Jill Dugaw has been named Executive Director for IT-oLogy Upstate and has continued establishing a presence among business, academic and economic development partners in the Upstate to advance the IT-oLogy mission of growing the information technology talent pipeline. As executive director, Dugaw will be responsible for operations, marketing, fundraising and programming. She will be meeting with corporate and academic leaders in the region to establish a network of IT partners who will facilitate collaborative efforts to heighten awareness of IT-oLogy’s three main initiatives: to Promote IT, Teach IT, and Grow IT.

“We will be looking for those who will partner with us in an advisory capacity, as well as those who can volunteer to work with students and professionals to advance the need for quality IT talent in the region,” said Dugaw. “I look forward to meeting with those who have an interest in working with us on this critical mission.”

Dugaw has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 10 years, the last five years building and activating a new healthcare campus in the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System called Village at Pelham. She implemented and oversaw the Patient Advocacy program for that campus, and oversaw staff at both System campuses. Dugaw is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a B.S. in Anthropology/ Sociology. Welcome Jill!

Trends 2013 a Success!

September 18th, 2013 | Posted by Emily in Grow IT | IT-oLogy Columbia - (0 Comments)

With 250 registered attendees, 9 speakers, and countless companies and organizations represented, the Trends 2013 conference brought to the forefront the importance of Actionable Analytics. From tweets to photos to online articles, local media and conference attendees spread the word about Trends. Thank you to the sponsors, partners, and attendees of Trends 2013!

At the beginning of the conference IT-oLogy asked the Trends attendees to let us know what they were thinking throughout the day via social media. Using the hashtag #Trends2013 IT-oLogy was able to track how things were going in the presentations, during the event, and even the food and snacks! Overall we received numerous tweets and photos documenting Trends’ success. Here are some of our favorite tweets and photos of Trends 2013!













Did we list any of your tweets? If you attended Trends, what was your favorite part of the conference?


 Charlotte 2

“We are pleased to announce the 2013-2015 IT-oLogy Executive Council for the Charlotte region.  We are honored to welcome these executive leaders who offer us guidance and strategic vision.”

- Kay Read, Executive Director IT-oLogy Charlotte

Magdy Attia,  Johnson C Smith University STEM College Dean; Chair Frank Boncimino, TW Cable SVP & CIO; Caralyn Brace, Unisys VP & General Manager; Olin Broadway, UNC Charlotte Executive in Residence; Ken Chinchar, twtelecom, General Manager; Terry Cox, Big Council President & CEO; John Fread, Logical Advantage COO; Josh Jewitt, Family Dollar SVP & CIO; David Jones, Peak 10 President & CEO;  Cindy Moss, Discovery Education Global STEM Director; Chris Paynter CPCC Dean STEM & Sustainability; Michael Praeger, AvidXchange President; Ken Russell, Cisco Director Intellectual Capital Transformation;  Roy Stansbury, Capgemini VP & Managing Director Financial Services; Valerie Truesdale, Learning Executive & CIO; Jim Van Fleet, Launchpad Academy Founder; Linda Vickers, TIAA-CREF VP Client Transitions; Keva Walton, Charlotte Chamber SVP Member Engagement; Todd Wilkes, Premier Inc VP Solution Development; Theresa Wilson, Wells Fargo EVP & CIO; Mark Wyatt, Duke Energy VP Grid Modernization

Collaboration: Easier Said Than Done

September 18th, 2013 | Posted by Emily in IT-oLogy Defined - (1 Comments)


The folowing is a message from IT-oLogy president, Lonnie Emard.

Over the last several years, I have personally used the term collaboration nearly every day to describe how a non-profit consortium like IT-oLogy will achieve its desired results.  Our mission to advance IT talent really means that each partner understands how their company’s role fits as part of the ecosystem that enables more individuals to have the IT and digital skills to meet the needs of employers in a community.

While the components and audiences of people that make up the four distinct collaboration areas listed below are numerous, it is vital to the success of collaboration to recognize which partners are in the best position to lead certain projects, because they possess the domain knowledge and the expertise to respond to new requirements and implement change.  The four areas that come together in the IT-oLogy model are:

1)      Academia

2)      Business (industry, government)

3)      Economic Development

4)      Media

The collaborative relationship of these areas has unfolded these past four years. Academia is responding to the collective voice of all industry partners in changing curriculum, delivering more applied learning, and aligning to business needs while employers are investing in the process from both a short term and a long term ROI and allowing professionals to give back by getting involved in workforce preparation, as well as collaborating on professional development. The media has helped us change the conversation sharing the results of studies that show how big the gap is, that IT is in every industry and that digital skills are in every job.   The final piece is where collaboration truly reveals itself, when those in economic development and commerce within a community fully engage and support the talent programs that yield strategic competitive advantage, which in this case is the demand for Information technology and digital skill related talent.

