Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Another Year of Growth for the Institute of Technology at the University of Washington Tacoma

The academic year started last Weds the 30th of September. 

I think back to when the Institute of Technology was just an idea with the starting point of 30 to 60 students enrolled in a computer science major that had the terrible name of Computer Software and Systems.  
Starting in 2015 we have 750 plus Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students in five programs and two centers for research. More programs on the horizon.
It has been an amazing journey with plenty of ups and downs along the way.

Let's give the credit where it is due. The Washington Technology Industry Association, Ed Lazowska and true leaders of Tacoma like Herb Simon and others pushed for more high demand degree programs and the UWT was the place to make it happen. 

I was happy to have served on the education committee for the WTIA (at that time the WSA) when the workforce report came out. 

The founding director of the Institute, Dr. Larry Crum, had a vision for a polytechnic with a large student body and I was lucky that he envisioned a position that would recruit someone out of industry with a strong tech business background.  It was a very different type of position that required a title change and that would allow me to not only teach but to stay involved with young companies as well. 

Governor Gary Locke signed the legislation that funded the Institute and I was pleased he announced the initiative and made the official declaration in my Managing Technical Teams class.  At that time a single engine train used to come through the middle of campus twice a week.  It felt like a single A baseball team that needs to take an outfield wall down to let the local train cross through the field.

The second director, Dr. Orlando Baiocchi, and Associate Director Dr. Larry Wear founded the Computer Engineering program, the second high tech high demand degree program that cemented the idea that the Institute wasn't just about computer science.

Dr. Sam Chung and Dr. Ankur Teredesai founded the IT program. Sam and Barbara Endicott Popovsky created the Cybersecurity Center and Ankur presides over the Center for Data Science. 

The third Director Rob Friedman championed our growth at 20 to 25 percent over the last several years. The current director Dr. Raj Katti will no doubt see an EE program take shape by 2016 or so. 

I feel like Woody Allen's great character Zelig, always appearing somewhere in the background.

Friday, June 5, 2015

SiteCrafting Expands into New Quarters in the (slightly tongue in check) Emerging Dome Tech District

Congratulations are in order to Brian Forth and all the folks at SiteCrafting.  The company has  been a Tacoma fixture for 17 years and they just moved into some very cool digs near Lemay and the Tacoma Dome.

First, the exterior is polished and professional.  No messing around when it comes to knowing you have arrived at the offices.  The companies logo, familiar from so many views on the web, looks great as the mantle about the door to the building.

Even more impressive is the open concept interior.  The view from the loft, office at the top of the stairs gives an idea of how things are laid out.

The open beams remind me of the tech company vibe of Pioneer Square in Seattle.  The walls have messaging on all sides.  My favorite is the mission statement for the company (not shown) that appears on the dividing wall that separates a open lounge, meeting area and the kitchen.

I attended their open house on June 3rd and ran into many of the Tacoma community and technology crowd including Tom Pierson, President and CEO of the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, who said a few words and presided over the ribbon cutting.  

Additionally and equally impressive was the roll out of a new LLC housed within SiteCrafting's building call GearLab.  With an already impressive list of clients, they provide usability testing, user research, and content strategy.

From their web site:

GearLab is equipped with the latest technology for testing across all platforms and screen sizes, including an eye tracking system that records the movements of a subject's saccades. The Lab is separated into two spaces - the lab itself and an observation room, creating flexibility to fit the testing that makes sense for your project.
S-Vidia is moving in to office not far from theirs and another cybersecurity company is housed next door.  With four companies with technology grounding as part of their product services I am now going to casually throw around the phrase "T-Dome tech-district" whenever I talk about SiteCraftings new location.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Last Chance to Experience the Mysterious UWT Aural Event

There has been some excitement for the addition of a large W to the UWT campus at the top of the Grand Staircase.  It will be located in an area that is considered one of the best views on campus.

Not only that, but discourse on the coloration of the letter, in association with the feel of the campus and the city (not my view but a common one) has been held.  "UW Tacoma’s new installation will be eight feet tall and made of steel."

But note where it is going to be located.  Great spot, right?  Yes....but.

Something will be lost when it goes up,  A little UWT secret that I stumbled across years ago and still present to anyone I am giving a campus tour to.  Now, in no way I am advocating that a different location be selected.  I think this is the right spot. 

