Tech Bytes: Smart community, tech summits coming to Tampa

As new technology enables local governments to provide better services, communities have the opportunity to become “smart” while upgrading their infrastructure. A Bradenton company, Spark Growth, is assisting communities as they work for better tomorrows.

Co-Founded by Sara Hand, CEO, and Stan Schultes, its Innovation Architect, Spark Growth has been bringing together city leaders, decision makers and industry partners across America -- and beyond.

Their goal? To help solve problems.

“When people say ‘smart cities,’ they think all about the technology. The technology is simply an enabler,” Hand says. “The interesting thing about smart cities is it’s really about the people. It’s technology that enhances, that brings economic opportunity, that makes quality of life.”

Spark Growth is holding its Smart Cities Connect Fall Conference and Expo Monday, October 22, through Thursday, October 25, at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa. The itinerary is jam-packed with workshops on smart-related topics, including “How to Design a Smart City,” “You Can’t Be a Smart City Until You’re a Connected City,” and “The Future of Mobility – Connected, Autonomous, Distributed Ownership and Electric.” It includes spotlights on a number of cities like Austin, Denver, Tampa and Orlando.

“Accelerating Smart Cities: Showcasing Urban Solutions” features Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability, City of Orlando; Grace Simrall, Chief of Civic Innovation and Technology, Louisville Metro Government; Russell Haupert, Chief Technology Officer, City of Tampa; Emily Silverman, Smart City Program Manager, City and County of Denver; and Michael Pegues, Chief Information Officer, City of Aurora, IL.

David Ricketts, Professor and Innovation Fellow at Harvard Technology and Entrepreneurship Center, who has been partnering with Spark Growth, is among the speakers.

There are two other summits being held at the same venue October 23-25: Defense TechConnect Fall Summit and Expo, which kicks off on the 22nd, and the Small Business Innovative Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Fall Innovation Summit.

Defense TechConnect Fall Summit and Expo will be bringing together people working with state-of-the-art technology solutions for the warfighter and the national security. The event is produced by TechConnect and includes workshops on a variety of topics including drones and robotics, private sector biomedical investing, how cities can use artificial intelligence to make data-driven decisions and more.

At the SBIR/STTR summit, attendees will hear from experts who can help them submit more competitive proposals for funding for early stage, high-risk research and development projects.

Learn more about the three events here

During the January 23 and 24 Innovation Summit in Tampa by the nonprofit Synapse, Spark Growth will be giving a workshop entitled “Toward Smarter Communities.”

Schultes notes the company had a booth this year and is stepping up its involvement. “Instead of just going to the expo and getting a table, we’d like to do a workshop inside the conference,” he says.

Synapse is expanding its programming this year to include related gatherings for the whole week of January 21 through 25.

Featured speakers include Larry Quinlan, Deloitte’s Global Chief Information Officer; Sara Margulis, media personality, CEO and founder of Honeyfund; and Vincent Jackson, Co-Founder and CEO of CTV Capital.

Read on for more news about the Tampa Bay tech community.

• Wondering how to recruit technical talent? There’s a workshop for that. Called “How to Hire Technical Talent: Practical Tools for Employers,” the free interactive workshop is slated from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, October 25, at Crossover Church, 1235 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa. The event by !p Potential Unleashed will include tips on how to get paid to hire tech talent and how to hire at no risk to your company. Sign up here.

• Homebrew Hillsborough, Hillsborough County’s monthly collaborative coffee for techies and entrepreneurs, will be touring the cybersecurity firm Digital Hands at 8:30 a.m. Friday, October 26, at 400 N. Ashley Drive, Suite 900, Tampa. The company’s goal is to protect companies and their data through innovative technologies and skilled staff. Reserve a place here.

• Mark your calendars for Barcamp Tampa Bay 2018, slated Saturday, November 10, at the west end of University Mall at 2200 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa. Barcamp is free, and offers a day packed with activity starting at 9 a.m. The doors open at 8 a.m.; the wrapup starts at 4 p.m., with an after party following at an as-yet undetermined location at 5:30 p.m. Barcamp lets attendees give talks, so the agenda is open. The event promises to appeal to anyone with a passion for tech. To register, volunteer, or learn more visit Bar Camp Tampa Bay.

• Building Entrepreneurship Around TampaBay, or B.E.A.T., will be offering a day packed with activity on Wednesday, November 14, at USF Connect, 3802 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa. The sixth annual event includes a showcase of innovative startups, speakers, networking and the opportunity to pitch for capital. The deadline to apply for the Biotech and Student pitch competitions is Monday, November 5. BEAT is held in partnership with BioFlorida, which represents the state’s life sciences industry. It runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To apply for the pitch competitions, register, or learn more, go here and click on B.E.A.T. at the top of the page.  

• Florida Polytechnic University has announced its strategic five-year plan, Advancing to Excellence, which reveals its vision for a research park next to the Lakeland campus. Its goal is to bring together industry, academia, and government and influence the economic development of the 4,000 acres surrounding the university. The plan calls for beefing up the curriculum to include five new programs in engineering and applied sciences. Graduate-level students are to gain new tracks in robotics, control systems, logistics, and data analytics. The university also is expected to add online credited course offerings. Additionally, Florida Poly will be seeking accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) by 2020.
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Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune