"We had a great time," he said.
That was Thursday.
In the mid-1960s, when Dilks was the second employee hired at the science center, it was an entirely different story.
"We were at the very edge of bankruptcy," said Dilks, who went from being an all-everything administrator to head of operations as the complex grew in stature and physically expanded. "I had many sleepless nights."
Lauded as the nation's first urban research park, the
Its QED program provides a way for professors to test their ideas for commercial viability. Its Quorum serves as a gathering place for entrepreneurs, investors, and advisers.
The center grew from one building to 15, with one underway and another on the drawing board, on an eight-acre campus that lines
The rents fund the center's core mission, housed in about 50,000 square feet: the incubation and development of job-generating companies, explained
"It was a deteriorating area . . . with a variety of low-rise buildings, mostly bars," said Dilks, recalling 1963.
The presidents of
By the time the center opened, "all the [prospective tenants] had moved out of the city," Dilks said.
Besides that, neighbors were convinced, Dilks said, that this would be urban renewal, and they were going to be booted from their homes.
Eventually the center landed one tenant for 90 percent of
But that crisis gave rise to the science center's current philosophy.
"We had to grow our own companies," Dilks said.
"There's no other place like this around," said
He and his partner,
In 2006, the partners developed a quick and cheap way to test foods for E. coli and other bacteria. In 2007, they moved into the center and are now about to graduate from their incubator-priced lab space to commercial quarters within the complex, tripling their square footage to 7,500 and doubling their current 18-employee staff.
In 2014, Pascal said, revenue, now "several hundred thousand," will top
The center places a high premium on coincidental connections, and those served Pascal and Siciliano. They met two investors at a networking event hosted at the center.
One of the
Because the science center wrote a letter of support saying that
"I believe that
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