IBM i Manifest Americas Faces New Dilemma
April 4, 2011 Dan Burger
IBM i Manifest Americas marketing person Jenniefer Halverson is leaving the IBM i advocacy group after only four months. It’s a shame, because during her time there the organization gained momentum that it did not have before her arrival. Whether this vehicle has engine strong enough to pull it up the steep hills that lie ahead is yet to be seen. For the time being, this is a setback.
Two factors played a role in Halverson’s decision. The first was a new job opportunity with a burgeoning company in the Windows market. The position was going to be very demanding of her time. Prior to that career choice, Halverson had been contracted to do marketing and business development for S4i Systems, an IBM i ISV specializing in document management and disk space management. She had also done similar work for Centerfield Technology, a database performance software company in the IBM i community. Her new position is director of marketing with Hardcore Computer, a Rochester, Minnesota, manufacturer of high performance computer systems.
The second factor is related to the first. In making a job transition outside the IBM i community, Halverson says there were people within the IBM i Manifest Americas group who believed that to be a conflict of interest. The indication of this arose during an i Manifest Webcast March 25 attended by ISVs and product developers.
“Jen was doing a great job,” says Jeff Olen, one of the IBM i Manifest Americas leaders along with Mike Pavlak and Frank Soltis. “She was getting the word out getting new people involved. I can’t say enough about the good stuff she did while she was with us.”
Olen says he was “bitterly disappointed” the way things unfolded during the recent Webcast.
“When you have a group of people trying to come together voluntarily due to their interest in the IBM i platform, and you have a percentage that’s not even close to the majority saying that she should leave due to a conflict of interest, that’s a big enough number to be concerned. And I think Jen was concerned about that,” Olen says.
Olen says he had no concerns about a conflict of interest interfering with Halverson’s work for IBM i Manifest Americas.
“I felt like the way that this happened was not the way that it should have gone,” he says.
Olen pointed out that in mid-May the company he works for is moving him into a position that has him working on Linux boxes and writing Java code. “I’ve been an IBM i guy for 20-plus years. But career-wise, it makes sense for me to capitalize on my Java and PHP skills. Does that mean I’m no longer someone who should be leading the organization? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out.”
Olen describes the future of iManifest as up in the air at the moment.
“We have some people we are talking with–I’m not going to name names, but they are very well-known people within the IBM i community–about taking the reins of the organization,” he says. “We feel that something needs to continue.”
What’s needed, Olen says, is to continue Halverson’s efforts toward organizing, gaining members, establishing a financial foundation, and putting together events such as Webcasts and maybe a conference.