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Tampa Bay Tech’s poweredUP promises inspiration, challenge

Margie Manning



A presentation by a former Netscape developer highlights this year’s poweredUP, Tampa Bay Tech’s technology festival.

Spence Murray, whose work as a lead browser developer and a lead Unix browser developer at Netscape is chronicled in the National Geographic series Valley of the Boom, is among the speakers scheduled for poweredUP, the afternoon of May 23 in St. Petersburg.

The annual event also will spotlight the results of a Tampa Bay Tech survey assessing the area’s technology community, as well as the first-ever award from the St. Pete Catalyst.

Murray, now “instigator” at Salesforce, is a headliner for the event, as is Otto Berkes, co-founder of X-Box, who is making an encore appearance after speaking last year at poweredUP. Also on stage will be local tech executives who will talk about how they’ve led their companies to success. Some of the local speakers include Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4; Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes; and chief information officers from Jabil, Moffitt, Nielsen and Tech Data.

Jill St. Thomas, executive director, Tampa Bay Tech

“PoweredUP to us is an opportunity to tell the stories of people who are making an impact in technology and also delivering to our attendees really executable thinking and ideas to take back to their teams,” said Jill St. Thomas, CRO and executive director at Tampa Bay Tech, Florida’s largest technology council. “We know it’s a lot to ask to take an afternoon away from your from office, so we want to make sure that everyone who comes out leaves feeling inspired or challenged, some nugget of wisdom will stay with them and maybe push them to go in a direction they hadn’t thought of before.”

This year’s poweredUP will be at two neighboring venues. Most of the events will be at the Mahaffey Theater, with some breakout sessions in two community rooms at the Dali Museum, where participants will have a chance for more questions and answers with presenters.

There are tracks for everyone, from students to seasoned executives, St. Thomas said.

“It is built for anyone who is passionate about technology, no matter where you are in your career,” she said. “We realize the audience is built up of technologists so all of the speakers can dive as deep as they want in terms of talking about technology. Compared to some other events, it gives those folks an opportunity to get professional development in a community environment.”

David Brown, CEO of Hays US, will present the results of a survey that Tampa Bay Tech has been conducting, assessing the area’s “net promoter score,” which measures the loyalty between a provider and consumers.

“Those results will be very interesting and probably not too surprising for those of us here, and most certainly will give us a great benchmark for how we are doing well as a community in terms of our technologists and also where we can go, how we can be better,” St. Thomas said.

Tampa Bay Tech was the St. Pete Catalyst’s first partner, so it’s  appropriate the publication’s first award be with the organization, said Joe Hamilton, publisher.

PoweredUp is free to employees who work at companies that are Tampa Bay Tech members, as well as students at most of the local universities that are affiliate members. It costs $125 for non-members to attend.

Register here.

Last year’s event attracted 1,200 attendees, and St. Thomas expects 2,000 people this year.

Note:  Tampa Bay Tech originally provided incomplete information regarding Spence Murray’s background. This story has been updated to reflect his correct titles and roles at Netscape.


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