Each partner has a chance to see the ROI of their investment in IT-oLogy because the ecosystem of partners across each of these areas give each of us a lever that we otherwise would not have had.  There is clearly efficiency, effectiveness and financial stewardship embedded in the decision to be a part of something impactful like IT-oLogy.

Having experienced this collaboration with all of the current partners of IT-oLogy, let me close by saying “THANK YOU” and we expect that investments will continue.  For those that are not yet partners, we look forward to locking arm in arm with you and collaborating on this very important mission.

Weijie (Daniel) Chen 1
My name is Weijie Chen, and I am from China and have been in the United States about one and a half years. I came here to pursue my Master’s Degree in Computer Science at Clemson University. I am a development intern for AvidXchange, a leading provider of AP and payment automation solutions. This is my first internship, and also my first time working in the United States

I only have one semester left until I graduate, so this was the last summer I had to get some real work experience for my future career. I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to intern with AvidXchange. Although the intern program just began this summer, it was well-organized and provided a great training system for the new crew.

At the beginning of the internship I received orientations from all departments including development, marketing, product management, and sales. It helped me to get an overview of the whole company and to understand our solutions and target markets.  I was assigned a mentor, which was really helpful. The mentor explained the whole structure of the internship, and answered all of my questions. Besides the technology, the daily communication with my mentor made it easier for me to identify with the company culture and join in activities with my colleagues.

After two weeks of training, then we started working on a small project with the team. All my co-workers are so kind and brilliant, and they helped to answer all of my questions and solve any problems. They provided me with guidance to become a better programmer and professional employee. In addition, everyone in the company smiles a lot and I love the atmosphere here. We work hard and play hard together, and I definitely feel like the company is one big family.

This 8 week internship program allowed me to discover what kind of company I want to work for after I graduated. I definitely know I want to work with generous people in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, like what I experienced at AvidXchange. When the internship is over I will head back to school with skills that I know I could never have learned in a classroom.

Jeremy Meyer 1My name is Jeremy Meyer, and I am a rising junior at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN studying computer science. I’m currently a software development intern at AvidXchange in Charlotte, NC, a growing company that provides automated AP and bill payment solutions to middle market companies nationwide. I’ve always been interested in science and technology, and I originally majored in physics, but after my first year at Purdue I realized how many opportunities there are in the field of IT and decided to switch my major to computer science. So far, it looks like I made the right choice.

My experience at AvidXchange has been amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to work on projects that have a real impact on the company, and I’m really enjoying the culture at AvidXchange which emphasizes collaboration and learning from each other. I have experienced the many technologies used in the software industry, and that experience will give me an edge no matter where I go next.

Last year I joined the Purdue Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club and I will be taking a web startup class in the fall to learn more about entrepreneurship in the technology field. As I continue to work on projects with other students at Purdue, my hope is to eventually develop a software solution with business potential. At Purdue, computer science students are given the option to choose tracks which emphasize a particular field. I am currently in the software engineering track and the machine intelligence track. I am especially interested in machine intelligence, which is becoming increasingly relevant as the world becomes more connected through technology. Machine intelligence involves learning algorithms which use existing data to help develop software that can automate many tasks and make predictions. Machine learning is already used in many applications, such as email spam filters, voice recognition software, search engines like Google and Bing, and is even used to make product recommendations on Amazon or Netflix. In a world of technology there is just so much to experience, and I learn new things every day. Whether I get a job at a technology company after graduation or start my own, I’m definitely excited for the future.

Message from Lonnie Emard

August 13th, 2013 | Posted by Emily in IT-oLogy Defined - (0 Comments)

Lonnies-mugshotHaving just returned from the CIO 100 Awards and National Conference, it seems appropriate to write about convincing reinforcement for our IT-oLogy mission to advance IT talent.  The nation’s top Chief Information Officers gathered to both honor achievements and to discuss the impact of digital disruption to traditional business models.  CIO Magazine, the sponsor of the event,  brought thought leaders together to share best practices about how IT executives and business leaders must work together to enable this exciting but challenging future.

Based on survey data from CIOs gathered by CIO magazine and Forrester Research, the top two obstacles inhibiting most companies are: first, creating the necessary energy of the entire corporate workforce to embrace the changes necessary to complete all the things required in order to take advantage of advanced technological and business innovation. Second, resolving the issue of an inadequate supply of IT professionals across an ever changing set of roles that includes a greater number of employees with a blended skill set of IT and business specific knowledge and skills.

