Friday, August 31, 2007

Enroll in BDPA IT Institute Today!

BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF) actively seeks funding to support the BDPA IT Institute. We strongly believe that the BDPA IT Institute will become a world-class leadership and management online certification program for technology professionals of African descent everywhere.

The BDPA IT Institute supports BDPA members and potential members by promoting career development and leadership competencies through direct online course offerings in leadership and management. The intent of the program is to facilitate career progression and advancement for members. This includes a progression from the associate level certification to the master’s level which transitions individuals into entry-level management and increasing leadership roles. The Institute has formed executive and academic partnerships to support these initiatives.

BETF-Blog subscribers are reminded that the Fall enrollment period is closing soon for the BDPA IT Institute. The courses planned for the Fall term (September 10 thru December 14) are the IT Master Certification taught by Will Bundy, Ph.D. and the PMP Exam Prep taught by Matthew Kioko, PMP. The enrollment for Fall 2007 closes at midnight 9/4 for the PMP Prep and the IT Master courses. Please click here to register for the Fall term.

Brothers & sisters, these are some exciting and rewarding certification programs offered by your organization. You can become a certified 'IT Associate', 'IT Professional', or 'IT Master' or prepare for taking the PMP Exam, all at very competitive rates. The PMP Prep course offers PDUs in addition to the CEUs offered for all the courses.

Taking control of your destiny is just a step away! BETF is working with the BDPA Institute to provide 'hardship scholarships' when necessary for the upcoming Fall 2007 term. Reach out to Dr. Ralph Kindred, BDPA IT Institute Director by phone (800.727-2372) or email ( if you have questions or wish to discuss further.

I would be interested in your comments on the BDPA IT Institute. Is it something that you (or your employer) would consider in the future?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

HSCC Testimonial: Angela Porter (2002-2005)

The BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) is over 20 years old. BETF is proud to provide Jesse Bemley Scholarships to students who perform well in that annual competition.

One student who took full advantage of this opportunity from 2002-2005 is Angela Porter. Her team from Southern Minnesota won the 2005 HSCC national championship during our annual conference in Detroit, MI. She received scholarships from BETF and elsewhere sufficient to give her a full ride at Howard University.

Angie was kind enough to share her testimonial with us. Our hope is that her words will inspire you to make a donation to our Bemley Scholarship fund. Angie wrote,

It is so great to know that I am still in the thoughts of those who have greatly inspired me. Everyone I’ve met through BDPA has greatly influenced my life, and I am both honored and excited to share my HSCC experience with others.

I was part of BDPA’s High School Computer Competition between 2002 and 2005. I absolutely have to count 2002 because that was the year that Southern Minnesota’s team came in 10th place.
We were in Orlando that year enjoying DisneyWorld as we were pampered by the organization every hour of the day. The hotel was marvelous, the food was wonderful, and DisneyWorld, of course, was great.

Orlando showed me something very important that has stayed with me since 2002: that there were young African Americans just like me who were intelligent, driven, and unashamed of being that way. We all had the same goal, and instead of being strange or out of the norm, that felt entirely natural. Being around so many Black intellectuals gave me a sense of belonging and pride that I just haven’t been able to let go. Had it not been for HSCC 2002, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today, and today I feel that I am in a great place.

Winning second place in
2003, I believe, was the direct result of our 10th place standing in 2002. I remember leaving Orlando after losing that year feeling extremely motivated to do well the next year. The competitiveness of HSCC is extreme. If anything, when you walk into the competition you want nothing but to do well. You want people to see how hard you have been working. In 2002, we learned how it felt to lose out, and to me, that was absolutely necessary in order for us to win.

Click here to read the rest of Angie's testimonial.

Angie's legacy in Southern Minnesota continued this year ... her chapter won the HSCC national championship last month in Washington DC!

BETF seeks other testimonials from HSCC competitors. Please POST A COMMENT below if you have any thoughts on the HSCC competition from either a student, coach, coordinator or member perspective. What say u?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Atlanta

Did you know that Atlanta is a finalist
to host our 2008 BDPA Technology Conference?

Our chapter in Atlanta is building momentum for that process by offering outstanding monthly program meetings for those IT professionals who are interested in career advancement from the "Classroom to the Boardroom."

BDPA Atlanta is very excited to present a panel discussion with three senior IT executives entitled, 'Breaking the Glass Ceiling'. The panelists will engage in a dialogue about career mobility for talented IT professionals seeking to move into the boardroom. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 26, at The Macquarium Building in Atlanta, Georgia.

