The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Technology Council is working hard in 2017 to optimize its programming and plan strategically for San Antonio’s foreseeable future as a tech hub. Specifically targeting San Antonio’s Chief Information Officers, this council has designated two separate events designed exclusively for strategic planning toward digital disruption and IT innovation. “San Antonio’s tech scene is in a state of tremendous growth. With the education and technology we are developing, the North SA Chamber knows that we need to play our part in the technology community,” said Technology Council Chair Bryan Guinn of ENTRUST Technology Consulting Services. 

Every month close to 40 senior IT executives and providers gather for the chamber’s monthly CIO breakfast series hosted at the Petroleum Club. The group discusses day-to-day operations and value-added programming for the industry that proves if you’re not one step ahead, you’re falling behind. Just by being in the room you can tell that these professionals know the importance of security and professional development.

In a conversation at February’s breakfast Yvonne Garibay of the San Antonio Federal Credit Union discussed the Emerging Innovation Architect, a new position that SACU has created. “The central focus [of this role] is to look for emerging technologies specifically in their mobile and online banking channel,” Garibay said.

Steve Young, vice president of Information Technology for VIA Metropolitan Transit also discussed new applications being developed by VIA to provide customers with accessible, mobile trip planning. VIA is working with several partners to develop live data streams from its fleet to give updated bus arrival times. Later this spring, VIA will launch VIA goMobile, a mobile ticketing application that allows customers to purchase a daily, weekly, or monthly bus passes, thus alleviating the hassle of coins or paper tickets and speeding up pick-up times.

“I’ve had several people who have moved from other cities approach me and tell me that they didn’t have a collaborative breakfast like this where they came from,” said Young, who is the chair of this year’s CIO breakfast committee. “We’re really forming a community to support each other – and not just tech companies. Tech representatives from all industries – universities, city, transportation, start-ups – attend this breakfast and prepare each other for San Antonio’s new, thriving tech scene.”

In addition to the monthly breakfast, the North SA Chamber will host a CIO panel discussion during one of San Antonio’s largest business and technology innovation conferences, InnoTech San Antonio. This year’s conference will take place at the Norris Conference Center and from April 12-13, offering half and full-day tracks on topics including mobility, diversity in tech, IT security, IT operations, business intelligence, and analytics, IT leadership, innovations and disruption.

The North SA Chamber’s CIO panel will take place on Thursday, April 13 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the main ballroom.

This year’s topic will focus on “Business Value of IT Innovation” with featured panelists Tim Brown, VP of IT Innovation Research & Development for USAA; Anthony Espinoza, deputy CIO for the University of Texas at San Antonio; Shawn Wiora, CEO of Maxxsure LLC & Mynd Virtual Reality; and Steve Young, VP of Information Technology for VIA Metropolitan Transit.

“To prepare our businesses for competitive innovation now and in the future, we really have to look at what our customers’ needs are, because we can improve business process through technology and thus, provide real value to the business customer,” Guinn said.

“Big data analysis is transforming the way we partner with clients and talent at a rapid pace in today’s market, ” said Lori White, chair of the CIO panel and managing director at title sponsor of the event, Randstad Technologies. “Randstad Technologies embraces disruption, and continually focuses on innovation coupled with collaboration to introduce the latest trends and tools in our industry.”

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the panel and can be accessed at the North SA Chamber’s event page or by calling (210) 344-4848.

In addition to the programming for IT executives, the Technology Council recognizes the need to inform small business members about emerging technologies and security measures. The North SA Chamber merged its monthly networking breakfast series with a successful, technology-focused program, Optimizing Business.

“We’re optimizing Networking Breakfast in 2017,” said Phyllis Gallay, North SA Chamber’s board chair. “We realized that we had really great information for our small business members but needed to offer it during a time that fit their full day schedules.”

The first of the four technology-focused breakfasts kicked off in January with an attendance of close to 100 people. For monthly topics and registration, check out the events calendar and registration on the second Tuesday of each month from 7:30-9 a.m. at the Petroleum Club.

The Technology Council plans its programming with the North SA Chamber’s five pillars in mind – advocacy, networking, recognition, leadership, and professional development. “We make it our duty to protect our business member’s success, provide them with opportunities to meet other professionals, develop their skills and receive recognition,” Guinn said. “Like the motto says: You’re moving forward, we’ll help you get there.”

The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has been keeping Bexar County strong for more than 40 years through the delivery of advocacy, networking, recognition, leadership, and professional development programs. For more information, click here. 

The North SA Chamber of Commerce's mission is to strengthen member businesses and the community through the delivery of advocacy, networking, recognition, leadership, and professional development programs.