When Chris Meyer was enveloped by a ball of fire in a construction accident and rushed to a Madison, WI, hospital 14 months ago, his loved ones and friends feared for his life. They also worried about the future of Sector67, the nonprofit collaborative workshop for technology development, product prototyping, and advanced manufacturing he founded in 2010.
“Most of all, we were terrified we might lose him,” says John Neis, a long-time backer and friend of Meyer who is also the executive managing director of Venture Investors, a Madison-based venture capital firm. “He was lucky to be alive.”
The 33-year-old Meyer (pictured above)—who was burned on more than 40 percent of his upper body, including his face—was hospitalized for more than a month. He received grafts of skin taken from his legs, as well as an experimental lab-made skin tissue called StrataGraft that was produced by Stratatech, a Madison company owned by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals that’s conducting clinical trials on its product.
The outpouring from the entrepreneurial community and others in support of Meyer and Sector67 was massive. During Meyer’s recovery, Sector67 board member Scott Hasse—a partner with Flexion, a Sun Prairie, WI-based software development and IT services firm—dove in and assumed Meyer’s duties at the “maker space,” which has served as a hub for local artists, technologists, and hobbyists to connect, learn, and work on projects. Meyer’s accident occurred while he was helping renovate the former Sears catalog warehouse at 56 Corry St. in northeast Madison, which Sector67 bought because it was outgrowing its then-home and needed a new space. Contractors donated their time to the renovation project, and more than $125,000 was raised to help pay Meyer’s medical expenses and keep the renovation effort close to its original schedule. Read the full story here.