TechBirmingham Blog

Meet Our Member Company – Stewart Perry with Merrill Stewart

November 30, 2017

TechBirmingham is proud to announce our new member company, Stewart Perry. Today we are here with Merrill Stewart, President of Stewart Perry. Check out what Merrill has to say about Birmingham’s growing tech scene.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Darby Westfall

November 21, 2017

It’s Thanksgiving week and TechBirmingham would like to say how “Thankful” we are to be part of a community filled with volunteers to help us accomplish our mission of fostering and growing the Birmingham regional tech ecosystem. We are committed to expanding the opportunities for future generations and are proud to have some amazing volunteers who help us make it happen.

On November 7, we held our first Volunteer Appreciation Party, and recognized some of our key volunteers as our “Change Agents.”  These volunteers have shown exceptional dedication and commitment to TechBirmingham’s Kids Code programs. 

One volunteer we recognized, Darby Westfall, is a longtime member of TechBirmingham and has been a volunteer and workshop leader since we started offering kids coding programs in 2015. Darby is passionate about mentoring young women and spends hours creating teaching activities to share with the girls. When she isn’t teaching at our workshops, Darby is busy running her own consulting firm, Leapfrog Systems Consulting that provides customized technology solutions for businesses.

We asked her a few questions to help us understand what drives her to volunteer with TechBirmingham.

Darby, how did you get started “Coding?”

I started coding the day the first computer showed up at my high school in 1981.  It was a TRS-80 and no one had figured out how to attach the tape drive to save a program; so I would stay there until 6:00 pm getting the program to work – and I loved it!  Essentially, the teacher and I learned it all pretty much together. 

Darby working on the early computers in high school, 1981

If you can code anything, what would it be and why?

I would love to create more resources to bring our youth into technology learning. There are some great programs out there already, but I think more could be done to inspire, demystify and invite young people (especially more girls) into the world of technology.  I believe we need these sharp young minds in the field.

 

 

What is your favorite part of TechBirmingham’s Girls Code program?

My favorite moments are absolutely the ah-ha moments-the moment you see the light bulb click on in a young girl’s face as she understands some concept.

Thank you, Darby, for your contributions to TechBirmingham. We are so proud to have you as one of our “Change Agents” and making a difference in paving the way for more girls to find their love of technology.

We will be continuing to highlight our volunteers and recognize how they are actively helping TechBirmingham with our programs and influencing tomorrow’s workforce.

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TechBirmingham Recognizes Several Volunteers as Change Agents at Recent Event

November 14, 2017

On November 7th, TechBirmingham recognized all of the volunteers who have unselfishly given their time and talents to help TechBirmingham provide programs for the community.  In 2017, TechBirmingham hosted 11 Kids Coding events at the McWane Center and Samford University, reaching over 370 kids in the Metro Birmingham Area and beyond. This past summer was the first camp held at Innovation Depot, where 36 kids attended to learn app development. Other events where volunteers played a key role where the Alabama Cyber Now Conference and Sloss Tech.

Jennifer Skjellum, President of TechBirmingham,  recognized several key volunteers for their contributions in helping with Super Code Sunday, Kids Code and the 100 Girls of Code and Girls Only Code workshops.  All of them have played major roles in the Kids Code Initiatives and in some cases helped launch the program.  Val Atchison, Darby Westfall, Julie Lim, Daisy Wong, Vinny Chiaramonte, and Keiah Shauku all received the TechBirmingham “Change Agent” Award. Without these individuals, TechBirmingham would not be able to create and implement the quality programs currently offered to the community.

 

Darby Westfall, Vinny Chiaramonte, Jennifer Skjullum, Val Atchison, Juile Lim, and Daisy Wong. (not pictured is Keiah Shauku).

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Meet Our Member Company – D2 Creations with Duncan Emory

November 6, 2017

TechBirmingham is proud to announce our new member company, D2 Creations. Today we are here with Duncan Emory, Founder and Principal Designer of D2 Creations. Check out what Duncan has to say about Birmingham’s growing tech scene.

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Meet Our Member Company – Sigao Studios with Chris Sims

October 16, 2017

Learn more about one of our newer TechBirmingham member companies, Sigao Studios. Today we are here with Chris Sims, Co-Founder & Principal of Sigao Studios. Check out what Chris has to say about his industry and Birmingham’s growing tech scene.

 

 

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TechBirmingham Announces New President

October 2, 2017

We are incredibly excited to announce the big news!

TechBirmingham Announces New President

After careful consideration and review of more than 50 applicants from more than 12 states, the TechBirmingham Board of Directors has selected Deon Gordon as TechBirmingham’s new President.  ITAC Solutions, a Birmingham-based firm, assisted with the search.

 

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International Conference shines a light on Birmingham’s rural entrepreneurship, Millennial Founders and ecosystem support systems

September 26, 2017

E.Builders shines a light on Birmingham’s rural entrepreneurship, millennial founders and ecosystem support, as keys to its economic development successes

Birmingham, AL.  This week, 28-29 September 2017, Birmingham will host the International Association of Business Innovation (InBIA)’s annual Ecosystem Builders Forum, or e.Builders Forum.  The event will be held at Innovation Depot, one of the nation’s largest and most successful business incubators serving the Appalachian region. (more…)

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Bham Now Celebrates One Year Anniversary!

September 11, 2017

Member company Bham Now is celebrating their one year anniversary. Read on to learn more about Bham Now and the great things they have done and will do in Birmingham.