With respect to both of these issues, IT-oLogy programs across our 3 initiatives are proving that we can change the quantity and quality of the resources necessary for companies to not only survive, but thrive.  As I presented the IT-oLogy model and non-profit collaborative approach, many of these top CIOs expressed tremendous interest in both local and national IT-oLogy programs.  Several CIOs in attendance from existing IT-oLogy partner companies, including Lee Congdon of Red Hat and David Johnson of Life Cycle Engineering, were vocal and shared the value that IT-oLogy has meant to their organizations.

Shakeel Bhamani 1This summer I was grateful to find an internship opportunity at AvidXchange. I had applied to over 50 companies in two days when I came home from college (not to mention about 50-100 more at career fairs) and decided that this looked like my best option. However, after receiving my offer letter I began to worry a bit. My expectations coming in were not too high—considering I had no idea what to expect. AvidXchange’s internship program was brand new and I was one of their first interns! Because of my inexperience, I expected that I would be pretty much useless. I was told that there would also be a graduate student intern with me as well. I thought that if I had to work with someone so experienced that I would definitely be looked down upon, and the other interns would just do all the work.

The day finally came for me to drive up to the office, and as soon as I turned right onto Metropolitan Avenue I felt a rush of excitement flow through me. The area was beautiful and just the kind of lively atmosphere that I desired. I drove up five parking garage levels only to get lost, but I finally found the office after calling my recruiter to get directions from inside the building. However, I was given such a warm welcome and met some of the coolest people ever that I forgot about being lost. Our supervisor even took us out to lunch on the first day! I was blown away by everyone’s excitement for the new interns when the CEO and other leaders announced us starting at the weekly staff meeting!

What happened in the next two weeks is too much to write in a blog post. But, to keep it simple, I learned more about computer science than I imagined I could in two short weeks. Most of my summer goals regarding computer science were accomplished by the end of the first few weeks. I learned the basics of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Visual Studio, C#, SQL, and lots more! I also got to learn through numerous presentations how a software company actually runs. My brain was just overflowing with all this knowledge, and I felt like I would forget it all and never get to apply it here. I found out soon enough that I was about to use everything I just learned to accomplish a real world task.

We were finally assigned our project after a few weeks of PAID training (not bad, huh?). I didn’t know if I would be able to accomplish it, but with the help of my fellow interns and co-workers we pulled through! Not only did I apply everything that I had learned my freshman year at Georgia Tech and the first couple weeks of this internship, I was able to help the OTHER interns with things they weren’t totally comfortable with as well! I finally felt that I was at the same level as everyone else and belonged somewhere.

The big highlights of this internship haven’t been what I’ve learned in regards to my major; they have been what I’ve experienced through AvidXchange’s culture, people, and core values. I can’t emphasize enough how much I’ve grown this summer intellectually, professionally, and personally—thanks to everyone’s help. I’ve decided that this career is the right path for me and I don’t ever want to give it up.

Qiyue (Derek) ShengMy name is Derek. I am from China, and I had no idea how much my life would change when I came to the United States in 2011 to get my Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Clemson University. Two years later I graduated, and started interviewing for jobs, and I am proud to say that my first job is with AvidXchange because it is an amazing company to work for!

Before I started my job as a Junior Software Engineer with AvidXchange I was a little nervous. I knew that enterprise development would be different than that I had learned in school, and I wondered how well my skills I developed in college would translate into my new job.

Fortunately, AvidXchange has a dynamic culture and the whole company is just like a big family. Everyone is so nice and friendly, which helped me adjust to the new environment very quickly. Every Monday morning, there is a lively morning conference for the whole company. The managers share information from their respective departments, and share inspiring stories from the previous week. The meeting concludes with employees receiving “victories” from each other, which is public recognition and a gift card, for work that goes above and beyond the norm.

Avidxchange emphasizes “Winning as a team.” The Development Department uses agile development methodology, which is highly efficient. There are different development teams in AvidXchange that are in charge of different products and projects. Every team contains less than 10 people, and they have effective and efficient intercommunication. Every two weeks the team has a meeting to discuss the missions for the next “sprint”. The cooperation and collaboration with the QA and product teams result in reliable and accurate solutions.

There is no doubt that I have learned a lot from AvidXchange in just the first month, not only professionally, but also personally.  I am starting to get an overall idea of how a technology company is organized and operates. Avid has prepared an orientation with a series of trainings to educate us about every department. As we completed the training we began to understand what each department did, and how they worked together. .

As for my personal training, I have developed many technical skills, like  MVC, Entity Framework, LINQ, JQuery, AJAX, Unit Testing and many other cutting edge technologies. We have participated in real projects to master these skills, and even when we experienced difficulties every senior engineer was warm-hearted and willing to help.