So I am telling you this now so that you can experience it yourself before construction and installation begins.  To do so means that you will be privy to a soon to be forgotten University of Washington Tacoma audio anomaly.  See the crossing lines below.  Stand at the intersection, in the center of the cross.  Exactly in the center facing outward down the staircase or it won't work.  Look out toward the arch of the History Museum and say "Go Huskies!" or "Andrew Fry is an idiot" or anything you please.  Experience the magic.

Now of course there is a simple scientific explanation, of which I will not give until after you have tried.  I'll wait.

Most importantly, do this soon.  As once the W goes up, the mystery will be gone.  

Unless they place the W about two feet further out than the picture suggests.

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

South Sound Technology Conference 2015 This Friday March 6th

This Friday, March 6th, William Philip Hall on the UWT campus will be filled with hundreds of attendees to the South Sound Technology Conference.  Having chaired the conference for 14 of it's 15 years I am pleased to say that Congressman Adam Smith and Congressman Derek Kilmer are once again are honorary co-chairs of the South Sound Technology Conference.  Congressman Adam Smith will be there in person to provide some opening remarks in the 2015 addition of this 15 year running showcase for technology and entrepreneurship in the South Puget Sound.

The annual South Sound Technology Conference, which is hosted by the Institute of Technology at the University of Washington Tacoma and slated for this Friday, March 6th, brings together leaders from industry, education and government from around the state to discuss and demonstrate technological innovations and their ongoing applications.

This year the conference will highlight information and cybersecurity in its keynote addresses and some of the panels. Janine Teranno, CEO of Topia Technology will be the morning keynoter and discuss information protection in the cloud, and Bill Boni discuss protecting the infrastructure and your information.  Panel and keynote presentations - including networking opportunities - provide a venue to discuss, explore, understand and deploy technology as a solution, an opportunity and an advantage. These panels will include entrepreneurial networking opportunities, a discussion of the Kaufmann 1 Million Cups Tacoma project along with success stories and how technology will provide solutions for energy issues in the future.

Bill Boni is Corporate Information Security Officer and Vice President Enterprise Information Security for T-Mobile U.S.A. An information-protection specialist for 30 years, Boni joined T-Mobile in 2009. Previously, he was Corporate Security Officer of Motorola Asset Protection Services. Throughout his career, he has helped organizations design and implement cost-effective programs to protect both tangible and intangible assets. He pioneered the application of computer forensics and intrusion detection to deal with incidents directed against electronic business systems. He was awarded CSO Magazine’s “Compass Award” and “Information Security Executive of the Year – Central” in 2007.

South Sound Technology Conference 2015 Program
9 - 9:15 am
Opening Remarks
Congressman, Adam Smith
Congressman, Derek Kilmer
Institute of Technology Director, Dr. Rob Friedman
Chair, Andrew Fry

9:15 –  9:45 am
Morning Keynote Address
Janine Terrano, CEO

9:50 – 10:45 am
Morning Panel: Securing Infrastructure and Information

Chair: Bryan Goda: Panel:
Merike Kaeo – IID,
Mike Hamilton – WA State Department of OCIO
Steven R. Ketelsen - student in the Master of Cybersecurity & Leadership

10:45 – 11am
11 – 11:50 am

Breakout One - Entrepreneurial Networking

Chair: Lynnette Claire - TEN
Nara McDonald – Chamber of Commerce
Michael Lane – Crowdfunding Club
Kala J. Dralle – Monday Meet-ups
Amy Sallin – Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship
Breakout Two – The Role Of Technology In Bringing Clean Energy To Market'

Chair: Graham Evans – Climate Solutions
Joe Tellez – Tacoma Public Utilities
George Mobus – Institute of Technology
Chad Condon -  Computer Engineering Student UWT
Rogers Weed - VP Product Mgmt. 1Energy Systems

12 – 12:45 pm
Lunch Keynote Address
Bill Boni, CISO of T-Mobile

12:45 – 1 pm  - Break
1 – 1:50pm
Breakout Three: Military and Mid-Career Transitioning into Cybersecurity
Chair:  Dr. Barbara Endicott-Popovsky – Center of Excellence in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity & Institute of Technology
Scott Klauminzer – Tacoma Public Utilities
Jackson Robinson – Microsoft
Morgan Zantua – Creates architect
David Shaw – CEO Global Business Analysis

2 -3 pm
Breakout Four: 1 Million Cups Success Stories
Chair: Andrew Fry – Institute of Technology
Jim Kastama – Kastama and Associates
Derek Young – Tacoma Runners
Chris Shepard – Choose Vets
Stephen Tibbets - FabLab            

