We’re preparing for another great year at the 14th annual InnoTech Austin event, where Information Technology companies and experts will gather for a full day of educational events, peer-to-peer networking opportunities, the latest technology and business solutions, and more.
The event will be held November 16 at the Austin Convention Center and will feature speakers such as opening keynote Doug Reeder, CTO Commercial Industries at NTT Data Services, who will speak on how robots and humans can coexist in the future of work. Be sure to drop by and see us at booth 417.
Recently, we were lucky enough to get a few minutes to speak with Sean Lowery, Executive Director of InnoTech. We appreciate his time, especially with InnoTech Austin right around the corner.
Whether you’re a seasoned InnoTech veteran or you’ve never heard of the event, you’re sure to learn something new about InnoTech and its Executive Director from our interview.
Q: Where and when did the idea for InnoTech begin?
A: So, the idea started about 15 years ago. I live in Portland, Oregon and we wanted to produce an event close to home because I had traveled for many years with a previous company. So, we came up with this concept of combining innovation and technology to create the InnoTech name. It started here in Portland, bringing together IT buyers with IT sellers. It also provides IT buyers with education, a chance to network and to see technologies and services they could use in their offices, and the ability to do it close home and still have a national-type program in their backyard.
Q: Would you say that InnoTech started as an idea to further a certain cause? Or did it begin with a desire to start your own business?
A: Yes. I worked for another company in the same events industry and that company was bought and sold a number of times. So, it became apparent that it would be easier for me to do this on my own than for someone else. So, I ventured off working on smaller events then it morphed into this larger InnoTech concept after about a year of playing around and, you know, testing different concepts.
Q: Who do you think will get the most out of attending InnoTech Austin?
A: The conference piece is really set up for individuals that work in corporations and they deal with technology, whether they’re buying or recommending decisions for technology. Many of our sessions are focused on how others are using technology to better their business and case studies and networking opportunities.
Q: Can attendees earn CEU/CEC credits by attending InnoTech Austin?
A: Yes, that is possible. A number of associations allow individuals to get contact hours or CEUs for attending the conference. We have forms for people to pick up, fill out and return to their association if they are interested.
Q: What makes InnoTech Austin different or better than other tech conferences?
A: Two things. One is we are really focused on the local community, so building an event from the ground up with local support, rather than just building a roadshow type program. We work with an advisory council made up of 15-20 IT executives. We also work locally with 15-18 non-profit associations that we help support their members with the conference.
The concept is building the event from the ground up. This is for the people, by the people within the different cities. The second reason we stand out is we really focus on the conference content. Most of our presentations are not given by vendors – they’re presented by IT professionals or other industry experts.
Q: You mentioned working with some charities earlier. Can you tell me more about that?
A: We donate money to Girl Start, which is a STEM group. We also have donated money to the SIM scholarship fund in which they provide IT scholarships to different college students in Central Texas.
Q: Tell us about the growth that InnoTech Austin has experienced over the years and how that is related to the growth of the tech sector in Austin.
A: So, over 14 years InnoTech Austin has survived a tech bubble and a recession. So, no matter the economic situation, we seem to be able to host an event in Austin because of local support, which is great. The event continues to grow year over year and continues to be the standard local IT event for the Austin community. As national events come and go, InnoTech is here every year.
To answer your question, more technology people that are in Austin definitely correlates to more people attending InnoTech Austin.
Q: Where else in Texas does InnoTech sponsor a conference? How long have those been held and how do they compare with InnoTech Austin?
A: San Antonio just crossed 11 years, Dallas is at 6 years, and Oklahoma City is at 12 years – we just finished our 12th year event last week, and then Houston is at 5 this year.
Q: Are there any special events, programs or tracts that are happening at InnoTech Austin this year that you’d like to tell us about?
A: There are four that we are really focused on this year. The first one is the Women in Tech Summit, and that’s about 200+ women in technology that come together for that particular event at InnoTech. We also have a DevOps and microservices forum that we are hosting again this year, and then we have the CIO Gala Luncheon and the 20th annual IT executive of the year awards.
Q: InnoTech is celebrating its 14th year here in Austin. What has kept you going all these years?
A: I get to work with so many great people in Austin with this event that I look forward to visiting the city. I look forward to meetings and putting the event together for the program. This is kind of like the Super Bowl or like a wedding, how you do all this work for five or six months and then it all happens in one day. You build it up to this day. And that’s what’s exciting about the program, every year InnoTech is different. You’ve got a different summit or different special event, something that’s going on to keep it interesting and fun.
There are people that have been with me all 14 years and I get to see them every year. It’s kind of like family. Friends, family – this is what I think the difference is with InnoTech, because I have people that I consider my friends and they are part of the InnoTech family versus just a roadshow that pops in and pops out and doesn’t really matter.
Q: The HT Group Technical Staffing Division is one of the sponsors of the 2017 VIP Pre-Event. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
A: The VIP Pre-Event is something we came up with about 10 years ago. It’s a chance for everyone to get together the night before and meet the nominees or the finalists for the award and talk to them before the conference. They bring their spouses and it’s a wonderful meet-and-greet program. Over the last couple of years, we’ve implemented a silent auction to raise funds for the Girl Start program. So, it’s a chance for people to meet the finalists and nominees for the awards and support the local community.
InnoTech Austin is more than just a conference – it’s built for the people, by the people of Austin, and benefits local non-profit organizations. It’s also one of the largest annual IT Conference in Austin, so if you are in tech or IT and you aren’t attending or haven’t attended, you’re missing out on potentially your largest networking opportunity of the year.
From educational seminars by some of the world’s leading IT experts to awards, special events, and the best IT networking opportunity in Austin, InnoTech is one event you don’t want to miss.
Come see us at InnoTech at booth #417! Attend as our guest using discount code HTG7C and receive a complimentary pass into InnoTech, or receive 20% off a special event, such as the CIO Gala Luncheon, Women in Tech Summit, and more. Register on the InnoTech website at www.innotechaustin.com.
The HT Group Technical Staffing Division prides itself on being the premier IT staffing agency in Austin, offering rewarding technical consulting opportunities to seasoned technical professionals in varied areas of technical expertise, including DevOps, Database Management, System Administration, Information Systems Manager, Technical Support, and much more. Click here for more information.
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