By: Richard Riosa, MediaPlex Journalism Student
Technology industry executives say they are hoping to change Windsor’s manufacturing reputation and diversify its economy.
The second annual Windsor-Essex Tech Show, hosted by the Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce, was held Nov. 29 at the Giovanni Caboto Club. More than 20 tech industry vendors packed the hall and there were speeches given by executives from Polycom, Constant Contact, Mitel and Research In Motion.
Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Matt Marchand said he estimates the event was attended by almost 400 people. He said he is excited about the increase from the 250 people who attended the show the previous year.
Marchand said technology has become an important part of all industries and the goal of the show was to showcase Windsor’s tech industry.
“Often times when people hear Windsor-Essex, they think of cars and things of that nature, but we also have a very strong and growing tech sector,” said Marchand.
Carlo Ciaramitaro, tax partner for the show’s presenting sponsor KPMG Enterprise, said he has seen a large number of small information technology firms open in the area and said he hopes the show will help to build on that and continue to diversify Windsor’s economy.
Ciaramitaro also said the show is a great opportunity for students to meet entrepreneurs, learn from industry experts and showcase themselves to local tech businesses.
Vice president of WEtech Alliance Yvonne Pillon, who helped organize the show, said connecting tech companies with students is also one of their goals.
“It’s a great opportunity to get the students to connect with tech companies,” said Pilon. “A lot of these large technology companies are having trouble finding talent, so here’s an opportunity to connect students with employers.”
Nico Verrelli, vice president of the St. Clair College Information Technology Club, which was one of the show’s vendors, said he was able to make valuable networking connections at the show.
“If I didn’t attend this conference, I wouldn’t have made the same connections on my own,” said Verrelli.
Verrelli said his new connections will keep him from exclusively looking outside of Windsor for employment after graduating from college. He said Windsor must continue to expand its information technology community in order to keep local talent from leaving the area.
Director of Enterprise & Government Sales of RIM Nick Dawson was the final speaker at the show. Dawson said it is important for students to attend events like this so they are able to keep up to date on current trends in the tech industry and help it to grow moving forward.
“Hopefully events like this foster some innovation, some discussion between people and spurs them to go on to do bigger and better things,” said Dawson.
Dawson said he thinks information technology will play an important role in logistics management in the local automotive industry.
Marchand also said tech companies will have a role to play in every local industry.
“What we’re doing here today is showcasing Windsor-Essex technology companies,” said Marchand. “We have an outstanding entrepreneur and technology sector.”
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