Also, Charlotte is absolutely an ideal place for living and working. It is not only clean and beautiful, just like a big garden, but it’s also the second largest U.S. financial center. In my opinion, AvidXchange selected the perfect city to be located in.

II really appreciate and am enjoying my experience at Avidxchange!

Bryce-Senz-photoBryce Senz, a 29-year-old financial analyst based in Spartanburg, SC, came to the South Carolina Day of Civic Hacking because friends at an IT convention persuaded him to check it out. Now, almost two months after the event, he is headed to Washington. D.C. to present the project he created at IT-oLogy to fellow civic hackers and politicians at the White House Showcase Event. He says he’s pretty excited about it.

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you a whole lot about the event itself, but it’ll be neat to meet a lot of different people who are a lot smarter than I am,” Senz said about the event. Not matching his casualness about the showcase is Senz’s intentions behind his project, Data Driven Policy. The project, which stems from Senz’s background in both computer engineering, for which he received his undergraduate degree from Duke University, and finance, is meant to give politicians a large database from which they can pull data from cities with similar geographies, income levels, or crime rates, in order to make more informed policies.

Senz sees the benefits of his project in forecasting possible outcomes from strategic policy changes. “Right now, to build an economic case we’ve seen, if you were a politician and thought it was really important in your small geography to improve farming income, ideally you would be able to plug in the tool and find other places in the past with same average income, size, and farming income. [Data Driven Policy] will do an analysis and examine the different MSAs and economic backgrounds to see what policy makers have done in the past to see which [policy changes] have done a lot better or worse.”

Data Driven Policy is just one project of many that were created at the South Carolina Day of Civic Hacking, June 1st – 2nd. The weekend-long event, part of a national campaign of Civic Hacking, was meant to bring together citizens, programmers, developers, and entrepreneurs to create and build new programs to utilize public data. The South Carolina event was hosted by IT-oLogy in partnership with EdVenture, Columbia Museum of Art, and Richland Library, each hosting various classes, activities, and discussions about using technology to better the community. Senz created his project at IT-oLogy’s Hackathon competition, which challenged teams of coders to design programs to make public data more usable and accessible.

Having worked in banking and financial services, as well as currently acting as the CIO of his recent financial start-up Credda Capital LLC, Senz saw a prime opportunity for IT to fill a gap in data capabilities.

“I work in statistical analysis, so we thought if we have all this data, there’s got to be something that we can learn a lot from it,” Senz said. “There’s got to be a way to create different mash-ups from the maps and information.”

The thirst to learn more with the information he’s got is not unfamiliar to Senz, though it was his father who initially set him on the path to IT. “My dad actually tricked me into learning computer code when I was 13,” Senz said. “I wanted to learn how to design video games and he convinced me to learn computer programming. Not computer graphics or graphic design, he figured coding was the way to become successful in designing video games. Somehow I fell for that so I started learning when I was pretty young. I learned and toyed with it off and on for the next few years, and the same during college.”

Now, having learned PHP, Ruby, and Open Source as hobbies and side projects, Senz will bring his knowledge to Washington, D.C. to collaborate with other programmers at the White House Showcase Event, July 22, 2013. The event aims to present the value of civic hacking and get civic hackers together to further the cause. According to the National Day of Civic Hacking website, 15 projects were selected to be shown, making Senz’s accomplishments more impressive, though he is simply looking forward to meeting his fellow hackers.

“I would be stoked just to get some really good feedback from people who are a lot smarter than I am and have more experience in the public policy sector,” Senz said. “I don’t know enough [about public policy] to see all of the possibilities out there, and we can make it have the potential to be really useful in some area. I also haven’t met any programmers who have done anything with public policy efforts, so that would be sweet too.”

As for after the showcase, Senz will continue to focus on being CIO to Credda Capital LLC and working with other IT professionals to expand Data Driven Policy’s possibilities. Karl McCollester, president of local political startup, Voterheads, is excited to see what the project can do.

“The main thing that Bryce and I have talked about is that Voterheads would potentially take control of [the project] with open source management, so we could consider using it to bring data and information to people and policy makers,” McCollester said. “I’ve also talked to USC about possibly helping to sponsor it as well. We’re very excited on using this for public policy and we’re happy to see how Voterheads can further the project.”

Senz’s outlook for the future of open data is optimistic, especially with National Day of Civic Hacking’s impact.

“[In the future] it would be super neat if we could get a hold of more census, crime and poverty data because you could do some cool stuff with those, as well as national healthcare data. Because the government is making data even more open, National Day of Civic Hacking in five years will be night and day from where it is now as far as the types of projects that people are working on. These projects will be awesome and even better than they were this year.”