TAG Annual Meeting 2021 Highlights

By March 25, 2021TAGNW

Meeting Overview

The TAG Annual Meeting 2021 event occurred virtually on Thursday March 4th from 5:30pm to 7:00pm as scheduled.

All TAG Members were invited to attend the annual meeting to receive the TAG Annual Update presentation and Q&A, participate in strategic discussion, and submit their ballot to vote to confirm our Board of Directors for the upcoming term (one year).

On Monday March 1st the Digital Agenda, Survey, and Board of Directors Election Ballot were shared to all members. Survey submissions were open on March 1st. Ballot submissions were accepted on March 4th. Both Survey and Ballot submissions were closed on March 8th.

Meeting Results

Board Election

All candidates for our Board of Directors were confirmed by membership vote. Officer positions will be confirmed by the April Board of Directors meeting (April 22nd). The TAG Board of Directors for the next term (one year) are:

  • Matt Bain
  • Bryan Brown
  • Ed Harri
  • Karl Hess
  • Jack Ingram
  • Brad Johnson
  • Ed O’Neill
  • Meg Weber

Survey Results

A report of survey results will be provided to the TAG Board of Directors for review and consideration.

Meeting Highlights

Board Recognition

Thank you to our current Board of Directors, who provide governance, guidance, and administrative operations.

  • Matt Bain (President)
  • Bryan Brown (Vice President)
  • Greg Crowder
  • Ed Harri
  • Karl Hess (Secretary)
  • Jack Ingram
  • Brad Johnson
  • Kathryn Mathews
  • Ed O’Neill (Treasurer)
  • Meg Weber

Sponsor Recognition

TAG is largely financially supported by our sponsors, lovingly referred to as our “Metallic Members” with  each contributing in a variety of ways in TAG programs and events. Thank you to our sponsors all for your financial and in-kind contributions.

Platinum Sponsors:

  • Alpha Technologies
  • NCyTE Center
  • Pattern Computer
  • Port of Bellingham
  • Saturna Capital
  • Sole Graphics
  • Strategic News Service
  • Varvid
  • Veritas
  • Whatcom Educational Credit Union
  • Western Washington University
  • Whatcom Community College

Gold Sponsors:

  • Anvil
  • Emergency Reporting
  • Faithlife
  • People’s Bank
  • Principal Financial
  • VSH CPA

Silver Sponsors:

  • Pacific IT Support
  • Castle Law Firm
  • PogoZone

Bronze Sponsors:

  • Lang Consulting

Member Recognition

TAG has succeeded in large part to the collective efforts of numerous members. Thank you to all members who continue to support the TAG mission, operations, events, and programs. We are especially honored to recognize the following TAG Members for their efforts in Strengthening Our Technology Community.

  • David LeBow, previous TAG President, for his early work to expand TAG member programs, create new infrastructure, and strengthen relationships with business members.
  • Matt Bain, current TAG President, for his ongoing work to continue the expansion of TAG, along with the administrative challenges that this provides.
  • Ed O’Neill, current TAG Treasurer, for his ongoing work to refresh and update our financial management strategies, and countless hours of COVID-related grant work.
  • Carl Willis-Ford and Garth Johnson, TAG Membership Committee Members, for their broad support in launching and supporting several TAG member programs, including TAG Mentorship and TAG Community Groups.
  • All TAG Community Group Organizers for their efforts to lead, manage, and support their communities: Andy Samuel and Justin Schoonover (TAG Analytics), Carl WIllis-Ford and David Hirsch (TAG Cybersecurity), Gil Lund and Ryan Shupe (TAG Engineering), Garth Johnson and Kevin Burkeland (TAG IT), and Andrea Frost and Marcy Sutton (TAG Women in Tech).
  • Michelle Judson for her guiding influence to assist in the establishment of Whatcom STEM and support of STEM education in our region.
  • Tonya Wagner and Whatcom Community College for excitedly engaging in our community and collaborating in several workforce development projects.
  • Mark Peck and Emergency Reporting for the notable support of numerous TAG Community and Member programs, including recruiting, educational, and social topics, exemplified with their TAG Scholarship Fundraiser matching campaign.

Evolution

From the TAG Fall 2020 Update:

TAG is evolving, and I am proud to lead our efforts with so many of our members. What began in 2018 as a refocus of organizational mission has been further adjusted as we respond to the social and economical limitations of the COVID era. Several of these major changes were presented at our 2019 and 2020 annual meetings, including:

  1. Transition to a 501C3 nonprofit organization focused on technology education and community engagement.
  2. Realign with TAG Member and community interests to reflect the needs of our students, professionals, businesses, and organizations.
  3. Invite fellow community nonprofit organizations to collaborate in shared purpose.
  4. Establish professional peer groups to nurture focused technical discussion, professional development, and build community.
  5. Invite students, faculty, and staff of our local colleges into the TAG Community. Determine the best means to support students.
  6. Create new member programs to address the greatest needs in our community.

