Tech Toledo was a sponsor of the CodeMash 2017 conference (January 12 & 13), and it was a great experience. Instead of just attending, we had an “exhibitor table” where we engaged with the 2000 software developers and others who were spending the week at the Kalahari Convention Center/Resort/Waterpark in Sandusky.
We got a lot out of it!
We hung out with the tech community from Toledo that we already knew. Everyone is busy, so it was easier to touch base with some of the “regulars” at CodeMash than it was to track them down elsewhere. First Solar wins the “prize” as the local company who had the most CodeMash attendees (according to who stopped by our table, at least).
We met new software developers from the Toledo region. As soon as we think we know all of the IT people in the region (ToledoTechEvents.org, the meet-up groups), we find more who are not yet connected. One new person wants to start a local OWASP (web app security) chapter since she is tired of driving to Columbus every month. We are here to help with things like that.
When people from Cleveland, Columbus, Michigan, other parts of the midwest and the coasts stopped by, we told them what was happening in Toledo. We asked them what was going on where they live, like what meet-ups are active and what software bootcamps were popular. We connected a few of them with local companies and job opportunities.
We spread the word about TechHire. We did an Open Space session about our TechHire efforts. The Software Guild and Girl Develop It chapter leaders were also sponsors and we talked about how a conference like CodeMash could help us with our TechHire mission.
We got support in the form of signs and hand out materials from some of our partners: RPG, Ohio Means Jobs Lucas County, and EPIC Toledo. Several partners came to visit us and participate at our booth and see how CodeMash is different from other job/employer fairs. We talked about new ways to reach out to tech talent.
We also spent a little time with CodeMash organizers like Jason Follas and Greg Huber. They were really busy during the event, but they took some time out to talk with us about what makes CodeMash special and how Tech Toledo was experimenting as a “community sponsor.”
We enjoy CodeMash since it is a conference for software developers by software developers. The community/volunteer spirit runs through the whole event. Each year they try new things (like Open Spaces) when attendees are willing to put in the work to do new things. We did an Open Space talk on our TechHire efforts.
We are happy that we sponsored it and look forward to doing more next year. We are fortunate to have such a great event in our “backyard.” CodeMash spinoffs: TechBash.com in October and ThatConference.com in August.
CodeMash is a result of a midwest and Ohio tech culture you won’t find on the coasts.