The panelists are:

  1. Ken Keller - Vice President, Enterprise Program Manager (SunTrust Bank)
  2. Alonzo Howell - Director, Revenue Management Systems (Delta Technology)
  3. Gary Donaldson - Vice President, Network Systems (Delta Technology)

All three panelists are members of BDPA and the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF). ITSMF is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to cultivating executive talent among African American IT professionals. Its mission is to fill the executive pipeline with the next generation of African American IT executives.

One way that ITSMF and BDPA work together is through an Executive Protege' Program (EPP). In fact, we encourage any IT manager with executive aspiration or potential to consider participation in the EPP. Please click here if you want to receive more information on this remarkable program.

Members of ITSMF are senior IT executives from corporations, governmental bodies, and universities of well-established technology businesses. The panelists for the program meeting on September 26th will share the knowledge and skills that have enabled them to arrive and thrive in key management roles. If you are interested in learning what it is like to bust through the glass ceiling then this is a program meeting that you will want to attend.

For more information about this meeting please reach out to Jivonne Gilliam, VP-Member Services, BDPA Atlanta Chapter by email ( or phone (800.727-2372) or simply post a comment below.

Monday, August 27, 2007

BDPA Banquet Honors Cincinnati Youth

BDPA Cincinnati Chapter is pleased to announce that Brett Bonner, Director of Research and Development for The Kroger Co., will be the keynote speaker for its 13th Annual Education and Scholarship Banquet. Mr. Bonner will address the theme "Global Strategy for the IT Professional". The event will take place at the Marriott Kingsgate Conference Center, 151 Goodman Drive by the University of Cincinnati campus, Saturday, September 15, 2007 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

Current statistics show students of African descent lag behind in the information technology arena. In an attempt to address this issue, and give our youth a competitive edge, local chapters participate in the Student Information Technology Education & Scholarships (SITES) Program. BDPA uses SITES to provide a foundation that K-12 grade students can use to explore their talents and promote interest in the Information Technology field.

Anyhow, this Cincinnati area event is an annual fundraiser that not only showcases BDPA students who participate in the High School Computer Club, High School Computer Competition Team and IT Showcase. This event will also help fund our student scholarship program and other student initiatives.

I think it is fair to say that everyone in and out of the Cincinnati chapter is proud of our students. It is hard to get a group of teenagers out of their bed every Saturday during the summer to learn how to write computer programs. Yet, the students in Cincinnati did just that. They demonstrated a level of dedication that is worthy of praise. The national team finished 18 out of 48 chapters around the nation. Jahmal Chase, a sophomore at Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts and Amber Gosby a sophomore at Mt. Healthy High School placed first and second place respectively in the high school portion of the 2007 BDPA IT Showcase held during the organization’s national conference in Washington DC. Hopefully, their experiences with BDPA will help them get ahead further in life.

Please reach out to the BDPA Cincinnati chapter if you are in a position to support them. Tickets for the luncheon are $30. For more information, call (513) 956-0636 or email for more information.

At a minimum ... please consider writing a comment right here ... right now ... to the Cincinnati students. We will print your comments and share them with the chapter for distribution at the luncheon on the 15th. What say u? Are you as proud of these young people as we are? If so, it is time for you to use the POST COMMENT option below!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

IBM is Best Company for Blacks in Technology

National BDPA and, the source for diversity talent, announced IBM Corporation as the winner of the prestigious Epsilon Award as the Top Company for Blacks in Technology.

"On behalf of the IBM Corporation, I’d like to thank BDPA and for the prestigious honor of being named the 2007 Epsilon Award winner as the Best Company for Blacks in Technology," said Elmer Corbin, Director of Systems Development, IBM Systems & Technology Group. "Our strategy of inclusion is a fundamental success factor for our continued Innovation leadership in the 21st century. I’m looking forward to further strengthening our partnership with BDPA."

The award was presented at the 2007 National BDPA Technology Conference held August 15-18 at the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC. The Epsilon Award is presented annually to the top company in the nation that promotes a workplace and environment that support the advancement of Blacks in the information technology industry. is a job search web site for corporate recruiters who want to make a good faith effort to reach experienced diversity talent. The site bridges the gap between companies that support diversity and experienced diversity candidates by providing one central location to post open positions.

