TechBirmingham Blog

Meet Our Member Company: Terane

September 26, 2018

TechBirmingham is proud to announce our new member company, Terane. We are here with Sean McCroskey, Director of Operations for Terane. Check out what Sean has to say about his company and Birmingham’s growing tech scene.

                    

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3 Not So Obvious Reasons to Join TechBirmingham

September 14, 2018

A membership with TechBirmingham is incredibly valuable.  With over 300 member companies, our growing network of resources and thriving tech community provides an opportunity for growth for you and your company, but a membership with TechBirmingham provides more than just amazing education resources and community involvement.  Here are 3 things you probably didn’t know you could get out of a membership with TechBirmingham.

 

We provide programs focused on education, networking and building up the tech community. Our programs include our monthly tech speaker series, programs focused on information sharing and tech education, member-only networking socials and multiple initiatives designed to improve and grow our technology ecosystem.

Additionally, TechBirmingham works to promote both member companies and the region’s tech ecosystem as a whole through local, regional and national media outlets.

Benefits include:

  • Company recognized as member on the TechBirmingham website
  • Customer referrals to member organizations
  • Social media promotion of your organization through multiple media channels
  • Ability to post job openings on TechBirmingham Jobs page
  • Free admission to monthly TechBirmingham events
  • Access to Members Only networking events and programs
  • Discounted pricing for special events and programs
  • Opportunity to get involved, affect change and help grow the local tech community

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Camp Innovation Recap!

July 5, 2018

It is two weeks after our Kids Code Camp, and I am still feeling so pumped about spending two insane weeks of technology immersion in the basement of Atlas RFID. I still am amazed that of how much we covered in such a short amount of time and blown away at how this came together because of the amazing community of TechBirmingham. This camp would not have been made possible without the financial contributions, and the time our members gave up from their busy work weeks to come and help us with operating camp.

The first week, we had 4 very unique devices prototyped by the kids, which included LED light shows, noise amplifiers, a thermostat, Arduino processors, and 80’s music. In the second week, the kids learned to program in Python to create their own unique games, by Friday we had games that resembled Space Invaders, a Zombie Role Playing Game, a Food Fight Game and a Platform Game. The kids learned how to brainstorm, work in teams, design, QA and so much more. Many of the kids shared that they want to return next year, and the kids who are now too old want to return to be volunteers next year.

Next year, our instructors have expressed that they would like to return as well, and we discussed the possibility of offering a longer game development camp so the kids can have deeper understanding of the material, expanding the program to include one week for upper elementary, and maybe using this year’s camp attendees as the first cohort for creating an academy that will run through the year.

Our team was lead Week 1 by Keiah Shauku and Vinny Chiaramonte who provided instruction on basic circuitry and programming Arduino processors the first week along with Team Leaders Amrita Lakhanpal, Robert Pique, Akili Shauku, Viraj Kaker, Hampton Walker, Anisha Ali, and Nicole Mubarak. Week 2 was lead by Nicole Mubarak, Shehzan Maredia, and Team Leaders, Akili Shauku, Andrew Gelderman, Viraj Kaker, Maya Leonard, Taylor Bowser, and Ami Gelderman in teaching the kids game development programming in Python. We also had over 40 volunteers that rotated throughout the week representing many of our member companies such as DST Health Solutions, BBVA Compass, Regions, Kinetic Communications,

We would like to recognize our sponsors for their generosity and their support of our program. Atlas RFID provided us for two whole weeks making us feel at home in their office space. DST Health Solutions awarded a grant that made it possible for us to purchase Elegoo Circuit kits for campers and develop curriculum to teach these campers, AND they sent eight of their interns who helped with organizing supplies and encouraging the kids. Shipt and Planet Fundraiser provided scholarships, meals, and funds to purchase supplies, and sent speakers to come and inspire the kids to continue growing in their thirst for learning technology skills. We had members of the Protective Enterprise Team rally together to provide scholarships for three students. Maynard Cooper & Gale, Seven Nine Foundation, McLeod Software, Sigao Studios, Groveland Baptist Church, Screenshots for Kids, and several private donors provided scholarships for campers. We had over 40 kids apply for scholarships, and we were able to award 27 scholarships. Hopefully next year, we’ll be able to increase that number and increase our impact on the community!

If you didn’t get to join us for the fun this year, please consider helping next year! There are so many kids in our community that need programs like this in order to gain the skills needed for a brighter tomorrow.

