Kristen Olsen at May’s Women in Tech Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Kristen Olsen at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Kristen Olsen (@kdolsen) moved to San Luis Obispo nearly 20 years ago to pursue her dream of improving people’s lives through software development. She gets that opportunity every day as a Software Development Manager for Amazon, leading a team that enables people all over the world to independently publish their books for distribution on Kindle and print.

She studied Computer Science at Cal Poly and her career has been a tour of many of the large technology companies that people love – including Intel, HP, Apple, and Adobe (then Macromedia). Locally she started working for LEVEL Studios helping to create websites for large companies and then worked remotely as an Apple employee helping to write the services that Developers use to make applications available on iOS and Mac devices. After working remotely for years she wanted to come into a local office again which lead her to Amazon in San Luis Obispo.
Kristen lives in North County with her amazing husband Joe who stays home to take care of the kids and two young boys who are always at the ready with hugs. In her free time she loves to spend time with her husband and sons playing video & board games, watching eSports, being a part of a church community, and making crafts.

Weren’t able to join us in person? No problem. Join us digitally by checking out link below for Kristen’s insights on being a woman in tech, supporting a stay-at-home dad,  eSports, video games—and how, for Kristen,  technology is an act of making:

Share your own insights on our Facebook page.  Follow us  for updates on upcoming events, hear from other local women in tech, or nominate a speaker.

Sarah Risley at April’s Women in Tech Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Sarah Risley at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Sarah Risley (@SarahRisley) is the Nuclear Training Accreditation Supervisor at Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) Diablo Canyon Power Plant. In 2010, driven by her passion for recruitment and retention of women in technology, she founded the Diablo Canyon Chapter of U.S. Women in Nuclear (U.S. WIN). U.S. WIN is the premier network of more than 8,000 members that work in, and support nuclear and radiation-related fields, with a keen focus on public outreach and professional development. She continues on the board today, and also represents members from the central and pacific regions on the national level by her service on the U.S. WIN Steering Committee, and is the Executive Sponsor for the national Professional Development Committee. Sarah holds a Master of Business Administration from Cal Poly and Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communication from the University of Texas, Austin. Sarah, her husband Chris, and their two young children reside in San Luis Obispo’s south county.

For those you who missed the breakfast—don’t worry! We recorded the interview.

Check out the link below for Sarah’s insights on being a working mother,  movies—from Nightmare Before Christmas to Some Like it Hot—and women in tech: 

Be sure to stop by our Facebook page to hear about upcoming events, drop a comment, or request a future speaker.

SMV Tech Brew – April 2017

Last night the SMV Tech Brew at the Moxie Cafe was a standing room only event with every chair filled. The crowd came together to hear Brian Beaton PhD, and Bruce Burton from Cal Poly’s California Cyber Training Complex talk about the upcoming California Cyber Innovation Challenge in June. Included in the audiences were students from Orcutt Academy that are considering building a team for the competition.  With over 40 people in the audience we were at capacity.

SMV Tech Brew – Jeff Barnes

Last night about 25 people came together for a presentation from Jeff Barnes. The presentation started with a trip down memory lane talking about the evolution of CafeFX in Santa Maria. This was capped off with the demo roll that included many of the feature films that CafeFX during its 18 years in Santa Maria.

As always Jeff was a good storyteller and he made the presentation fun to listen to. The second half of the presentation was on Lytro camera technology and it is a real game changer. The data depth was amazing and the file sizes involved are just crazy but so are the abilities to edit after shooting. While Jeff went well over my head several times the parts I understood were amazing and the others probably was too. Jeff intended to get to the application for VR for this technology but we ran out of time. We are currently discussing with Jeff a possible second Tech Brew so we can finish our look at this subject.

On a personal note my son Ryan attended with his son Zeplen so here is a picture of three generations at a Softec meeting. For those that have been with Softec for a long time you might remember that my mother used to do guest check-in during the late 90’s so this makes it 4 generations of Softec in our family.

Call for Speakers 

Softec would like to hear from businesses or individuals that would be interested in speaking at Softec Events. Please reply to this email and include complete contact information, speaker bio, and topic description. Send this to events@softec.org
  • Softec holds Tech Brews in San Luis and Santa Maria each month and the presentation are approximately 20 minutes in length.
  • Softec holds Dinners that draw large crowds. Common format is a panel of experts talking on hot topics in tech.
  • Softec Open Houses are held in partnership with local businesses that are willing to give Softec an inside peek at cool tech things.
The first evaluation in giving someone a speaking slot is the WOW factor of the topic and speaker. Our mission in the community is to connect people, resources, and ideas to create a vibrant tech industry here on the central coast. We do this by creating fun events that attract smart people so they can meet other smart people. Over the last twenty plus years we have found that smart people talking about cool tech ideas create Softec moments.
Softec Moments are when people, ideas, and resources come together to create business formation or growth opportunities in our community. Many of the leading tech businesses in the region have one or more Softec moments in their history.