BDPA, a national organization, is the premier organization for African Americans in Information Technology (IT). Founded in 1975, BDPA is celebrating a 30-year commitment to closing the digital divide. "We are very pleased to recognize the outstanding contributions that IBM has made for Blacks in Technology," said National BDPA President, Gina Billings. "In this economy, many African Americans in technology are concerned about opportunities for both employment and advancement. It is important to recognize those exceptional companies that have provided African Americans with challenging and fulfilling career opportunities in Information Technology."

"BDPA is the voice of African Americans in IT. is honored to be working with BDPA because it is committed to closing the digital divide and helping African American IT professionals advance," said Dan Honig, chief operating officer of Honig added, "We are very pleased to recognize IBM as a company that is truly practicing workplace diversity in their IT departments."

BDPA corporate sponsors and supporters were asked to complete a comprehensive survey that rated their performance in the areas of Demographics, Diversity Programs, Diversity (Training, Affinity Groups), Tenure, Promotions and Terminations, Diversity Recruiting, Career Path Programs, Minority Vendor Programs, and Community Outreach.

Will Bundy, National BDPA Outside Director, said, "Responses were not unexpected. Some companies are making significant progress while others are not quite doing what it takes to meet minimum standards." Added Bundy, "Our BDPA survey questions are the right ones to cause reflection on whether programs value Diversity and build opportunities at work. Our winners have demonstrated a commitment to people and an understanding that Diversity has a bottom line business case value."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Philadelphia is BDPA Chapter of the Year

A number of chapter awards were presented at the 29th annual BDPA Technology Conference held last week in Washington DC. The highest honor that can be given to a BDPA chapter is the prestigious 'Chapter of the Year' award. BDPA Philadelphia chapter took home the 'Chapter of the Year' award this year for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the BDPA mission and objectives over the previous year. BDPA Philadelphia beat out the 2006 winner, BDPA Cincinnati chapter, who managed to win first runner-up honors in 2007.

BDPA Philadelphia chapter also won the 'Chapter Membership Award' for their outstanding achievements in increasing BDPA's mission of being "a member-focused organization" and ensuring that each member of BDPA feels valued as a member of the association. Philadelphia's successes are a direct result of their programs and services initiatives led by current chapter president Curtis Jenkins and current president-elect Monique Berry. The chapter serves the community by providing weekly computer training for Philadelphia metropolitan-area high school students. The chapter's monthly program meetings sponsored by CIGNA serve to keep their membership informed of current trends in the IT industry. Finally, their overall member services initiatives help to bring in new members as well as retain the existing members.

Merck is a BDPA Gold-level sponsor and major contributor to the Philadelphia Chapter. Merck's Gina Gerhard won the 'Corporate Champion of the Year' award for her efforts to evolve the corporate relationship between BDPA and Merck at all levels. Other Philadelphia chapter sponsors that participated in the annual conference included Wyeth and Rohm and Haas.

Please leave a comment for the brothers and sisters of BDPA Philadelphia chapter if you have time or inclination!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rochester Students Win National Programming Contest

By Edie Grossfield

Hours and hours of study, even during summer vacation, paid off recently for a team of seven young computer programmers.

The high school students took first place in the national BDPA Technology Conference, which was Aug. 15-17 in Washington, D.C., improving on the silver medal that the team won in 2006.

The BDPA Southern Minnesota chapter team beat peers from much larger cities, including Washington DC, and Detroit, and the defending champions from Chicago.

"Our team achieved the highest score on both the written and programming portions of the competition, and of course, the highest overall score, which is what earned us first place," said the team's coach Zachary Garbow, an IBM software engineer.

The team members are Yaa Kwansa, a Schaeffer Academy sophomore; Ahmed Mahamad, a Mayo High School junior; Lauren Pemberton, a Lourdes High School senior; Kunle Roberts, a Mayo senior; and Adwait Walimbe, a John Marshall High School freshman. Alternate members are Mohamed Ibrahim, a John Marshall junior; and Katie Lettelleir, a 2007 Century High School graduate.

Each of the winners came away with a trophy, a $3,000 college scholarship, a digital camera, a photo printer and an mp3 music and video player.

The competition included oral and written exams in computer programming, and an eight-hour project.

Students need solid math and programming skills to do well in the competition, Garbow said. The students met with Garbow and other BDPA coaches for eight months to prepare for the contest.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why BDPA in Cincinnati?

