tech-jam-balconyThe Vermont Tech Jam ended nearly a week ago and I’m still catching my breath.

Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25, were jam-packed (pardon the pun) with presentations, interviews and conversations with students, teachers, exhibitors, entrepreneurs, legislators and friends. Because the Tech Jam is a free event with multiple points of entry it’s impossible to know exactly how many people attended. We counted at least 1,500 people, plus a couple hundred presenters, exhibitors and event staff. Here were some of the highlights:

  • The Tech Jam sold out of exhibitor space for the fourth year in a row. Nearly all of the 60+ exhibitors were hiring. The ones that weren’t seeking to fill positions were educational institutions (Vermont Law School, UVM Continuing and Distance Ed), job training programs (Vermont Works for Women) and nonprofits (Vermont Technology Alliance, Laboratory B, StartupVT). Walking around the exhibition floor, I saw many people wearing the green dots that identified them as job seekers. I knew at least a few other folks who were looking to switch jobs but didn’t wear stickers because they didn’t want their current employers to know they were restless.
  • The Tech Jam awards went to a company and two individuals who are great representatives of the Vermont tech scene. Ben Kinnaman accepted the Innovation Award for Greensea Systems; Bradley Holt and Jason Pelletier of Found Line are the two new Tech Jam Ambassadors. The awards ceremony at Generator gave exhibitors the chance to see Burlington’s new maker space.
  • More than 500 middle and high school students attended the Jam with their classes. I spoke with students from Hunt Middle School in Burlington, who were taking part in the Creative Exercises in Paper Prototyping workshop with Marguerite Dibble from GameTheory; I met a group of high schoolers from Randolph Union High School who were in a project-based learning class, working on a parkour video game; I talked with a group from Bradford who were checking out the 3D printer at Generator.

Thanks again to all of our sponsors, to our organizing partner the Vermont Technology Alliance, to all of the exhibitors who spent two days standing behind tables talking with people and to my coworkers at Seven Days, who kept the trains running on time.

Did you attend the Tech Jam? Don’t forget to fill out this brief survey by Friday, November 14.