Congressional Visit to The Gate: Bay Area Advanced Manufacturing Hub is Launched
On May 31st, San Leandro’s 105th anniversary of the Cherry Festival hosted a new event: Make San Leandro. This all-volunteer event, produced by Ten Ton Consulting (Tim Holmes and Mitch Huitema, founders and former owners of Zocalo Coffee House), featured San Leandro and regional artists, makers, bio-hackers, and entrepreneurs from The Gate.
Make San Leandro was honored by a lengthy visit from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and her staff. She was particularly intrigued with demonstrations from Type A Machines and the vision created of America’s return to manufacturing, this time through the power of fiber optics and 3D printing technologies. At the conclusion of her visit, Congresswoman Lee told us about Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer’s initiative called “Make it in America“, a comprehensive plan to create the conditions necessary for businesses to manufacture goods, innovate and create jobs. She promised to work with us to bring Congressman Hoyer to San Leandro to see for himself a City that is creating prosperity and jobs by returning to its manufacturing roots.
On October 9th, Congresswoman Lee fulfilled that promise! Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) joined Congresswoman Lee, Mayor Stephen Cassidy and Dr. Patrick Kennedy, for a tour of The Gate, an 18-acre, 700,000 sf former Chrysler Dodge auto manufacturing plant, now a center for innovation that brings together artists, techies, manufacturers and entrepreneurs of every type. The tour included Type A Machines, The Hive Art Collective (a group of 80 artists largely associated with Burning Man), and PhaseSpace, founded by long-time San Leandro innovator Tracy McSheery . The visit ended at the site of The Cupola, an 8,000 sf open area under a skylight that will become a space for the tenants to collaborate, build art, host events — becoming The Gate’s Town Square.
Mayor Cassidy’s remarks at the press conference reminded all of us that San Leandro’s industrial districts used to be a center of economic prosperity. Commitments by the City Council to “transform San Leandro into a center for innovation” led to the creation of Lit San Leandro and the infrastructure needed to create an advanced manufacturing economy. Both Congresswoman Lee and Congressman Hoyer remarked that San Leandro was clearly leading the way in modeling how to bring manufacturing — and jobs for a strong middle class — back to America.
Their visit coincided with the launch of the Bay Area Advanced Manufacturing hub (BAAM), the world’s largest collective of 3D printing technology companies under one roof. “By joining forces, BAAM’s 12 member companies “make it faster, cheaper, and easier to produce goods here in America than overseas,” said Espen Sivertsen, Type A Machines’ CEO. “BAAM is dedicated to developing new manufacturing jobs in the United States as well as new manufacturing technologies.”
“It was my pleasure to show Whip Hoyer how the East Bay is leading the way in innovation and advanced manufacturing,” Congresswoman Lee said. “American manufacturing is growing in the East Bay and across the country. The GATE and other East Bay manufacturers are proof that when companies Make It In America, working families Make It In America thanks to good-paying manufacturing jobs. In Washington, I will continue to push Congress to pass the Make It In America plan so there are more American manufacturers and more good-paying American manufacturing jobs.”
Hoyer issued a statement after the tour calling Lee “a leader in promoting the Make It In America plan for jobs and competitiveness, and I look forward to continuing to work with her and other House Democrats to invest in innovation, education, and infrastructure so American manufacturing businesses can succeed and hire more workers.”
All of us at the City of San Leandro are grateful to the entire team at The Gate that made this visit possible — the entrepreneurs, the artists, the janitors who paid special attention to cleaning the raw Cupola space — and especially to Cheryl Edison, Community Curator and David Holley, Leasing Manager, who said “YES!” to organizing this visit — and then made it happen. Also, a special shout out to City IT staffer, Scott Gilliland, who said “YES” to my request that he figure out how to print out 12 huge posters of the former Dodge Chrysler assembly plant and workers to line the walls of the huge Cupola space. It took a community to pull of this event — THANK YOU EVERYONE!