I was the guest speaker for BDPA Cincinnati chapter last night at their monthly program meeting. The meeting was hosted by Resolvit Resources (offices in Cincinnati, Raleigh and Washington DC). Our topic was a simple one --> 'Why BDPA in Cincinnati?'

We discussed a wide range of topics during the presentation including:

  • BDPA History (national & Ohio)

  • 30-Second Elevator Speech about BDPA - We are a non-profit organization that advances the careers of African Americans in the information technology industry from the classroom to the boardroom.

  • Vision, Mission Statement & Strategic Objectives

  • Challenge: What Will You Do To Change the Future? - If you are unhappy about the situation with African Americans in our industry ... what do you plan to do about it?

  • Classroom to the Boardroom - We used a visual depiction of stairsteps to show what we mean when we say 'classroom to the boardroom'. Interestingly enough, this section of the program had the most learnings for many in the room. Often chapter members are not aware of the college internships, BDPA IT Institute or Executive Protege Program. We were able to review the entire evolution of BDPA programs that go from K-12 thru executive level.

  • How Can BDPA Benefit You? - Networking, internships, scholarships, job opportunities, community service, world class training, leadership training, professional recognition, discounts on BDPA functions, BDPA IT Institute and networking (did I mention that one already?)

The next part of the program meeting focused on the obligation of the BDPA members in the room. We asked them what they should do to support BDPA in Cincinnati, OH. Eight (8) answers were given:

  1. Recruit and inform students & IT professionals to BDPA Cincinnati.
  2. Contact BDPA HQ office (800.727-2372) to receive hardcopy of BDPA marketing or collateral materials.
  3. Work with Ohio Connection chapters in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton & Toledo to create meaningful relationships and information sharing.
  4. Network regularly with other Cincinnati-based organizations.
  5. Create a project plan that can guide you in 2008 growth of BDPA Cincinnati chapter.
  6. Publicize a 13-month revolving program meeting schedule.
  7. Provide monthly status report in the form of 'news & notes' to your chapter membership.
  8. Access the Internet regularly.

We ended the meeting with a robust session of questions and answers. The chapter members look forward to site selection decision on the 30th annual BDPA Technology Conference. The consensus in this meeting was that the leadership should quickly decide on Atlanta, GA as the location for next year's annual conference.

The other outcome of the meeting was generous donation of $135 to the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation! I was guest speaker for BDPA Columbus chapter earlier this year. It appears that I will be traveling to Los Angeles (October) and New York (November) later this year. I would love to speak with your chapter members as well. Just let me know if there is interest.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Message from Richmond Chapter President

Jackie Pryor is the president of our BDPA chapter in Richmond, VA. She shared her overview of the 29th annual BDPA Technology Conference held last week in Washington DC. Her comments were as follows:
"Good afternoon BDPA members and supporters.

I want to thank all of those that attended especially our High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team, Youth Technology Camp (YTC) students, trainers, and the HSCC committee. I want to also thanks the the Parents Groups, sponsors and everyone else that contributed with donations or supporting our fundraisers to get our students to the conference. It was a blessing that the conference was in DC this year. But don't get too comfortable. We will be working on 2008 soon and we will need your help again.

If you weren't able to make it, you missed a good one. I was only able to go up on Friday, but in the short amount of time I was there, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and so did my daughter, who is only 10 years old. For those adults that like to have a good time, Target can throw a party. Yes, I said Target (the store). They were one of the National BDPA sponsors.

BDPA Richmond Chapter took a team of 5 members (Ashley Ragsdale, Kalifah Bey, Jhosdyn Barragan, Amber Henderson and Brittany Thomas), two chaperones, a coordinator (Yiddy Chaves) and 11 YTC students to DC in 2007. The whole experience was great!"

The chapter's HSCC Coordinator, Yiddy Chaves, provided an analysis on the performance of the team. He noted,

"Our HSCC team placed 11th out of 48 chapters. Last year we were in 6th place. The 11th place does not represent all the hard work that was done. Students knew more than the previous year; however, the score was not better. There are some reasons that can explain that:
  1. The level of the competition was raised, although we did about the same that we did in 2006, other teams did much better.

  2. We practiced with problems from 2004 and 2006 competitions; the 2007 problem was very similar to the one in 2005. So, teams that practiced with this problem did better, and the 2007 winner team was the same team that won in 2005.

