By Brenda J. Trainor MADIA Tech Launch is a nonprofit educational organization that promotes a productive, and often entertaining, local ecosystem of entrepreneurs, scientists, practitioners, experts, and plain ol’ geeks and nerds who share an interest in all things “techie.” For over five years, MADIA has hosted meetings, seminars, coffees and events that showcase the abundance of local technology companies that contribute significantly to our local economy. The organization also serves as a network for communicating and learning about new technologies and business opportunities in our region. The organization is ready to leap into 2020 to see what the future holds. MADIA — which stands for Monrovia, Arcadia, Duarte, Irwindale, and Azusa — has the support of municipal governments and chambers of commerce in the pursuit of common interests: like attracting new technology businesses, encouraging their growth and success, and promoting the successes of those already established. MADIA Tech Launch has highlighted an incredible range of local tech businesses that operate from the far reaches of our planetary system to the depths of our oceans to the inner workings of our bodies’ cells. In just the last year, MADIA meetings had businesses with people and technologies that facilitate robotic operations on Mars, use lasers to drive cars, synthesize DNA, teach kindergarteners and physicians to grow stem cells, find new ways to detect disease, create the means to securely record and analyze sensitive personal data, and learn to pay for it all digitally using blockchain technologies. Some of the businesses who made presentations in the last year are: MOTiV Space Systems, Camena Bio Science, FinTech Connector, SiLC, PACE Diagnostics, Pathways to Stem Cell Science, NextGate Solutions, and Oak Crest Institute. “Our meetings offer both education and a chance to get to know people,” said Bruce Lathrop, MADIA Board president. “Our meetings are typically ‘dinner and a show’ featuring an interesting presentation and an affordable meal, followed by social gathering at a local pub.” Sometimes the meetings take place on-site at the laboratories or manufacturing operations of these cool tech operations. The group has fun too! Monrovians may remember the group of white-coated laboratory scientists — the MADIA geeks on parade — who gave away test tubes of candy during the Holiday Parade last December. MADIA has no membership fees, but some meetings have a charge to cover the meal costs, and anyone can associate and communicate with the group by signing up on its MADIA Tech Launch Group LinkedIn page. Looking forward to events in 2020, MADIA will continue with regular monthly meetings, and in March will host “MADIA: BioTech 2020,” a special series of presentations focusing on health science and research, one of the emerging technology business strengths here in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley.