Our favorite moments from Build IT Together Kalamazoo 2015

If you made it to Build IT Together 2015, we hope you had as great a time as we did. Build IT Together has always been about collaboration and building a strong IT community in West Michigan, and you were out in full force this May. We were delighted to see many familiar IT leaders, as well as some fresh faces from around the area.

Since Build IT began in 2013, it has become a really important part of the year for Newmind Group, and we wanted to share some of our favorite moments and thoughts from the conference.

Matt
“I loved our keynote speaker. He had a great mixture of humor and knowledgeability, and I was surprised at the mixture of levels within organizations—we had everything from IT interns to CEOs, and that kind of shows that we’re developing some influence and reputation in Kalamazoo.

I loved the dual perspective from Mike Cross and Ken Diggs. Really I just appreciated all of our speakers’ willingness to participate—they were all so transparent about what they do, and I think that’s a great indicator of the community that being created here.”

Dan J
“The diversity of the panelists in This is How We Do IT really struck me—from Ryan’s emphasis on SaaS to the Trillium team emphasizing complexity and control, to Murali’s higher strategic perspective of IT. It was a great contrast to see, and I think that was important to have those very different voices on the subject.

It’s always a highlight for me to see all the new people, and seeing the deeper participation. I loved seeing more organizations outside of Newmind speaking and participating on the sessions. We’ve seen the community get a little bit bigger, a little bit deeper, and a little bit more willing to share with each other, rather than Newmind taking the spotlight.”

Steve
“Chris’ keynote was my highlight of the event—I’m intrigued by the security backend of technology and just listening to him go through things, keying in on his talking points—that was really rewarding for me. Also I loved his message that personal experience, in many situations, trumps a security certification. I found it refreshing that he was down-to-earth in that sense.

It was fun to see some organizations having ‘aha!’ moments during the culture talk, hearing the varied ways that MHR and Bell’s and Newmind handle things.”

Dan P
“Chris’ keynote was awesome. He shed some light on a topic that doesn’t get a thorough perspective from mainstream sources, and on top of that, he gave attendees a list of actionable things to do to improve security—simple ones, like two-factor authorization! Emphasising those little details, the gravity of human error—I think that demystifies IT security in a productive way.”

Luke S
“A client of mine really benefitted from the Information Security keynote. Her organization going through some PCI compliance processes right now, so security was right out in front for them—how to keep their website secure, the state of Michigan is basically coming down pretty hard, and it was interesting hearing Chris’ take on that and his best practices and what businesses can do, like coming up with your own business continuity plan.

Stacey
“It was really cool to see three very different organizations come together to give the talk on This is how we do IT. Collaboration is really what we’re going for—Build IT is all about bringing the community together and I think that talk totally summed up that spirit. Getting insight from company practice, learning from each other—that’s how we stay relevant. I loved seeing guests benefit from that.”

Tyler
“I was surprised by the organizational diversity of speakers this year—small companies like Medical Health Resources, large companies like Greenleaf Hospitality Group, and middle of the road like Bell’s Brewing. We had financial institutions like Advia, service companies, and a handful of manufacturing companies.”

 
Recaps of specific sessions will soon be posted to the Build IT Together blog, but in the meantime, we encourage you to continue any conversations you started at the conference! Tweet back on any of the messages below, or join Build IT on Google+ and Linkedin, where the floor stays open year-round!

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About

Garrett Wenger is a storyteller and marketer at Newmind Group, and a native to Kalamazoo, MI. He received his BFA in English Literature from Western Michigan University, and has heritage in Southwest Michigan’s creative writing community. He published his first book of poetry in late 2013, and he has been featured in numerous literary journals.