  3. I would also like to add that the 2007 Richmond team had more technical knowledge than the one in 2006 Richmond team, but a couple of obstacles (problem statement and database layout) stopped them from showing what they were capable to do.

I think it is fair to say that everyone in and out of the Richmond chapter is proud of their students. It is hard to get a group of teenagers out of their bed every Saturday during the summer to learn how to write computer programs. Yet, the students in Richmond did just that. They demonstrated a level of dedication that is worthy of praise. Hopefully, their experiences with BDPA will help them get ahead further in life."
If you know any of the five students from Richmond ... ask them to visit the BETF blog and share their comments directly with us. I would love to have them send me their own personal testimonial and photo for us to place for posterity on our BETF website.

Let's go one step further ... if you want to make a donation to the restricted BDPA Richmond chapter fund ... please use the Click and Pledge link over on the right-hand side navigation bar or you can make the donation directly to BDPA Richmond chapter's scholarship fund.

BETF thanks both Jackie Pryor and Yiddy Chaves for their comments and more importantly for their leadership! Leave a comment for the Richmond students and chapter leaders in the comments section below if you have time/inclination!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Illinois Student Wins College IT Showcase

Delano Robinson, of Bloomington, Ill., recently earned 1st Place in the college division of the IT Showcase held in conjunction with the 29th annual National BDPA Technology Conference in Washington, DC. Robinson was the best of five college students that participated in division of the IT Showcase as determined by the judges. The BDPA IT Showcase was sponsored by IBM and Eli Lilly & Company. Elmer Corbin (IBM) and Tim Coleman (Eli Lilly) shared comments with the students during the award ceremony. [NOTE: Photo shows Delano Robinson (r) and Lorenzo Marshall]

College students presented topics such as: 'The Foundation for Exponential Progression', 'Robotics: Using the Synchronous Reactive Model of Computation' and 'An ISE Project: Design of New Lab Facilities'. Robinson's winning presentation entitled, 'Electronic Stability Control (ESC) System Benefits,' focused on increasing vehicle safety through computer technology. The event was Robinson’s first showcase of his IT skills in competition.

"Winning this event has been a major highlight of my student career and I am very grateful I had the opportunity to participate on a competitive level," said Robinson.

Currently a junior at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, Robinson is earning a double major in Information Technology Management and Business Management. His aspiration is to pursue a Masters degree in Information Technology. He is the son of Cathy Mason of Bloomington, IL.

The BDPA Central Illinois chapter is very proud of Robinson’s accomplishment. "Delano stepped up to the challenge, worked very hard and represented the Central Illinois chapter very well," said Lorenzo Marshall, immediate past president of the chapter. "He demonstrated his passion for Information Technology with a creative presentation that maximized his research skills."

BDPA advances the careers of African Americans in the Information Technology industry from the classroom to the boardroom with programs and services offered nationally and through 48 local chapters. BDPA encourages members to remain lifelong learners as the world of technology continues to change.

BDPA Central Illinois chapter is currently looking for other local students interested in Information Technology research that can be considered for entry into the national competition. Please contact Lorenzo Marshall on (309) 766-4268 for more information about BDPA Central Illinois chapter.

2007 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Rankings

The 2007 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championships were held in Washington DC. We had 21 teams competing in 2007 ... highest chapter participation since the 2004 competition.

The crowds gathered around these 21 teams to see if the team trained by BDPA Chicago could defend their 2006 title or whether the team trained by BDPA Southern Minnesota would resume their national dominance or if another chapter would upset them both.

As it turned out the power of the young men and women from Rochester, MN was too much ... BDPA Southern Minnesota earned 774 points to win the 2007 National HSCC championship ... their 3rd championship in the past 3 years. It was a remarkable effort by four truly remarkable young people (Yaa Kwansa, Ahmed Mahamad, Lauren Pemberton, Kunle Roberts and Adwait Walimbe), their coach (Zack Garbow) and chapter president (Francis Aning).

The host team from Washington DC set a chapter record in the national competition when they scored 754 points for the silver-medal. BDPA Chicago chapter scored 753 points to earn a bronze medal.

