COMMON Adds Youthfulness To Board Of Directors
May 21, 2012 Dan Burger
Like the flocking of birds and the schooling of fish, the COMMON user group continues to illustrate the rule of thumb that there is safety in numbers. Being part of a community, whether it revolves around IBM i or Power Systems or beer drinking and the telling of preposterous tales is social education, entertainment, and an important link to others who belong to your same tribe. Most people enjoy being with like-thinkers, even though there are often times when it seems we are less alike than previously thought.
Over the years, COMMON has been the community center where group activities, information exchange, and social support takes place. It doesn’t just happen like water filling your glass when you turn on the faucet. It takes volunteers and organization. Thankfully, COMMON has hundreds of volunteers and at the top of the organizational chart is an elected board of directors who have contributed in many facets of the community. Often the board consists of quickly recognized names and faces people with a great deal of energy and commitment.
Most of them are middle-aged, a reference point that seems to keep rising so that none of us ever gets kicked out of the club. Rarely does youth get served, but that actually happened during the recent elections for the board.
Justin Porter, 30 years young, has possibly set a record as the youngest person to be elected to the COMMON Board. The other members are president, Randy Dufault; executive vice president, Bob Krzeczowski; treasurer, Jeff Carey; secretary, Pete Helgren; and immediate past president, Pete Massiello. Their ages will remain undisclosed. Let’s call it “respect for our elders,” although in the interest of full disclosure, I’m no spring chicken myself.
The entire board deserves credit for their efforts in furthering COMMON’s goals of education, advocacy, and networking. However, it’s hard not to pay particular notice to Porter’s seat at the table. Those other guys have been working in the IBM midrange since Porter was a pup. You probably know them or know of them.
Although new to the board, Porter is not exactly the new kid on the block. He has had a guest seat on the COMMON board for the past two years as a representative of the Young i Professionals–a group that he, Aaron Bartell, and Brian May have propelled for several years. His experience includes being a member of several councils and committees including the COMMON America’s Advisory Council (CAAC), the Community and Networking (CaN) group, the Certification Steering Committee, and the Education Foundation.
His involvement in those groups identifies his passions and what he hopes to bring to the COMMON board. He expects to push for a greater emphasis on bringing the IBM i to the attention of college-aged IT enthusiasts through closer relationships with colleges and universities and thereby growing COMMON membership. He believes in the expansion of the COMMON certification program, with an increasing emphasis on the business side of IT. And he’s also interested in delivering COMMON educational offerings through video and interactive labs, methods, he says, are more favorably received by the younger generation of IT professionals and those seeking careers in IT.
Porter’s day job is as the director of technology for Westside Produce in Firebaugh, California, where he’s a one-man IT department handling infrastructure design, annual budgeting, and the implementation of all things IT. He joined Westside Produce full-time in 2004 after two years of seasonal employment, while finishing his undergraduate studies in communication and sociology at the University of California, Davis. In 2010, he received his MBA from Santa Clara University with an emphasis on finance and agribusiness.