-Christina Smith

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New Member Profile: Pegasystems

May 24, 2018

TechBirmingham is proud to announce our new member company, Pegasystems. Today we are here with Wanda Andrieni, Senior Account Executive of Pegasystems.   Check out what Wanda has to say about her company and Birmingham’s growing tech scene.

We are so glad to have you here today Wanda.  Where are you from originally? 

Atlanta, GA.  I actually commute to Birmingham.

How long has the company been around? 

We’ve been around for 35 years.

So tell us more about Pegasystems. What’s an average day look like for you and what kind of work are you doing? 

I work with customers to discover opportunities to deliver process efficiencies and better customer engagement, so they can achieve breakthrough business results. Pega’s mission is to change the way the world builds software. We love software. It’s the lifeblood of business. It can transform customers into loyal fans. It can turn employees into productivity ninjas. It can make you a master of change and a disruptor of markets. But today’s enterprise can’t run on software designed for yesterday’s small or mid-size business – you need software built for scale and complexity, and that’s what we do.

 

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge in your industry?

 

The biggest business problem we see today are point solutions that were deployed years ago and still being deployed, that result in gaps between systems and processes.

 

What is the most exciting trend you see in the Birmingham Tech Scene?

The collaboration of tech leaders, as well as engagement from the next generation of leaders, is really exciting to me. A continuing trend is the formation and development of collaborative partnerships and alliances between established companies, educational institutions, and early stage start-ups to accelerate innovation.

 

How do you see the Birmingham Tech Scene evolving? 

Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeast and as one of the largest banking centers in the United States. Like most metropolitan cities in the country, significant investments are being made in technology, such as artificial intelligence and digital transformation in all industry sectors.

 

What exciting news or product/service announcements does your company have on the horizon?

 

Pega is making an exciting product announcement at our annual user conference PegaWorld 2018 in Las Vegas June 3-6; this is just a short time away, and it is unequivocally shaping up to be our biggest event yet. With Digital Transformation being at the forefront of this year’s program, you’ll spend four days listening, learning, and networking with over 5,000 business and tech leaders from the world’s most powerful brands. We’ll also be making the most exciting product announcement in Pega’s history and it’s going to be big.

What kind of impact do you want to make with your involvement in TechBirmingham? 

I want to offer new ideas and a fresh approach to solving business problems that deliver results rapidly, cost-effectively, and that supports the need to change quickly. As a result, we can help Birmingham based enterprises achieve phenomenal business results, and gain a competitive edge. We can also help local tech talent develop new insights and skills.

 

What advice would you give to a person starting out in your industry or in the workforce? 

 

Look for and maintain opportunities to network and learn from peers, mentors, and leaders. Groups like TechBirmingham allow you to expand your horizons beyond your current field. I have found that the many people I have encountered along my career journey have provided valuable insights.

 

Where can we find your company online? 

 

www.pega.com, @pega on Twitter, and Pegasystems on LinkedIn.

 

And where can we find you online? 

 

LinkedIn  at www.linkedin.com/in/wandaandrieni

Twitter @wandaandrieni

 

Anything else about you or your company you want us to share?

Pegasystems is the leader in software for customer engagement and operational excellence. If you’ve driven a car, used a credit card, called a company for service, opened an account, flown on a plane, submitted a claim, or performed countless other everyday tasks, chances are you’ve interacted with Pega. For the past 30 years, our technology – CRM, digital process automation, robotics, AI, and more – has empowered the world’s leading companies to achieve breakthrough results. Industry analysts Gartner and Forrester say Pega ranks •#1 in Digital Process Automation, Dynamic Case Management, BPM Platform, •#1 in CRM frameworks and Omni-channel Service for enterprise organizations #1 in Real Time Interaction Management Leading analyst say Pega applications are deployed 6.5 times faster than traditional methods and changes are delivered 8 x faster.

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Meet Our Member Company – Pluralsight with Patrick Madden

May 17, 2018

TechBirmingham is proud to announce our new member company, Pluralsight. Today we are here with Patrick Madden, Enterprise Account Executive of Pluralsight. Check out what Patrick has to say about Birmingham’s growing tech scene.

