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Startup office offers unusual classes for kids

A group awaits the beginning of Gangplank, Jr. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- A Valley building is the place where people can launch their own startup business.

In a storefront office along Arizona Avenue in Chandler sits Gangplank, where 13 businesses owners have set up shop.

"The anchors are a group of businesses that all work here and have their offices out of Gangplank," said Selena Larson of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership.

"It's also a free place for the community to come and work. You have free Wi-Fi. You have mentors here that can educate you on everything from writing to marketing to web design and more."

Several times a year, the office hosts Gangplank, Jr., where kids can learn science, art or unusual things, like tattooing.

"We really try to get a wide variety of instructors from science, mathematics, arts, engineering," said Larson. "Any instructor that feels that they can give something back to these kids and make it basic enough for the students to learn."

The next Gangplank, Jr. begins Saturday.

"Our next class is going to be stand-up comedy and improv comedy taught by the Torch Theater," Larson said. "In October, we're having the Hamilton High School Robotics club come out. They're doing a LEGO Robotics build here."

About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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