Here are the rankings for all 21 teams that competed in 2007 national HSCC championships with the scholarship winnings for each student in parenthesis:
  1. Southern Minnesota ($3,000 Bemley Scholarship for each student)
  2. Washington DC ($2,000 each)
  3. Chicago ($1,500 each)
  4. Detroit ($1,000 each)
  5. Chattanooga ($500 each)
  6. Charlotte
  7. Dayton
  8. New Jersey
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Twin Cities
  11. Dallas
  12. Richmond
  13. Hartford
  14. Cincinnati
  15. Austin
  16. St. Louis
  17. Philadelphia
  18. New York
  19. Greater Tampa Bay
  20. Cleveland
  21. Columbus
Our foundation seeks to increase the number of students that receive Bemley Scholarships in 2009 and beyond. To do so, we need your help. Please consider making an online donation to help us interest young people in science and technology.

Were you at the 2007 National BDPA Technology Conference held in Washington DC? Do you remember the HSCC championships? Do you remember any of the workshops or speakers from that year's conference? Care to share your favorite memory of that conference with us?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Grant Award: Allstate Insurance

We received $25,000 donation in the mail today! It came from Allstate Insurance ... a BDPA Platinum level sponsor. The funding will be used to support programs and services in Chicago, Cleveland and Dallas.

This is the 5th year in a row that Allstate Insurance made at least a $25,000 donation to the BDPA Foundation. We hope to see other corporations reaching out to support our fundraising efforts over the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime, we encourage you to remember who puts you in good hands!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Increased Focus on Scholarships

BETF plans to create a $2,000,000 scholarship endowment in the near future!

BETF awarded nineteen scholarships in 2006 for high school students pursuing post-secondary education. The total value of the awards was $32,500 – a little over $1,700 per recipient. A major funding source for the 2006 scholarships was Bank of America.

The total value of the scholarships awarded by BETF in 2007 is $41,000 - a little over $1,500 per recipient. A major funding source for 2007 scholarships is Eli Lilly & Company.

In the past five years, the annual cost of a college education continues to rise with average costs for tuition, fees, room and board exceeding $12,000 for a four-year, public institution and $29,026 for a four-year, private institution per year.

Increasing cost of education = More students with greater financial need.

Assuming a 5% spending policy and reinvesting all remaining earnings, the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF) can confer $100,000 in awards annually, which will increase over time as the endowment grows. The new level of funding would be over three times what BETF is presently able to award to our deserving high school students.

Larry Quinlan is the BETF Director leading effort to develop a strategy to raise the $2 million for this scholarship endowment. Over time we expect that many individuals and corporations will support our efforts to increase the quantity of scholarships both in number and amout. In August 2007 we were blessed to have scholarship pledges from:
  1. Dell - $5,000
  2. State Farm Insurance - $5,000

Our hope is that others will make this move as well. You can donate immediately to the BETF Scholarship Fund using our secure online process.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on how we can reach our scholarship funding goals?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Class Act: Norm Fleming

Norm Fleming added professionalism and a challenging vision for BDPA's future in his recent run for the president-elect office. The decision was a tough one for the delegates as evidenced by the fact that a second round of voting was necessary before Yvette Graham won the office in a 3-way election that included Betty Hutchins.

Norm took time after the election to share the following thoughts with BDPA leaders around the country,

My Dear Leaders of BDPA,

Words cannot begin to describe the enormous gratitude I have for the love, support, guidance, and cordiality extended to me over the past three months, as I sought to serve you as your National BDPA President-Elect. Thanks to each and every one of you. God has a blessing for you.

We ran a good, clean, professional, and spirited race. We set a high standard that has created a new BDPA precedent, and for that I am most appreciative. Congratulations to Yvette Graham! She will serve this organization with the highest degree of Dedication and Excellence! Thank You to Betty Hutchins! Her passion and intrinsic executive knowledge of BDPA was simply phenomenal.

While I may not have won at the poll, I do believe BDPA won, as we all have raised the consciousness of the members regarding a new direction for BDPA for a new century. May God bless each of you. May God bless BDPA!

I will take the liberty to speak for all BDPA leaders in hoping that Norm accepts one of the many offers being made to him by both National BDPA, BDPA Philadelphia chapter and BDPA Education & Technology Foundation. His talents, vision and leadership are too important to BDPA to lose at this stage of our history.

Norm ... please find a place for your prominent talents to be displayed over the coming months and years!

Grant Recipient: BDPA Greater Columbia ($800)

BETF awarded $800 grant to BDPA Greater Columbia chapter on August 18, 2007. The funding was in support of the Youth Technology Camp participants that came to Washington DC on August 15-18, 2007 from Columbia, SC.

