Meyer has played a key role in maker culture and science outreach in Madison.
On September 20, in the midst of another long day working to renovate makerspace Sector67‘s new space on the east side, founder and executive director Chris Meyer was injured in a propane explosion. Meyer has been hospitalized in the week since the accident—he’s in stable condition but is expected to remain in the burn unit at UW Hospital for at least a month, and take several months following that to recover.
If you’ve ever attended any event in Madison that had 3D printing, pouring of molten metal, an interactive robot exhibit, or anything else you might find at MakerFaire, it’s likely that you’ve seen Meyer. Sector67 was founded by a $7,000 prize awarded to Meyer when he won the Burrill Business Plan Competition while he was still a student the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Always clad in a black T-shirt with the Sector67 logo, he’s a permanent fixture of the makerspace’s outreach and community engagement efforts, constantly popping in for STEM events on the UW-Madison engineering campus and never missing an opportunity to hook young creative minds on building things.
Meyer’s injury is especially painful given the timing. Sector67 has ambitious plans for its new space, including raising the roof of an industrial metal building to double the available space, adding windows and winterizing the space before it gets cold outside, and ultimately making the sparse building into a permanent home for the maker group, its members and community programming before their lease term is up on the current space on Winnebago Street. Given that Meyer was spearheading those efforts in long 18-hour days, his recovery could make completing the move to the new space an especially enormous challenge.
The community has already rallied around Meyer and the rest of the Sector67 crew. A GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to assist in Meyer’s recovery and to pay for more hands to help complete the project blew through its $50,000 goal in three days. But the group is still calling for aid cooking meals for Meyer and his partner, as well for physical labor working to complete the space. They’re also asking for folks to share personal stories of the impact Meyer and Sector67 have made on them via Facebook.
And, of course, every dollar beyond the goal still helps as well. We wish him a speedy recovery, and hope he can rest easier in knowing that the community he’s nurtured for so long seems willing to pick up the slack while he gets well.