History

The History of NWA TechFest

2021

NWA TechFest VIII

April 22, 2021

The eighth iteration of NWA TechFest will be held at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale. For the first time, it will offer additional content across two days covering the themes of Enrichment (April 22nd) and Empowerment (April 23rd). Day one will enrich those currently working in our technology community with insightful presentations on a variety of technical and communication-oriented topics. Day two will empower students and attendees with knowledge of their local community, including how to further educational, employment, and charitable opportunities in NWA. The focus will be on what it’s like to work in STEM careers and hands-on activities.

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2019

NWA TechFest VII

April 19, 2019

The seventh year of NWA TechFest moved to the Jones Center for Families in Springdale. It was held on April 19, 2019. Over 250 technologists and students attended to learn from each other and build the community. The keynotes were Aavron Estep, researcher and STEM advocate, and Dave Gandy, founder and CEO of Font Awesome. This year, donations from attendees and sponsors were spread across the year to give back to our community: In Q2 of 2019, NWA TechFest gave $2,500 to Girls Who Code In Q3 2019, $1,300 was given to Ignite Professional Studies Scholarships, in partnership with Ozark STEM In Q4 of 2019 for $1,000 at GiveCamp NWA In the upcoming Q1 of 2020, NWA TechFest will donate $1,000+ in the form of local grants for STEM programs and educational technology

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2018

NWA TechFest VI

May 17, 2018

On May 17, 2018, the sixth year of NWA TechFest was held at the Fayetteville Town Center. The keynote speakers were John Weis, the NASA Educational Specialist for our region, and Gary Dowdy, Head of Innovation and Disruptive Technology at J.B. Hunt. Speakers spoke along three tracks: Innovation, Education, and Technology. About 300 technologists and students attended to learn from each other and build the community. Proceeds from the event enabled NWA TechFest to donate $5,000 to go toward scholarships for Experience Robotics, a summer robotics camp in Bentonville!

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2017

NWA TechFest V

May 18, 2017

After a few years hibernation, NWA TechFest roared back onto the scene on May 18, 2017. The event was held at the Fayetteville Town Center, had over 250 attendees and was able to donate $5,000 in cash and materials to help upgrade the Donald W. Reynolds Boys and Girls Club computer lab. The Keynote speakers were General Tamhra Hutchins-Frye and Colonel Bobbie Dorenbos discussing Arkansas Air National Guard tech and Kevin Clark, CEO of NOWDx.  The Arkansas Air National Guard also brought a MQ9 Reaper drone flight simulator and a mobile unit for emergency operations disaster relief. Breakout session topics included: “Building Data Pipelines with…

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2014

NWA TechFest IV

January 31, 2014

The fourth year of the event returned to the UA Global Campus on January 31, 2014. The Keynote speakers were John Foreman, chief data scientist of MailChimp and Jason Seats, co-founder/managing director of TechStars. The number of attendees topped 350 and there were 32 breakout sessions. Mark Brandon returned to organize the event, along with Victoria Coppett, and the entrance fees and items collected once more were donated to NWA Food Bank.

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2012

NWA TechFest III

August 24, 2012

The third year of NWA TechFest was held at the UA Global Campus on August 24, 2012. There were 48 breakout sessions, featured a keynote panel discussion, and the theme was “Tech Entrepreneurship in NWA”. Organizer Mark Brandon said the message of NWA TechFest is: “We want you to not be afraid to start your tech enterprise in Northwest Arkansas, we want you to in Northwest Arkansas, and we are here to help.”

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2011

NWA TechFest II

March 25, 2011

The second year of NWA TechFest was held on March 25th, 2011. The entrance fee was $2 or 2 cans of food and those donations went to the NWA Food Bank. Breakout sessions included: “The Creamy Goodness of Nuget!”, “ASP.NET MVC3”, Attack of the Cloud”, and “The CAP Theorem and its Consequences”.

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2010

NWA TechFest I

July 8, 2010

The first NWA TechFest was held on July 8th, 2010 and was modeled after its sister event the Tulsa TechFest. The entrance fee for the event was $2 or 2 cans of food. The event was considered a resounding success when its over 250 attendees raised $269 for the Jones Center in Springdale, AR and many cans of food for the NWA Food Bank. The Keynote Speaker that year was Murray Vince, Microsoft’s General Manager, OEM Division. Session topics included: “Visual Studio 2010: config file transformations”, “Estimate Your Requirements With Planning Poker”, BCS, Enterprise Search, and “Your Data in the Cloud, Securely Using OData (The Open Data Protocol)”.

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