Though the Valley has dozens of networking groups that meet regularly, it had yet to produce an organization that specifically focused on emerging technologies and their relation to the local economy until now. In an attempt to disseminate knowledge and foster relationships between professionals in the voice data, wireless and handheld technology worlds, the Convergence Technology Council has been formed and has been met with an enthusiastic response. The brainchild of Robin Borough, the vice president of sales at Calabasas-based Omnikron Systems Inc., the CTC has grown to 200 active members, despite being barely two months old. Such growth is not by accident, as Borough did a year of research before founding the new monthly users group. “I focused on what I felt was the most up and coming technology and the most ubiquitous problem at local companies,” Borough, the CTC’s president and founder said, “I found that convergence technology was something that most CEOs and CTOs were grappling with. There was no one place locally for leaders to get their information from. The rate of information and new technology is moving quickly. I felt that a monthly tech council would be the answer.” The CTC’s meetings all maintain a formal agenda. Prior to the start of the meeting dinner is served, allowing for networking opportunities for members, guests, and speakers. Meetings open with a “Celebrity CEO” or “Celebrity CIO” speaker that outlines his or her strategy for solving business problems with technology and the impact that converging technologies are having on their organization. Following the “celebrity speakers,” another speaker lectures on a specific technology issue. The meetings all close with open discussion and a question and answer session. Thus far, some of the speakers that have addressed the new organization are John Johnson, the CIO for Calabasas-based ValleyCrest Companies, Jim Murphy, the president and co-founder of Winnetka-based DSLExtreme, and Ray Gilbert, the assistant vice president for IT enterprise collaboration at Lucent Technologies. Each meeting has averaged between 45 and 50 attendees. The majority of the members of the group are Valley businesspeople, with companies like Health Net Inc, Verizon Communications, PCC Network Solutions, DSLExtreme, Time Warner Cable and Xirrus, Inc. represented in the group’s ranks. Allen Horwitz, the vice president of the networking division at Chatsworth-based PCC Network Solutions, has found the group extremely worthwhile. “The CTC represents a place where the companies in the 101 Tech Corridor can get a chance to interact and share ideas in an incredible setting,” Horwitz said. “I’m ecstatic to be a part of it. It will be a place that will allow for a renaissance of high tech culture of Southern California to be shared and developed.” Horwitz isn’t the only local businessperson singing the praises of the organization. Brian Moeller, a Calabasas-based telecom engineer for Verizon, also gave high marks to the group. “The CTC is valuable because it provides a basis for people to network and spread the new ideas in convergent technologies like networking and IP telephony,” Moeller said. “It allows people to see what other people in the industry are doing. The CTC is unique because we bring in a lot of talent from a lot of different places. We have a lot of high level executives and managers, as well as technical engineers.” According to Borough, besides the monthly CTC meetings, the group will start offering all-day training sessions for interested parties in the various areas of convergence technology. Additionally, it will incorporate an annual conference locally with exhibitors and various lecturers. The group meets the third Thursday of every month at ValleyCrest Companies. There is no charge to attend.
New Organization Focuses on Emerging Technologies