COMMON Opening Session Highlights Excellence
May 8, 2017 Dan Burger
IBM i innovation and community service were singled out during the opening session of the COMMON Annual Meeting and Expo, which opened yesterday and continues through Wednesday in Orlando, Florida. Anan Ayyad, a recent graduate of Purdue University Northwest was the top student innovator for his work on an automotive data acquisition system. The Grand Rapids, Michigan, Association of Realtors received the Innovation Award for a modernization of its website that included WordPress running on IBM i and open source development in conjunction with RPG.
COMMON president Jeff Carey and IBM Cognitive Systems executives Stephanie Chiras and Steve Sibley presented the news to community.
Carey emphasized the importance of improving skills, developing careers, and interacting within the community. He jokingly referenced that everyone in attendance shared a goal of “defending against the dark hearts as a Microsoft logo was displayed to the audience.
Carey also noted the importance of engaging with the next generation of IT professionals (we are seeing more young faces in the community) and the work of the COMMON Education Foundation in fundraising and extending educational opportunities to more colleges and students. Requests for introductory education have increased, which led to COMMON creating two new “boot camps.” Carey described them as in-depth video training and self-help exercises for RPG and system administration. The videos are scheduled to be available in June 2017.
Chiras and Sibley directed most of their words toward raising the awareness of Watson Analytics and the capabilities of cognitive, artificial intelligence and machine learning. (See a separate story on Watson and IBM i integration in this issue of The Four Hundred.)
Top awards for service to the IBM community went to Kim Greene, an award winning speaker and subject matter expert in the IBM Notes and Domino area; Trevor Perry, an innovator, motivator and vocal IBM i advocate; and Kevin Mort, a long-time community volunteer and past president of COMMON.
Outstanding speakers have always been a large part of what attracts people to this conference. This year three individuals received prestigious gold awards, which are based on feedback from session evaluations from the previous conference. Larry Bolhuis, Pete Massiello, and Ted Holt were recipients this year. Holt, as many IT Jungle readers know, is a writer and editor for the Four Hundred Guru. Bolhuis and Massiello are well-known COMMON volunteers and have served on the organization’s board of directors.