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An Overview of the 2019 ECC Conference

This post is the first in a new series on the 2019 Enterprise Computing Community (ECC) Conference

"IT Trendz" in white against a purple banner, white chat bubble in righthand corner, with connected cubes against a blue background below.

This post is the first in a new series on the 2019 Enterprise Computing Community (ECC) Conference that I attended from June 9-11 at Marist College in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. The conference themes included technology in healthcare, big data and underrepresented student groups in technology. I found the mix of these themes to be very interesting. I was especially interested in the healthcare-related topics.

The Crucial Role of Sponsors

The conference has five levels or kinds of sponsorship including:
  1. Gold: IBM and BlackRidge Technology
  2. Silver: New Era, Broadcom and Mainline Information Systems
  3. Bronze: Vicom Infinity and Rocket
  4. Academic: University of Arkansas and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)
  5. Media: IBM Systems Media and IBM Destination z
Sponsors play a crucial role because they fund the conference, including meals, so there is no charge to attend for the hundreds of attendees at each conference. In exchange for their sponsorship, the organizations get to talk to the attendees about their products through presentations and one-on-one discussions at the tables set up for the sponsors in the showcase. They also get to add flyers about their organizations and products into the attendees’ conference bags. 

Materials From Sponsors

Here is a sample of what I collected and discussed with different sponsor representatives:
  • IBM provided the latest IBM z14 product card for model ZR1 and models M01-M05. Interestingly, the card contains an actual circuit for the z14. IBM had an actual z14 computer at the conference that you could view and discuss with the IBM technical representative. I also received a one-page document inviting me to explore the IBM Z Skills Website (
  • BlackRidge Technology provided a two-page data sheet on the adaptive trust for a cyber defense solution. I also received a two-page document on packet-based authentication and security, which was in the form of an interview with John Hayes, CTO for BlackRidge Technologies.  
  • New Era provided a data sheet on their z Exchange virtual user group. 
  • Broadcom provided a flyer on hybrid IT and career opportunities, indicating that Broadcom is investing in mainframe.
  • Mainline provided a handout titled “The Technology Partner for Business Results,” which included a discussion of the benefits provided by Mainline, including a list of their major partners.
  • Vicom Infinity provided information about their status as an IBM premier business partner specializing in high availability solutions for mainframes.
  • VCU School of Business (Richmond, Virginia) provided an information sheet focused on data science, health information systems, information security and engineering.
  • IBM Systems Media and IBM Destination z provided an issue of IBM Systems magazine, IBM Z, and a copy of the 2019 Mainframe Solutions edition. 
I also gathered materials from Marist faculty and program managers including the Institute for Data Center Professionals (IDCP) and information on the on-site and online graduate programs.

Keynote Presentations 

The four keynote presentations aligned with the conference themes, including: 
Speaker Presentation Title
Joshua Matheus, managing director and global head of networks, Goldman Sachs “HIPPAASOXamus: Network Security for Regulated Organizations”
Dr. Nicki Washington, author and associate professor, Winthrop University “Look for Helpers: Creating and Maintaining a Culture of Allyship in Computing + Tech”
Jianying Hu, Ph.D, IBM fellow; global science leader, AI for Healthcare, IBM Research  “Computational Methods for Next Generation Healthcare”
Gabriel Bell, senior manager of data and analytics, Unigroup “Can a Single Source of Truth be a Single Point of Failure?”

Students at the Conference 

I was struck by the number of students at the conference from a variety of difference sources. We had Marist students supporting the conference. We also had Marist students presenting with faculty. Many students attending the conference came from community colleges like Bergen Community College and a variety of four-year colleges. They were a confident collection of young people who easily engaged in conversation about IT topics and represented themselves well whether on the stage or in the audience.  

Next Week

Next week, I’ll take a deep dive into the sessions that I attended on Day 1 of the conference. I’ll summarize the material and link to the presentation so you can explore on your own. 

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