Student Samplers – Poster sessions
3 - 4 pm

Conference Closing – Birds of a Feather Launch

Friday, February 27, 2015

Blue Black White Gold and RIP

"You're out of your mind, Bones! The clearly... blue... and black!!" - Kirk
"Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor not a fashion designer, but the dress is clearly white and gold"
- McCoy
"Light enters the eye through the lens—different wavelengths corresponding to different colors. The light hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes those signals into an image. Critically, though, that first burst of light is made of whatever wavelengths are illuminating the world, reflecting off whatever you’re looking at. Without you having to worry about it, your brain figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at, and essentially subtracts that color from the “real” color of the object."
- Spock
RIP Leonard Nimoy
(and thanks for the explanation Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Creating Long Term Engagement with Outreach

The outreach engagement in service to the community starts with a project:

Institute of Technology, Student Project with JBLM’s Fisher House

Historically, military families traveling to Madigan Army Medical Center at JBLM who wanted to stay at nearby Fisher House had to download, print, and fax, or scan and email necessary information forms to Fisher House for verification before being able to reserve their stay. The process was slow and difficult for families who were often traveling and did not have access to the technology they needed to be able to return the forms quickly. Families can now submit their applications online thanks to a team of UW Tacoma students who built online useable forms and a supporting database for Fisher House.

The project was an assignment in Andrew Fry’s “Managing Technical Teams” course in University of Washington Tacoma’s Institute of Technology calling on students to directly make a contribution to the community utilizing technology.

Though I go into the course with several projects in my back pocket that will meet the requirement of "Making a Contribution to the Community Utilizing Technology" ( a mantra in the class) my initial push is for the student teams to find the projects themselves.  It is an opportunity for them to help an organization they have an affiliation with or support for.  An example is that in college when I acted a a philanthropy officer I worked to raise money for the American Diabetes Association, as my father had the disease.

The most successful teams in the course are usually driven by a project manager(s) who has a personal interest in the success of the effort.

Such was the case for the group of students who gave themselves the team name of Altruistic Technologies.  They have the matching T-shirts to further embrace their identity.  There work on the Fischer House was one of the prime examples of how a student team can make a difference to a non-profit.  The Foundation explains their service such:

Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.
These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, close to the medical center or hospital they serve. Fischer Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. Since inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $235 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.

At the end of the quarter the team presented the results of their project and announced that two of the students would continue the work through internship.  The next quarter another student on the team took to baton and carried on the work to a ninth month of service.  Today I found out that four students will be next up in created a phase two for the Fischer House as part of their Senior Project.
This all caught the attention of three star General Lanza, who came by yesterday to recognize the great work that these students were part of.  Congrats team Altruistic Technologies Branden Hiatt (Retired Sergeant First Class),  Chi Sennhotz (Army Veteran),  Xiaoju Bin,  Kyle Veldhuizen,  Sung Lee,  Saurabh Singh and Nick Kravchuk

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tacoma Means Business on Business Matters

During the month of December I am featured on the program Business Matters talking about "word clouds" in the Tacoma Means Business segment.  In this segment, I am particularly ill dressed and my hair is quite disheveled.  My fault of course as I took time off from a rather busy week of classes, work and family activity to record the segment.

I generally do three to four segments a sitting, so I believe I am representing myself as somewhat slovenly for the months of Oct through December.  I just wrapped up four more last week so at least I will be in a nice jacket with a reasonable hair situation four the first third of 2015.

I started doing the segment back when it was called Economic Gardening about five years ago.  They changed the name when it became clear that too many people thought it was a gardening segment.  I can imagine viewers writing in to complain about the decided lack of plants.  At that time it was on a rotating basis with other industry experts.  In all I have probably recorded about 35 or more segments to date thanks to producer David Gordon putting up with my winging it half the time.

What is funny is that I never have thought about it much, other than I enjoy doing them, but when I was younger there was nothing more that I wanted than to be a television reporter.  My first few years of working were with KIRO television in the news room as a floor director/chyron operator.  I then went to the film room (yes, we would run film to be shown on television and I would trim down the movies and shows to fit the time period) and eventually worked for PM Magazine for a while.  My first company out of college was a video production company before I changed careers and went into the field of software and application development.

At this point I am simply happy to be able to do what I love.  Teaching, connecting people, organizing conferences and entrepreneurial events, raising a family and occasionally showing up on Channel 12 in the South Sound on Business Matters, hosted by Mike Wark.