                             

Some of the Bham Now team: From left to right: Pat Byington, Cindy Martin, Hunter Holland, Vicky Lewis,

Jen Daniel, Liz Brody, Wade Cline, Kristina O’Quinn.

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Women Who Code Host Their First Hackathon to Celebrate Innovation Week

August 24, 2017

 

Women Who Code is a global nonprofit with a set of programs to help women advance their knowledge of software development and advance their careers. Their organization consists of over 50,000 members around the world and located 60 cities, each representing a Network within 20 countries. TechBirmingham’s Christina is a member of the local Birmingham network and talked to the directors Nicole Mubarak and Kayla Harris to talk about their upcoming Hackathon.

Can you give us some background about Magic City Hacks?

Magic City Hacks is a 24-hour innovation hackathon designed to showcase hackers as they take on tech. The event is designed to push you to build great things and caps off Birmingham Business Alliance’s Innovation Week.

For two days, 50+ engineers, designers, mentors, and more will come together to create tech solutions. Harness the power of technology to build something artistic, solve a problem, design, develop whatever inspires you to change the world.

What can attendees expect to learn about that they may not know or be aware of?

Attendees will learn to collaborate on innovative ideas with other participants and explore new technology in a fun, competitive environment.

What are your thoughts on the efforts to recruit women into software programming careers? How will this impact Birmingham?

I believe we’ve come a long way in terms of recruiting women for tech careers. Companies are encouraged to tap into the pool of talented women here in Birmingham. There are more groups like Women Who Code Birmingham who are creating environments for young girls and women to explore technology without fear of criticism for not being at a certain level of tech-savviness. I’ve seen a huge initiative in getting young girls into coding by TechBirmingham and Girls Who Code, which is sure pay off in the future of Birmingham by bringing more people into the tech field who would otherwise not have.

What advice do you have for people who have never attended a Hackathon? Who can attend?

Anyone can attend our hackathon. If you are hesitating on going, my only advice is to DO IT! I completely understand the thoughts of “I only know a little coding I may not be able to contribute” or “I have no chance of winning.” But going to Hackathon is an experience, not just a competition. It exposes participants to teamwork, collaboration, networking, career opportunities and of course swag. Companies like Google, FaceBook, and Tech Crunch do these events so talent all over can network with others, learn new technologies, and simulate an environment for learning, innovation, and creativity. Women Who Code Birmingham wants to bring that experience to the Magic City and create a new platform for networking. Guys are also welcome to attend!

Why are you growing your organization in Birmingham?

As tech takes a center-stage in Birmingham, Women Who Code Birmingham recognizes the need for diversity in the industry. Diversity will serve not only businesses in the area, but enrich the tech community as a whole. For some of our members, it can be very intimidating to be a part of the tech culture. However, I have had the privilege to see members gain more confidence as they steadily make waves in the community. The goal of growing our organization is to create an epic network that connects women of all backgrounds so that we can continue to advance and empower hundreds of thousands of women in the field of technology.

Where can people who are interested in attending Magic City Hacks go to register?

Folks can register on Eventbrite by clicking this link: Register Here

 

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Innovation Week 2017 in Full Swing!

August 22, 2017

Birmingham Innovation Week has officially started.  As if the excitement surrounding the solar eclipse was not enough,  we still have 4 more days of informative, exciting and innovative events focused on showcasing, facilitating and encouraging innovation in Birmingham.

On Tuesday, August 22nd, there is a full line-up of events, including the Innovation Week Edition of TechTuesday, Startup Drinks, and the Bold Speaker Series.

You can see the full Innovation Week schedule HERE.

If you are looking for something different, check out Tech Innovation in Hospitality- A Panel Discussion led by Delect Technologies at Cahaba Brewing Company from 4:00 – 6:00 pm.

We caught up with Serge Amouzou, Founder and CEO of Delect, to learn more about the event, the service Delect provides and his thoughts on Birmingham.

 

What can attendees expect to learn from this event?

Attendees will learn about changes in technology and tools restaurateurs are making available to better serve consumers. Attendees will also learn what restaurateurs are doing to keep up with the growing restaurant scene in Birmingham and technology that is helping them keep up with the changes.

What are your thoughts on Birmingham’s growing food and beer scene and how it can help spur growth in the tech sector?

As the restaurant scene grows, there is fierce competition for restaurateurs because people now have many choices on where to go to eat. The growing food scene allows for growth in the tech sector where we can now predict consumer behavior and allow restaurants to target consumers based on their eating preferences. Because of the spur in growth, restaurants rely on technology to run efficient operations that help to also bring in consumers.

What about Delect do people need to know?

Delect mobile app helps consumers find restaurants based on location and eating preferences. At restaurants and bars, Delect helps consumers pay from their mobile phones. Consumers can tell waiters/servers they’re on Delect and do not have to wait for bills. Additionally, Delect helps consumers split bills once they’re confirmed with the waiter.

Delect provides iPad point of sales systems that enable restaurants to manage marketing, operations, enable mobile payments, take orders for delivery and in-house dining, and reservations.

Why are you growing your company in Birmingham?

Birmingham is a growing restaurant and tech city. As a company that went through the Velocity Accelerator, a program by the Innovation Depot, we feel the community is invested in seeing us grow through investments and a growing tech workforce, as a result, we decided to grow the company in Birmingham.

To register for the event or to get more details go HERE.

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