Wisconsin Tech Conference A Smart Move
February 11, 2013 Dan Burger
There is a strong win-win for the attendees of the annual technical conference hosted by the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professionals Association and the companies that send IT staff to the two-day educational conference. You could call it leading IT in leaner times, or leveraging human resources, or better investing in IT as a company asset. There’s a payoff for smart employees and smart companies.
WMCPA has chosen a session agenda made up of lectures and labs and keynote addresses that covers topics that the majority of IBM i shops want and need to hear about with a lineup of speakers who have ferreted out the secrets and the insider tips and techniques that deliver the take it home and put it to use value attendees are eager to acquire.
More than 30 lecture and lab sessions spread across two days. The list of session topics includes cloud computing, SQL, RPG, backup and recovery, Web services, hardware upgrade considerations, PHP, RPG OA, and mobile application development. This list is not inclusive; there are others as well. The complete session grid can be seen here.
In addition to those sessions, there is a pre-conference one-day session on the topic of IBM i virtualization presented by Larry Bolhuis. It takes place on Tuesday, March 12. Topics include choosing an environment, the decision between an IBM i and VIOS; the configuration and installation required of each of the environments, including the command line, the HMC, and the virtual partitioning manager; and also the configuration and installation of the client partition. There’s no additional charge for this session for those who are registered for the two-day conference.
Also scheduled for the day before the conference officially begins is an experts’ roundtable. The panel of experts consists of Allison Butterill, IBM i product offering manager; Jon Paris and Susan Gantner, two of the three partners at System i Developer; Mike Pavlak, solutions consultant from Zend Technologies; David Brault, product marketing manager at LANSA; and Robert Swanson, senior partner at CNX. All of these folks are making presentations during the conference.
Butterill, in addition to leading several sessions during the conference, is also booked Wednesday for a keynote presentation on application development strategy.
Other notable and experienced conference speakers include Rob Bestgen, Jim Ritchart, Debbie Saugen, Jim Oberholtzer, Charles Guarino, David Dyskal, Aaron Saray, Paul Lucas, and Trevor Perry, the keynote speaker Thursday.
COMMON certification testing is available all three days: March 12, 13, and 14. COMMON has two business computing certifications and an ILE RPG certification. For more on the COMMON certification program, follow this link.
Jim Buck, president of the WMCPA and the instructor who oversees the RPG curriculum at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, branch of Gateway Technical College, makes sure there is a student element to the conference. He has six of his current students working at the conference and 15 others will attend. Buck also noted that the conference director, Ajay Gomez, was one of his Gateway students just three years ago. Another of his graduates, Chandra Craig serves as the secretary of the WMCPA. He also noted that Char Parker, CIS coordinator and a faculty member at Muskegon Community College in Michigan will be bringing five students to the Wisconsin Tech Conference.
“Student involvement is a personal growth experience for them,” Buck says. “Someday these people will need to take over the user group and the conference. It’s important to our future and the future of the platform.”
Hosting the 28th annual WMCPA tech conference is the Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wisconsin, which is located 50 miles southwest of downtown Milwaukee and 100 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. Nearby towns include Janesville, Madison, Racine, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Rockford and Waukegan, Illinois. Attendees from Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota also have been represented at past conferences, which have been drawing between 100 and 150 participants in recent years. That puts this event among the top local user group conferences in the United States.
Registration fees for members are $350 for one day and $500 for two days. For non-members the registration is $475 for one day and $650 for two days. These rates apply to registrations made before March 1. After that date, a $100 late fee is added. Room rates are $85 per night at the Lake Lawn Resort.