RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Hangar6, a program of the First Flight Venture Center, has a new director, the organization announced this week.

Hangar6 offers advanced prototyping resources to entrepreneurs and those who seek to access the ability to design and produce prototypes.

The program’s new director will be Mark Roberson, Ph.D., who is a “long-time” resident of First Flight Venture Center, according to a statement sent by the organization.

Mark Roberson, Ph.D

“I am so pleased that Dr. Roberson has agreed to join the First Flight and Hangar6 team,” said Krista Covey, the president of First Flight Venture Center in a statement.  “Mark will bring his vast knowledge of entrepreneurship, prototyping, technology development, grant-writing, and the business development process to Hangar6.

Roberson earned a bachelor’s of science in physics from Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University.  He founded Goldfinch Sensor Technologies and Analytics in 2015.  The company develops and deploys “next generation sensors and analytics, using electromagnetic, optical, and geophysical sensors for persistent surveillance and monitoring,” according to the statement.

“With over 50 patents and numerous grant proposals under his belt during his career, Mark is the perfect person to take Hangar6 into its next stage of development,” said Covey.

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Rapid prototyping

Hangar6 provides entrepreneurs an opportunity to take a concept from inception to product development.  The program offers advanced equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters, and provides a more affordable option for entrepreneurs who would benefit from advanced technology.

The facility and the program were set to launch in September 2017 but experienced construction delays, ultimately opening in February 2018.

The program received a two-year commitment of $2.6 million through a federal government grant in 2020 enabling the organization to add equipment.

“We will purchase more equipment, upgrade equipment and hire more individuals with design experience to help entrepreneurs,” said Covey in an interview at the time the funding was announced.

According to Roberson, the program will enter a new phase and will seek to partner with companies as they develop grant submissions.

‘The goal is to move these companies to commercial success faster,” said Roberson in a statement.  “I look forward to playing a role in the continued growth and expansion of Hangar6.’”

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