Geeks with vision: the Chamber's technology advisory panel focuses on how technology changes business.

Author:Erickson, Hans
Position:Member Outreach

Our Technology Advisory Panel was started back in 2004 with the idea that we wanted to support our technology member companies by finding ways to help them to deal with challenges that are unique to this new and expanding part of our economy. We also realized we needed help understanding an increase in the amount of legislative change at all levels of government that were targeted at or significantly affected companies in technology industries.

What has grown from this informal gathering of geeks over the last few years is a deeper understanding of issues being faced in the Detroit economy for technology companies, and a refreshingly upbeat perspective from most of Metro Detroit's economy, which tends toward the negative these days. What was also a surprise is that hidden not too far under the thick skin of the technology entrepreneur is the spirit of a regional citizen that is hungry to get engaged in making their home a better place.

From its inception a few guiding principles were established that still direct the committee today:

* To find the unique aspects of tech companies and try to leverage those for our members.

* To educate panel members about what is going on legislatively at local, state and federal levels that pertain specifically to technology and to get their feedback on how the chamber should represent them.

* To provide opportunities for companies to collaborate in the pursuit of new business.

* To have a good time!

When asked about some of the reasons that they attend quarterly meetings, our current members had a variety of experiences to share:

Jeffrey Adik of Intraduce, LLC noted a variety of benefits, ranging from outings with other members on Mackinac Island during the Machinac Policy Conference to education on new technology initiatives such as Wireless Oakland (Phil Berlolini from Oakland County came in to present on this topic to the panel).

Antoine Dubeauclard of Media Genesis said, "For me the part that is interesting is the meetings where bigger issues are discussed. Sure there are advantages of networking and knowing peers, but the real interesting dimension is having lively discussions on the direction on technology issues and how that affects all businesses. Knowing that the Chamber can then influence policy, or...

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