We are so glad you joined the TechBirmingham Community Patrick! Tell us about your company Pluralsight.
We at Pluralsight are dedicated to helping tech professionals learn, acquire, skill up, and stay up to date on the latest technology platforms.  Pluralsight is also for organizations to get unprecedented insight into skills strengths and weaknesses and to align learning to what matters.
What do you think is the biggest challenge in your industry?
Keeping up to date with all the latest and changing technologies.   Pluralsight helps with that.
What is the most exciting trend you see in the Birmingham Tech Scene?
Birmingham has a very smart and dynamic workforce.  We need to close the technology skill gaps that exist in our community so we can attract and keep the best talent.
How do you see the Birmingham Tech Scene evolving?
With next-generation education (see www.pluralsight.com)
What exciting news or product/service announcements does your company have on the horizon?
We just released PluralsightIQ.  It allows you to know where your tech skills stand and how to get yourself from where you are now to where you want to go
What kind of impact do you want to make with your involvement in TechBirmingham?

We plan to help provide tech learning to people that don’t traditionally have access to it. We will also sponsor events to make sure the community is up to date with what is hot in technology.  We are excited about our membership!

What advice would you give to a person starting out in your industry or in the workforce?
The best thing to do is figure out what you want to do and then work hard to do it better than everyone else.  Involve yourself in the community and make a positive difference.  Be nice, you can be successful and still help others
Where can we find your company online?
And where can we find you online?
We are so excited to have Pluralsight as members!  To learn more about how to become a member, click here

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Alabama Cyber Now 2018

April 25, 2018

The Alabama Cyber Now Conference, hosted by TechBirmingham, The Central Alabama Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (CAISSA) and the InfraGard Birmingham Members Alliance, was quite a hit.  With over 500 attendees, two keynote speakers, and over 20 breakout sessions, it was a conference filled with education and growth.  We also added 3 training sessions, requested by many of our attendees from last year, and our “Birds of a Feather” sessions which allowed attendees to collaborate with other like-minded cybersecurity individuals.

The morning of ACN began with a wonderful keynote speaker session.   Sadik Al-Abdulla, Director of Security Solutions, CDW,  spoke about the state of security from his many security assessments while we enjoyed breakfast sponsored by Bradley Law Firm.   From there, our attendees were able to attend one of the many breakout sessions and browse the vendor booths to learn about cutting-edge solutions and best practices in the industry.  We came together again for lunch, where Tina Meeker, Owner & Principal of Beacon Information Security, LLC, spoke about how the diversity gap hurts the cybersecurity field as a whole.  After more breakout sessions and education opportunities, we finally wrapped our day with our Birds of a Feather sessions, allowing for networking and conversation amongst our attendees.

As the evening came to a close, we were pleased to hear from many that this conference was “one of the largest and most educational” resources out there for those in the cybersecurity sector.  We fully anticipate an even larger event next year with more educational opportunities, speakers, and resources.

This event could not have been possible without the contribution of so many sponsors, who we have had the honor and privilege of working with.  To learn more about who sponsored this event, visit our sponsors page.


 

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April Tech Tuesday with David Powell

April 16, 2018

We are looking forward to a wonderful talk from David Powell next week at our Tech Tuesday event.  In this Tech Tuesday, held at Burr & Forman LLP, David will share his “Stories from the Road” and offer real-world insights about these hot topics and give some ideas about how we, as technologists, can embrace them.

David Powell is a twenty-two year veteran of the IT industry, the last seventeen spent exclusively in Managed Services. Named one of the “Top 250 People in Managed Services” by MSPmentor for over five years, Powell has worked for three of the Top 100 companies that rank in the MSPmentor 501 each year. He came to LogicMonitor from TekLinks, where he helped transition the company from a traditional VAR to an integrated solution provider with a nationally recognized managed and cloud services portfolio, as evidenced when TekLinks received the Top MSP Award at the CRN SP500 Conference in 2012. Powell was a member of the Birmingham Business Journal’s “Top 40 under 40” in 2011, and in 2013, he was named to the publication’s first ever “#40 to Follow List” of executives to follow on Twitter. Powell is a frequent national speaker on technology and for three years he co-hosted an engaging “Tech Tuesday” segment that aired each week on the local CBS42 affiliate in Birmingham.  Powell is actively involved in the Birmingham community as a Board Member of TechBirmingham, a Board Member for the Vestavia Hills Board of Education, and past President of the Vestavia Lacrosse Organization.

We are looking forward to hearing from David and hope you will join us!  This event is free for members and only $10 for non-members.  Lunch will be provided, so come hungry and ready to listen to great words from David! You can register here.

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Alabama Cyber Now Announces Keynote Speakers

April 5, 2018

The Preeminent Southeastern Cyber Security Conference for Business and Industry has announced the Keynote Speakers for its Third Annual Conference.

