs Facebook ads, so one day they took two hours to show me how to do it."

The new space at the Cronkite school will operate on the second floor. It will only be around for the summer, but Hurst said Gangplank will be able to see how possible it would be to create a permanent location near the ASU downtown campus.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started here in December 2011. I'm definitely the new kid.

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado.

Education: I got my undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. I then went to graduate school at Arizona State University.

Family: I have been married to my wonderful wife, Jamie, since June 2010. We don't have any kids, but we do have a cat that causes as much trouble as a kid.

Favorite food: Chocolate chip cookies and cucumbers. In fact, every day I have a couple of cucumbers in my work bag chopped up and ready for snacking. I eat the cookies to offset being too healthy.

Favorite spot in Arizona: Sedona, hands down. I actually went there for my honeymoon.

Favorite news memory: I worked on a 3-month project involving the problems with Type II Diabetes along the U.S.-Mexico Border. It's a problem that a lot of people don't about. I met and worked with people down there that changed my life.

Favorite movie: It's hard to pin down just one, but one that always keeps replaying in my head is The Princess Bride.

Favorite TV Show: That 70's Show and The Simpsons. I could probably name some others, but I watch those two as often as possible.

First job: I was a busboy for an Old Chicago back home in Boulder. I worked all through high school at that place, and loved it.

Favorite band: I have a lot of music I listen to, but I love the Foo Fighters and Rise Against. 3 Doors Down is another group that's a favorite on my iPod.

Favorite sports team: The San Francisco 49ers by far! I get a lot of guff for cheering for them in Arizona, but I love every moment of it. As far as college sports go, I'm always following the BYU Cougars.

Outside interests: My wife and I love going outdoors, whether it's camping or hiking. Personally, I love mountain biking. I also play a little guitar when I have a bit of free time.


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