HSI faces decision about space for Reno manufacturing
HSI, a nonprofit that employs disabled people, needs more space for its Reno manufacturing operations, and it’s hoping a fundraiser this month will begin building a nest egg.
The organization occupies about 24,000 square feet it owns at 555 Reactor Way in east Reno.
It’s largely a manufacturing facility as HSI handles assembly and other light manufacturing contracts from companies such as International Game Technology.
Along with its Reno operations,HSI handles a landscape maintenance contract at Fallon Naval Air Station.
LaVonne Brooks, chief executive officer and executive director of HSI, said demand for the organization’s services are growing, and its unusual supervisory structure dictates that it needs space in fairly large chunks.
Because the organization’s disabled employees work in small groups overseen by a facilitator, HSI typically takes on clients in groups of eight or so.
The organization employs about 130 in Reno and has a waiting list for its services.
“We just don’t have the space,” Brooks said.
The organization hasn’t settled on a plan to gain more space.
Options include constructing additional space at the Reactor Way site or finding a new bulding.
The current building was purchased in 2001 with the thought that it would meet the needs of the group for five to 10 years, Brooks said.
Population growth in the region outstripped those forecasts.
This month’s fundraiser, known as the XTreme Ability Challenge, fields teams of eight people many of them sponsored by businesses in the region that perform tasks handled by HSI employees.
Among the challenges: Assembling brackets with the use of only one hand.
Building a box while blindfolded.Negotiating a wheelchair through a door.
It’s scheduled August 28 beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Teams of eight pay an entry fee of $1,000.
Individual tickets for a related barbecue and silent auction are $20.
“The thing that I like most about entrepreneurship is I can work toward something that I’m passionate about and be at the forefront of the change that I want to see happen,” said Priyanka Senthil, a senior at Davidson Academy in Reno and co-founder of startup company AUesome.