(Photo by Jeff Fusco for the Tomorrow Tour)
Whoa, Philly Tech Week, which is starting later this week, is in its sixth year. And lots of you in the Philadelphia technology and entrepreneurship community have been with us since the beginning.
That’s why we wanted to show some love to some of the people who have had our back since the first Philly Tech Week way back in 2011. (Look at that hot website, which was produced (like every PTW website) by Northern Liberties dev shop Jarvus.)
1. The First Dollar
Fun fact: the first dollar Technical.ly ever made was for an advertisement bought by Chariot Solutions, the mobile dev company based in Montgomery County that is a big part of the region’s tech sector and has been a Philly Tech Week sponsor every single year.
Behind that purchase is a familiar face to anyone active in the Philly tech scene, Tracey Welson-Rossman — who wrote about her plans during #PTW16. She’s a cofounder of Philly Startup Leaders, Chariot’s CMO and better known locally today as the vocal founder of TechGirlz, the female-focused youth STEM learning group. Her Women in Tech Summit event series grew out of Philly Tech Week.
Does it surprise you at all then that she’s nominated for a Rad Girl Award for Educator of the Year during #PTW16?
2. The Artistic Intersection
Lots of people deserve credit for the Philly tech community’s long-held intersection with the arts (shoutout to arts/tech curator David Clayton) but perhaps the most influential person on Technical.ly’s early and consistent inclusion of digital arts and creative expression into Philly Tech Week is Georgia Guthrie. Now a designer with the Action Mill, her work with Nonprofit Technology Resources and the Hacktory has put her in a central PTW role.
3. The Civic Hackers
We were inspired from the start by what became civic hacking — technologists working for better citizen engagement — and so three early champions of this work have helped shape Philly Tech Week.
Call him the godfather of Philly’s open data movement, Azavea cofounder Robert Cheetham took hold of the launch of OpenDataPhilly.org during the inaugural Philly Tech Week. Along for the ride were two of this city’s first modern civic hackers, Tim Wisniewski, who is now the city’s Chief Data Officer, and Mjumbe Poe, a Code for America alum who also made the jump into Philly city government.
Azavea is hosting three geomapping events (here, here and here) in their brand-new offices, and Wisniewski and Poe will be visible throughout the week. (You might want to check out the #HacktheVote event.)
4. The Founder
One of the first groups to sign on to be a part of the very first Philly Tech Week was Philly Startup Leaders, the influential group of entrepreneurs and early-stage employees, mostly geared toward tech.
Along with Welson-Rossman above, Chris Cera was one of PSL’s founders and a decade-long familiar face of this city’s software business sector — he’s also a former member of coworking community Indy Hall, another early PTW partner. Cera has been a part of PSL’s celebrated Entrepreneur Expo (a destination to see the city’s tech startups that was founded as part of PTW), which again takes place this year, and his company ArcWeb will host a design-thinking event, led by Johnny Bilotta, another Indy Haller and longtime PTW supporter.
5. The Research Champion
The first big push on needing to include the area’s vibrant life sciences sector came from Steve Tang, the leader of the University City Science Center, which has been a venue, partner and sponsor of Philly Tech Week from the very start.
This year, the Science Center is hosting three events: the 4th annual PhillyForce Conference, a helpful intro to using online ticketing service Splash and a Startup Fundraising event from PACT, another longtime partner.
6. The Connective Counsel
From the very first Philly Tech Week event to today, Morgan Lewis attorneys Jeff Bodle and the legendary Steve Goodman have been there. Morgan Lewis has been a sponsor each year, which we appreciate greatly, but anyone will tell you (just as with so many of the people above) that their commitment to this community and our place in it won’t be forgotten.
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