One of the great things about starting LocalTek a few years back was getting involved with regional and local government and community organizations and also with small businesses around the area. The more people I met the more I realized how much of a really bright and talented base of people we had in the Parkland area of Missouri (Farmington, Park Hills, Bonne Terre, Desloge, etc). But one major gap that was obvious was that there really was not any real networking going on between various people that had different technology skill sets. And there was no real way to connect people with ideas to those that could help incubate those ideas into new business ventures.
Since first recognizing this I have always kept it in the back of my mind that I wanted to start a Meetup series that would focus on connecting bright technical minds with other bright technical minds as well as connect businesses in the area with the people that can help them with positions that needed filled without having to hire people from out of the region.
So, Feb 21st, from 6 to 8pm at Bauhaus Kaffee here in Farmington I will be launching the Parkland Meetup: Tech/Startup series. We have been fortunate to have several sponsors for the first event and have already exceeded our initial attendance goals to the point where we had to upgrade facilities to be able to handle more people.
The event will have 3 speakers, and 4 “expert” tables. We really are focused on creating an upbeat vibe and make this very much not “more of the same”. By that I mean not a bunch of bullet points on slides and more of the same conversations that people have heard at other events over and over again.
Before I keep on with more words, words, words, here are some links to access info about the event:
Facebook Page: Facebook.com/TechStartupMeetup (please “like” us)
Facebook Event: Event Details Here
This is my first time every organizing an event or doing any event promotion, to say the least its been an effort, especially to provide a completely free event that also provides a high level of value. But its exciting. I am very passionate about incubating tech in the community. VERY PASSIONATE about it.
I have lived in this area all of my life but have been fortunate to have worked at some amazing companies during the growth phases of the internet and next generation of communications networks. I had to travel frequently but I never had to move, why? Because I was able to use broadband and technology to access the things I needed. Not all jobs allow for this but many do.
By seeing what technology could enable, it allowed me to have new ideas, to see what was possible. The problem is locally our brightest minds do not always get to do that. One of the big reasons I pushed and supported Big River Broadband to be located in Farmington, MO was because I knew it would allow people that would typically not get to see what was possible to finally maybe have a different vision, to have a new idea, an idea that may blossom into a new company, maybe the next big thing.
My goal with the meetup group is to facilitate these connections, to facilitate the sharing of ideas and connect people with different technical skills together to help them complete the idea they have or spark a new idea.
Our first meetup will have the following speakers:
Bruce Marler (yep thats me) – I will be providing a quick 10 minute presentations of my vision for the group, the inception of the idea, and why it is important for the community.
Mit Landrum – Mit is the Mayor of Farmington and also a long time tech professional with a software company of his own.
Kevin Cantwell – President of Big River Broadband, Kevin is a big believer in connecting people and enabling rural areas to have access to the larger world. I have known Kevin and the team at Big River Telephone for years and they have always stayed consistent with this focus.
Other than speakers, by the way, no speaker will be speaking for more than 15 minutes, this event is not to talk at people, its to connect them, we will also have the concept of “expert” tables.
The expert tables will be there to provide access to people that have had real life experience using technology to better their business or in some cases to create a business. This will allow people to sit down and have a one on one or maybe group discussion with this person to ask questions on how and why they use technology.
The experts will be:
Tiffany Marler (my wife for full disclosure) – Online marketing as part of a holistic marketing approach
Bruce Marler (yes me again) – Using online/cloud based tools to make your business more efficient
Casey Hartley – KC Photography, Casey is a prime example of how to use social media to grow your business and will talk about how she has used Facebook specifically to make her photography business a success
Mike Howe- General Manager, Big River Broadband – Mike will be available to discuss broadband and telephony and how to more effectively use technologies such as VoIP, LTE, etc
Now, for the good stuff, FOOD, food will be provided for free thanks to our great sponsors. You can see our sponsors on the ParklandMeetup.com website. We will have free BBQ from Branding Iron BBQ and free snacks and coffee from Bauhaus Kaffee, the bar will be open as well, thats for purchase though.
We are already at around 50 people committed to being at the event and we are not done yet, look for more announcements between now and the event around other things we will be doing, and yes we are already planning the second event to happen in April.