Written by Arkansas Real Estate
This week we were pleased to catch up with Jon Cadieux, Founder of the NWA Technology Council & Chairman of the Steering Committee.
The mission of the NWA Tech Council is to help individuals and area businesses gain a competitive edge both locally and globally through education, networking and community involvement.
Thank you, Jon, for taking time to chat with us this week!
What is the history of the NWA Tech Council? How did it get started?
In the fall of 2012, I approached Jayne Lowe (Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce) with the idea. At the time, the BBV Chamber did not have a president so Jayne suggested I wait to present the idea to the new president whenever he starts. It wasn't until March of 2013 that I had the chance to meet with Dana Davis (newly hired just a couple of weeks prior) and share with him my vision for the Technology Council. Dana saw the value, took it to the chamber board and in September of 2013 we got the go ahead to put together the steering committee. Our first meeting was in March of this year.
What sectors are best represented on the council?
We have a diverse mix of individuals; small business owners, programmers, IT consultants, telecom experts, sales people, real estate agents, marketing professionals, Walmart vendors, local start-ups and so on. Our typical member consists from the various fields of technology:
- Technology Focused Companies
- Network Engineers
- Web Designers
- Social Media Professionals
- C Level Managers
- IT Recruiters
- Communication Engineers
- Individuals looking to grow
- Systems Engineers
- Staffing Companies
- Telecom Companies
- Tech Start-ups
Tell us about the 2014 NWA Technology Summit...
The first NWA Tech Summit hosted by the NWA Technology Council and the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce was held on August 11, 2014 at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers, AR.
We were very pleased to have Karenann Terrell, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer Walmart Store, Inc. as our event keynote speaker. The event packed in 400 tech professionals for a half-day of conversation and collaboration about growing the regional tech sector. The morning speaker was Jeff Amerine - Director, University of Arkansas Technology Ventures/CEO Startup Junkie/Leader of ARK Challenge). We also had great panelists and break out speakers. Our panelists and break out speakers made up professionals from Google, Rockfish, Collective Bias, James+James, Red Clay, RevUnit, WhyteSpyder, Salesforce, Movista, and New Market Builders.
Attendees learned ways to use technology to save their organization time and money and deliver ways that they could effectively collaborate on innovative solutions to common business challenges and how technology is powering change.
We already working on plans for our 2015 event, and are excited to see how it will grow in our community.
What are some of the goals and objectives for the NWA Tech Council for the next year?
Our goal this year was to have 50 members, we exceeded that and are currently around 120-130 to date. Next year we plan to continue adding new members to the council and helping the chamber add value and increase its memberships. Also, next year we will be working with Mike Poore from Benton County Schools, Jeff Charlson, Ozark STEM Foundation, and others to help with events and workshops that will benefit the area youths.
What are you seeing in terms of trends with technology development in NWA?
I believe we are in the midst of a grand transformation for NWA, a transformation that started a long time ago. Things like the improvements to transportation, the arts & culture, dining, quality of schools and a robust economy; all of these make NWA an enticing place for businesses to relocate to or for tech start-ups to get started. There are many trends here, but the main trend in all of NWA is to keep moving forward.
How can people get involved?