The History of NWA TechFest


NWA TechFest 2020-2021

August 11, 2021

Due to persistent effects of the COVID-19 virus and its variants, the organizing committee for NWA TechFest were forced to delay and then cancel conference plans until the health and safety of attendees could be maintained. This was the year that the NWA TechFest meetup group was created to maintain some smaller ongoing events during the downtime between conferences. Join the Meetup group!

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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…

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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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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 Python”, “DevOps for the Little Guy”, and Crypto Before Computers”.

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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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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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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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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…

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