2007-2008 BETF Officers

BETF appointments made at the 3rd quarter meeting held in Washington DC include:
  • Earl Pace (Pace Data Systems) - remains the BETF Chairman of the Board for another year.
  • Larry Quinlan (Deloitte) - appointed BETF Secretary and liaison to the Scholarship Committee
  • Lydia Barron (Barron Enterprises) - appointed chair of the BETF Investment Committee

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cincinnati Students Win BDPA IT Showcase

Jahmal Chase, a sophomore at Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts and Amber Gosby a sophomore at Mt. Healthy High School placed first and second place respectively in the high school portion of the 2007 BDPA IT Showcase held during the organization’s national conference in Washington DC. [NOTE: Chase and Gosby are pictured in between Justin Buckner, their IT Showcase Advisor (R)and Brenda Hogan, BDPA Cincinnati Chapter President (L)].

BDPA's IT Showcase provides students in both high school and college the opportunity to demonstrate expertise in various fields of technology. As part of the competition, Chase and Gosby were required to write ten page papers on their topics (Virtual Reality and Robotics respectively), prepare a 10 minute oral PowerPoint presentation and create a poster that captures their concepts in a visually stimulating manner. All students were critiqued by a panel of 3 judges. This was the first time competing for both Chase and Gosby.

The BDPA IT Showcase was sponsored by IBM and Eli Lilly & Company. Elmer Corbin (IBM) and Tim Coleman (Eli Lilly) shared comments with the students during the award ceremony.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Grant Recipient: BDPA Dallas Chapter ($5,500)

BETF awarded $5,500 grant to BDPA Dallas Chapter on August 17, 2007. The funding was in support of the Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program. BDPA Dallas chapter brought a team of five students to compete in the national high school computer competition taking place in Washington DC on August 15-18, 2007.

It is worth noting that the primary source for these funds is Allstate Insurance! BETF works with corporations around the country who believe in our vision and mission. Allstate Insurance is a Platinum level corporate sponsor providing substantial financial support for the programs and services located in Chicago, Cleveland and Dallas.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

BETF Hall of Fame: Joe Smialowski

We received resignation letter from long-time BETF board member Joe Smialowski this week. He wrote
I will be retiring from Freddie Mac at the end of this year, and in the process of handing over my responsibilities to my successor, Mike Perlman. When I decided to retire, I also decided to simplify my life and as a result respectively submit my resignation from the board of the BETF as well as other organizations. Thank you for the opportunity that you provided to be involved in the BDPA and its related activities.
I spent a quiet moment reflecting on my experiences of the past few years as National BDPA President-Elect (2002-2003), National BDPA President (2004-2005) and BETF Executive Director (2006-2007). We truly had some wonderful accomplishments over that time in terms of corporate sales and fundraising.

Much of our financial success over the past few years can be traced to the vision of Joe Smialowski. He and his executive leadership team from FleetBoston Financial (since purchased by Bank of America) met with us during the 2002 National BDPA Technology Conference in Orlando, FL. They wanted to create an aggressive corporate partnership with a focus on return on investment and employee development. The discussion resulted in Fleet becoming the first Platinum Sponsor in the history of BDPA. Other positive aspects of Joe's involvement with BDPA include:
  • Appoint Fleet executive (Will Bundy) as BDPA outside director
  • Keynote Speaker at 2003 annual Awards Gala in Philadelphia, PA
  • Chair BETF Investment Committee (2006-2007)
  • Facilitated creation of BDPA chapters in Albany, Northern Virginia and Rhode Island.
  • Personal referrals resulting in over $400,000 sponsorship from other corporations
BETF is a respected organization within our community and around the nation as a result of Joe's leadership. I recall being worried about whether or not BETF could live up to its vision of being a fundraising tool for BDPA programs and services. I watched as Joe worked with others on the BETF board of directors to quietly and effectively hire an executive director, solicit funding and empower creation of a BETF 'Pitch Book'. Joe provided the leadership that resulted in the creation of new BDPA chapters in Rhode Island, Albany and Northern Virginia.

Joe is one of those remarkable visionaries in our nation. He is able to work through others to turn ideas into reality. The beneficiary in this case are the IT professionals and students around the country. Joe provided remarkable service as a BETF director from 2003-2007.

We don't have a BETF Hall of Fame yet. When we do ... Joe Smialowski will be a charter member!