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New Member Company ThreatAdvice

March 26, 2018

TechBirmingham is proud to welcome one of our newest member companies, ThreatAdviceJennifer Skjellum, TechBirmingham’s former president, recently joined ThreatAdvice to lead their efforts in blockchain and cryptocurrency enabled technologies.  We are also excited to announce ThreatAdvice’s Bronze level sponsorship of our upcoming Alabama Cyber Now Conference, which takes place April 11-12, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham hotel in Hoover. Tickets and additional info are available at http://alabamacybernow.com.

Recently, we sat down with Steve Hines, President of ThreatAdvice, to learn more about their company and plans to positively impact our local technology ecosystem as members of TechBirmingham.

We are very excited to have you join us as members of TechBirmingham.  We’d love for you to share with our members a bit of info about ThreatAdvice. 

At ThreatAdvice, we specialize in educating enterprise employees on a non-technical level about cyber risks and how to avoid them. Our goal is to help businesses stay in business by being holistically cyber-prepared and avoiding drastic cyber breaches.

That must be quite a challenge.  What do you think is the biggest challenge in your industry?

It can be difficult to get companies to realize that their employees are actually their biggest cybersecurity threat and that they must be individually educated in order to keep the enterprise safe.

Let’s talk Birmingham.  What is the most exciting trend you see in the Birmingham Tech Scene?

A growing entrepreneurial spirit and lots of great ideas.  The biggest challenge is getting funded, and also turning ideas into a marketable product and then selling it! Ideas don’t sell themselves — people do.

How do you see the Birmingham Tech Scene evolving?

If the last five years are any indication, the Birmingham tech scene will continue to grow, flourish, and mature. There’s still growing pains and learning curves, but the tech community is vibrant and exciting.

What exciting news or product/service announcements does your company have on the horizon?

We are launching an intelligence division, a compliance division, and a blockchain division.

What kind of impact do you want to make with your involvement in TechBirmingham?

We have many experienced entrepreneurs at ThreatAdvice and would love to mentor and help any young startup companies so that they hopefully can avoid some of the pitfalls we’ve experienced over our careers. The success of one leads to the success of many.

What advice would you give to a person starting out in your industry or in the workforce?

Find a niche market to start with and then develop from there.  You typically can’t be all things to all people right out of the gate. Also, treat your cash like gold-it goes quickly in early stages.

To learn more about ThreatAdvice, be sure to visit their website or connect with Steve on LinkedIn.  

 

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Diversity in Cybersecurity

March 21, 2018

In just a few short weeks, we will have the privilege of hearing from Tina Meeker and Sadik Al-Abdulla, two internationally known speakers in the cybersecurity industry at the Alabama Cyber Now Conference (ACN). Tina Meeker, Owner and Principal of Beacon Information Security, LLC, will be speaking on how to avoid hiring your doppelganger–someone who is just like you.

Many of us have a tendency to hire people with whom we resonate with and find similar to ourselves. Unfortunately, this similarity seeking attitude can hinder our success. Meeker understands the benefit of encouraging diversity in one’s business. As a woman, she had to make her way through an industry where women were not represented, particularly in senior roles.

Women aren’t the only minority groups underrepresented in the cybersecurity sector. A study performed by (ISC)2 and The Center For Cyber Safety and Education found that even though minority representation is higher than the national average in the cybersecurity sector, minorities have a lower representation in the senior level roles in cybersecurity companies. A recent article from We Live Security suggested that this isn’t just a fairness problem; it’s a problem that could lead to gaps in our security measures. With a lack of minority representation comes a lack of perspective, and these diverse perspectives are exactly what’s needed to keep our cyber networks safe.

Many of us may recognize that it’s time to diversify our staff, but doing so is a process. As a keynote speaker, Meeker will spend time leading the Alabama Cyber Now attendees through strategies to make this process a positive one. In addition to hearing this valuable information from Meeker, the ACN conference will provide you with the opportunity to attend four 1/2-Day Training Sessions on Securing Microsoft 365, Splunk, Weaponizing Your Job Search, and Technology Transition to Practice (TTP) for the NSF SATC program. These training sessions along with over 20 breakout session choices, over 45 vendors, and prime networking opportunities, will make for a conference that will be worth attending.

Meeker and Al-Abdulla recognize that now is the time to focus your efforts on cybersecurity for your business. The 2018 Alabama Cyber Now Conference will be the perfect opportunity to grow your knowledge on the subject and ultimately help to create a safer cyberspace for you to continue doing great things. Be sure to register now and secure your spot at this premier event.

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