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WSTPA summit plugs in again in Poulsbo

POULSBO — Last year, no one was sure if a gathering to talk about the future of technology in government and business would fly.

But 180 attendees at the Sons of Norway proved it could. The event drew visitors to the shores of Liberty Bay from Kitsap, Jefferson, Mason and Grant counties and even some from the other side of Puget Sound.

“When we had that turn out last year, it was kind of like, ‘Maybe you are on to something,’” said West Sound Technology Professionals Association member Charles Keating. “If we can, we need to keep the momentum going so it becomes more broad based and not just centralized in Kitsap.”

The WSTPA is hoping for the same kind of turn out or better when it hosts the 2nd Annual “Western Washington Summit on Technology and Economic Development Entrepreneurship” from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Sons of Norway. This year, organizers said the event, which focuses on the ever expanding technology field, will be bigger and better than ever.

Guest speakers for this year’s summit are: Allan Friedman, chairman of the Washington Regional Alliance for Infrastructure and Network Security; Ken Myer, president of Technology Alliance and principal of Atlantis Consulting Group, Inc. and last year’s keynote speaker; Larry Sivitz, managing editor of Seattle24x7; and Rick White, president and CEO of TechNet and former 1st District Congressman. Comments will also be made by WSTPA President Doña Keating; Congressmen Norm Dicks and Jay Inslee; and Catherine McGavin, WSTPA Board of Directors member and program and events committee chair.

“The people who are speaking are definitely of a national class level,” said Poulsbo City Councilman and telecommunication supporter Ed Stern. “This would be a big deal if it were in Seattle but that it’s in Poulsbo really speaks to the role we’ve played in leading the way with telecommunications in this area.”

White will serve as the keynote speaker for the event. An advocate for increasing the amount of technology available to the public in the next 10 years, White will speak on the role of technology in politics and vice versa.

“Should the tech community care about politics? I think absolutely the answer is yes,” Keating explained of White’s intended subject. “Obviously, government controls the direction we’re going but if we’re going to maintain our momentum we have to work collectively.”

Besides the chance to hear from industry leaders, the event is also a chance for the exchange of ideas. Keating said for instance last year, Phil Rockefeller was in the audience and was given the opportunity to respond to one of the guest speaker’s comments. He added that some very interesting discussion takes place just between attendees.

“The fact is, the networking facet and what happens in the audience as just as important as the speakers,” Keating said.

And while WSTPA members, industry leaders and local government officials will be in attendance, Keating said the summit is for anyone interested in technology issues. He said the public’s buy-in on technology upgrades in the future is essential, so he’d encourage any community member to attend.

“It’s not hard core technology.

We’re not going to be talking in bits and bytes,” Keating said. “This is really about government and business integrating technology. We’re appealing to government and industry leaders and also to the public.”

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information, call (206) 338-6554 or go to www.wstpa.org/summitregistration.asp.

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