These plans have been initially established, with work to improve ongoing, including:

  1. In July 2020 we filed as a new 501C3 organization focused on technology education. Programs with education and community support focus have transitioned to the 501C3. We expect full transition by 2022.
  2. Beginning in summer 2019 we began meeting with community groups, TAG Members, and community organizations to receive their input to begin realignment. Further, in Fall 2019 we established the TAG Advisory Board to ensure current and future alignment.
  3. We launched the TAG Community Partners program in late 2018 to officially establish our collaborations with fellow nonprofit organizations.
  4. Partnership with existing community groups launched in late 2018, including Bellingham Codes (software development) and Bellingham Linux User Group. Numerous new TAG Community Groups have been established or relaunched, including Analytics, Cybersecurity, Engineering, IT, and Women in Tech  (a collaboration with NW Tech Women).
  5. In summer 2020 we announced that TAG Student Memberships would include access to all TAG events and participation in all TAG programs. (i.e. all-inclusive, but subject to availability.)
  6. New programs launched in spring 2020 include TAG Mentorship, TAG Consulting, TAG Community Hub, and Whatcom STEM. These programs respectively invest in new generations of the TAG community, provide relief to fellow nonprofit organizations in our region with FREE technology consulting and to the public by donation, establish a community communication platform for our community to connect, and establish the first county-wide STEM network in Whatcom in affiliation with Skagit STEM, NW WA STEM, Washington STEM, NWESD 189, and Career Connect WA.

To build upon these efforts we are announced a refresh of TAG Membership and Sponsorship benefits for our 2021 launch. These changes formally adjust to delivery of our programs and services virtually, welcome numerous new TAG Members through sponsorship arrangements, and further invite participation in our new membership programs. Some changes have already been implemented, with full changes ready in January. Those changes include:

TAG Events:

  • All TAG Events in 2021 will require some level of TAG Membership. This is loosely enforced, and guests are encouraged to participate and consider becoming a TAG Member for their next event. This change is buffered by sponsorship and student membership changes described below.

TAG Individual Membership:

TAG Student Membership:

  • Access to exclusive TAG programs and events is ALL INCLUSIVE, although potentially subject to limited availability

All TAG Sponsors:

  • Gratis TAG Memberships for faculty, students, and staff (limit sponsorship value /100 or /50 for Education Partners)
  • Access to TAG Community News Submission for news and announcements of your organization

TAG Platinum Sponsors:

Annual Update Highlights

COVID

We memorialize March 12th as our COVID anniversary. It was on this date that TAG officially cancelled remaining March events and postponed future events until new infrastructure was created.

Community Hub

Our first response to COVID was creating an online communication platform now known as the TAG Community Hub to organize TAG operations, programs, and events, and to connect TAG Members. The platform chosen was Discord, which is fantastic for public and private text, audio and video chat. These additional communication features, plus the no cost model for organizations, were the standout reasons it was chosen over competitors like Slack.

Establishing the TAG Community Hub allowed us to create a new foundation to move forward, particularly in expanding TAG Community Groups and launch TAG Membership.

Mentorship

A pilot for TAG Mentorship was launched in summer 2020. Generally, input was positive and recommendations for improvement were provided and were considered for the next cohort, which is occurring now (Feb-June 2021).

Whatcom STEM

The first phase of Establishment of the Whatcom STEM initiative has been accomplished by establishing relationships with our statewide and regional STEM organizations. This first phase goal was to establish our presence in peer and resource networks, understand the current status of state, regional, and county resources, and build relationships. Our next phases include Outreach, Assessment, and Programming, and we are excited to continue building resources, relationships, and programs to support STEM education in Whatcom County. These next phases will work in parallel to the infrastructure changes occurring at Northwest Washington STEM as they make changes in alignment with our region.

Community Groups

Building upon the successful program of TAG Cybersecurity, new TAG Community Groups were formed with the volunteer leadership of TAG Members, including TAG IT, TAG Analytics, and TAG Engineering. TAG Women in Tech was also relaunched with the collaboration with NW Tech Women. The goals of TAG Community Groups are multi-layered: technical presentations and topics, professional peer support, student and mentor resources, recruiting, and building social and business relationships. Each TAG Community Group incorporates fundamental TAG programs, such as TAG Mentorship, and shared resources are provided for the shared benefit of all groups. Infrastructure is provided to easily expand existing groups, create new groups, or support other groups in the community as needed.

2021 Membership and Sponsorship Changes

Several membership and sponsorship changes have been launched to align benefits with online events and communications, expand student access, and provide additional benefits for sponsors. All changes are designed to increase participation in all activities. Student Memberships are now “unlimited” at the same $25 price, which includes access to all major events and programs.  Sponsors are now provided Gratis Individual Membership to provide to their employees. Arrangements with education sponsors (WCC and WCC, currently), provide students, faculty, and staff with a Gratis Membership in accordance with their sponsorship level (benefits double to take advantage of the TAG Student Membership discount).

Code of Conduct

A new code of conduct has been established through community input. In summary, we invite all TAG Members to participate in TAG activities and to Be honest, respectful, and professional. A structure has been created to establish our processes to address behavior unbecoming of a TAG Member.

Happy Hour

A simple, informal TAG Happy Hour occurs each Monday at 5pm at the TAG Community Hub (Discord) in the video chat lobby (#v-lobby). All are welcome to join in for unstructured conversation led by the TAG Membership Committee.

Thank you, all, for your efforts during an absolutely incredible and challenging year. We are all happy to see 2020 behind us. Let’s make 2021 better together.

 

Cheers,

Michael