Following Amtrak tragedy, we must act on infrastructure: CloudMine CEO - Technical.ly Philly

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May 14, 2015 10:50 am

Following Amtrak tragedy, we must act on infrastructure: CloudMine CEO

Tuesday's train crash was a wake-up call. Brendan McCorkle explains how the tech community can rally behind ApprenNet's loss.
Rails connect us.

Rails connect us.

(Photo by Flickr user Andrew Evans, used under a Creative Commons license)

This is a guest post by CloudMine CEO Brendan McCorkle.
This was not the blog post I was hoping to write this morning.

It was supposed to be a post about the responsibilities of a Board of Directors and the CEO as a company grows and considers going public.

Then I heard the news.

I had been gathering data, talking to our investors, talking to other investors in the community, as well as peers of mine. One of those peers is Dan Lopez of ApprenNet. Dan has been a friend and fellow tech entrepreneur for years. Dan and I regularly ride, swim and sometimes run together, having both added to our love of cycling by doing triathlons as a way of holding the stress of our crazy jobs at bay.

Connectedness is one of our greatest assets, but it depends on sound infrastructure.

As you can imagine, much of our conversation is about the growing pains we’ve both experienced, through CloudMine’s growth as well as that of ApprenNet, as Lopez transitioned to running product at the edtech startup. The most recent manifestation of growth at ApprenNet had been the addition of a wonderful CEO, Rachel Jacobs. ApprenNet was growing, the revenue was growing, founder Karl Okamoto had gracefully transitioned back into an advisory role.

Last night Rachel Jacobs was confirmed as one of the casualties of the Amtrak 188 crash in Port Richmond, Philadelphia. I did not personally know Rachel, but I feel like I did, through the team she chose to join, from a distillation of her goals I got through Dan, through the community she had just joined.

The title of the blog post I suddenly found myself lost in was going to be “Bringing on a Professional CEO is Hard.”

But it’s not supposed to be this hard.

One of the many advantages of Philadelphia is the ease of access to both New York City and D.C. by train. This tragic accident tore not only a vital piece out of a thriving company and technology community without warning, but it also revealed a tragic flaw in our city’s vital infrastructure — the day before a vote on funding this infrastructure.

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I have been on that train over 100 times, our investors are on it weekly, our employees as well. No one can possibly feel this pain more acutely than our friends at ApprenNet, Rachel’s family and friends and those others affected by the tragic losses from Amtrak 188.

What we can do, as a community, is reach out to our representatives (see below) and let them know that cutting funding for Amtrak will make this worse, will weaken the local and regional economy and will soften key ties that make the Philadelphia region so great.

There are no words that can take back what happened Tuesday, but we must speak if we are to avoid something similar happening again. It’s imperative for our community to speak up to our representatives and make a case for funding the critical infrastructure that helps make this city such a great place to live, work and play.

Involved in the Appropriations Committee vote:

  • Contact House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)
  • Contact Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.)
  • Contact Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) (on the Appropriations Committee)
  • Contact Rep. Charles Dent (R-Pa.) (on the Appropriations Committee)
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Companies: Amtrak, CloudMine
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