By Taylor Westerman
In the midtown area of the ‘Biggest Little City’ sits the University of Nevada, Reno’s Innevation Center. Today I’m excited to take you on a tour of our Reno office and perhaps in doing so will have you asking, “where can I sign up?”
Four months ago I moved to Reno and joined Iris, and I had no idea what I was walking into. From the outside, the UNR Innevation Center is an unappealing run-of-the-mill office space surrounded by businesses and a law office. Something you might expect a standard no-frills company to operate out of. Well, think again.
From the moment you walk into the Innevation Center you are greeted with colorful and inspiring wallpaper, the friendliest staff (mostly students) you could imagine and…endless opportunities. You may say, why endless opportunities? Well, just stay with me as we go on a tour of this incredible facility.
As you enter the building, to the left is the front desk and a very large meeting space, and as you wrap around the left side of the floor you stumble upon a copy room, a podcast room, and another meeting space. This floor is for all members and students to use, one of its many perks.
Now, let’s move on to the second floor, a collaborative work space with a combination of unassigned desks and assigned company work space– it used to be home to Iris. When the Reno office opened in 2017, we occupied just two desks, but we’ve expanded quickly.
The third floor hosts the greatest company in the Innevation Center, and I might be a little biased, but I will let you decide– Iris Automation! As you enter the secure door, our promotional banner lets you know that Iris Automation will unlock your drones! That one little word ‘drone,’ seems to stop everyone passing through in their tracks.
Upon entering the Iris office you are greeted with the organized chaos of our Flight Operations team’s work space. Here they work daily on building and repairing Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs) as well as integrating Iris’ hardware into the UAVs. This area is also shared with the greatest invention for open work spaces– our phone booth! I honestly don’t think it can go an hour without being used; does that say we have too many meetings or is it just a great place to getaway during the day?
As we snake around the office you are next greeted by, well, me! Being in the middle of our work space allows me to be easily accessible to our whole Reno team and it works out quite well. Continuing around the corner is our storage area. Right now it is very well organized (I love organizing), with little in it, but I know it is just a matter of time before that all changes. The larger the company grows the more space we will need and I think it’ll be great when completing a total reorganization overhaul takes more than 20 minutes, that means we are bigger and better!
As we continue out of the storage space and into the production area (known internally as the forbidden work space) we see all of the details that go into packaging our hardware.
As we continue, we make our way through the vegetable and succulent garden (planted as group during a Friday evening ‘Afterhours social’) to get to the Engineering and Flight Operations desks. The first employees in the Reno office were Flight Operations and made up the majority of the office until just the beginning of this year.
Now we follow the plants as they lead to my favorite part about our office…our social space! This was my first major accomplishment in the office and I really enjoy the way it has been received and how often we use it. Here we play games, mostly Smash Bros on the Nintendo Switch, and conduct our Afterhours socials and team lunches. If you feel like working in this space, which I often do, or you just need to take a breather from your desk, you can sit in the incredibly comfortable bean bag chairs or couch we were outfitted with by our Chief Pilot, Ryan McMaster. Although we share this floor with 3 other companies, there is one thing we don’t share – our snacks! This area is dedicated to providing our employees tasty, sometimes healthy, but always substantial snacks.
Next our tour takes us to our final location, my favorite part about the Innevation Center– the basement, aka the Makerspace. This floor is full of nearly every gizmo, gadget and thingamabob you could imagine and is available to students and members nearly all free of charge, including laser cutters and 3D printers!
If gizmo, gadgets and thingamabobs aren’t your thing, then perhaps the ping pong table, bicycles, or entertainment room will get you excited. In addition to having an incredible work space we also get to support our local college by renting it from them. They have the greatest staff and are providing resources for startups like us to succeed.
I hope you enjoyed following me on this tour of our Reno Office; until next time!