Tech event gains new sponsor

Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2000

There's a new host at the COMTECH party.

The South East Regional Resource Center, headquartered in Juneau, will sponsor COMTECH 2001. Previously, the three-day technology extravaganza was sponsored by The Alaska Committee, a volunteer group dedicated to improving Juneau as the capital city.

``The woman who was running it moved,'' said JoAnn Henderson, executive director for SERRC, which runs Juneau's Adult Education Center and other education programs statewide. ``I think at that point The Alaska Committee was considering whether or not they would continue to be as involved.''

Henderson, with Sheryl Weinberg, SERRC's associate director, met with The Alaska Committee and proposed that the group handle the project. Both are confident SERRC is right for the job.

``We've done a lot of conference coordination ourselves as an educational agency, and it's a real appropriate kind of activity for an agency like SERRC to do,'' Henderson said. ``Because of the educational services we provide statewide, I think we have a lot of contacts, a strong network.''

``We're an educational entity, and a very broad based one,'' Weinberg added. ``We do a lot with technology as well, and saw that it would be beneficial for us in that regard.''

COMTECH 2001 will run from Feb. 7-9, and will include technology training seminars, hands-on labs, demonstrations, industry experts and trade show exhibitions. Though planning is still in the preliminary stages, SERRC has hired two coordinators, Joan Pardes of Juneau and Kela Halfman of Anchorage, to help organize the event, and one speaker out of a planned three has been booked.

The three speakers -- each appealing to a different facet of the community -- represent SERRC's hope to expand COMTECH's appeal beyond the business community.

``We would like to ... have a strand that would appeal to parents and teachers and students,'' Weinberg said. ``We (see) that the audience for COMTECH could be broader.''

``(COMTECH) was really geared a little bit more toward the high-tech type,'' Henderson said. ``We want to keep that as a strand, but bring in kind of an educational aspect of it.''

But there's no sense messing with success, Weinberg said.

``It's not broken. We don't need to fix it,'' she said. ``We just need to continue in the same vein.''

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