Kelly Irish at March’s Women in Tech Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Kelly Irish at this month’s WIT breakfast. 

Kelly is currently a software engineering manager at MindBody. She received a BS in computer science from Virginia Tech and has worked as a software engineer for the past 20 years. She’s coded for small consumer focused startups to business management software, but the majority of her time was spent coding for government contracts from submarines to surveillance.

For those you who missed the breakfast—don’t worry! We recorded the interview.

Check out the link below for Kelly’s insights on submarines, coding, and women in tech: 

Want more? Be sure to stop by our Facebook page to hear about upcoming events, drop a comment, or request a future speaker.

 

VR Demo @ Santa Maria Tech Brew

Well after a few problems with scheduling caused by storm related power outages we got our sneak peek at an innovation in VR being developed by Trevor Orrick. This was the first time the device has been seen outside of the development team so it really was an exclusive sneak peak and the tech is very cool.

Their innovation is the control mat that you stand on to control the action within the VR environment. 

During the demo the group could see on the monitor what the person wearing the headset was seeing and the quality of the images was remarkable. The headset was another company’s product supplemented by the mat control developed by Trevor’s team.

After a short talk the group got to try the device and here is Tim Williams CEO from Digital West giving it a try.  I tried this for the first time and it was disorientating but I am sure with some time that I would get better.

It was a great event with about 20 people attending.

 

Bridget Benson at February’s WIT Breakfast

We had a great time getting to know Bridget Benson at this month’s WIT breakfast. Bridget is an assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at Cal Poly. Her research interests span computer engineering and aquatic sciences, focusing on selecting and developing technologies to advance marine science research.  

For those you who missed the breakfast—don’t worry! We recorded the interview.

Check out the link below for Bridget’s insights on electrical engineering, marine science, and women in tech: 

Apologies for the background noise. These interviews are done in an informal, coffee shop setting. We’re working on engineering a better audio setup, so stay tuned!

Want more? Be sure to stop by our Facebook page to hear about upcoming events, drop a comment, or request a future speaker. 

New Year, New Venue, New Faces—WIT 2017

We’re gearing up for 2017—and there are some exciting new changes coming to Softec’s Women in Tech (WIT) group!

First off, we’re going to shake things up with new days, times, and venues for some of our monthly events. Here’s what we’ve got planned:

Breakfasts:

Breakfast will now be the first Wednesday of the month at Steynberg Gallery on Monterey St.

7:30-8:00 Networking/coffee

8:00-8:20 Program

8:20-8:45 Q&A/discussion

8:45-9:15 Networking

For our breakfast program, we’ll be interviewing local women in technology—focusing on relevant issues—so bring your questions. For our first meeting, we’ll be doing some group brainstorming around the topic of “What does it mean to be a woman in tech?”

WIT and Wine Happy Hour:

Our wine nights will be the second Tuesday of each month at Wine Shed.

This is a great opportunity to grab a glass of wine and network with our local women. We keep this program loose and informal—with just a few announcements. The rest goes wherever the conversation may take us.

Lunch:

Lunch will continue to be at noon on the third Thursday of the month at Shalimar.

Take a break from the workday and enjoy a casual lunch with your WIT friends. Informal networking happens over lunch.

Can’t make it?

We’ll miss you—but you can now follow us on our brand new Facebook Page! Stay up to date on our latest events, get audio files of anything you might have missed, and participate in polls so we can continue to bring you the discussion topics you care about most.
See you in 2017!

Softec is Raising Funds to Provide Immediate Relief to SLOHS Computer Lab that Suffered Major Fire Damage

Softec has been supporting local high school robotics for over 11 years and has given over $37,000 – so when the computer lab that contains all the robots used by SLO High VEX Team 920 burns down, we react quickly.

For those of you who have not heard yet, San Luis Obispo High School’s Computer Lab that burned early Thursday morning. The alleged perpetrators have been caught but the damage is total and severe. Softec has long been a supporter of the computer lab in Room 307. We hope to help get the computer lab and its students back on track as quickly as possible.

Our Softec VP, Stewart Morse, is a former SLOHS parent and Robotics sponsor – he explained that “Room 307 has been a safe environment during lunch for kids to go advance their technology skills and create lifelong friendships.”

This must be an agonizing loss for Mrs. Fetcho and the students. Casualites include the robotics equipment that the students have been developing and building for several months for a competition this weekend and a statewide competition in January.

 We have worked with the SLO Community foundation to setup a tax deductible account. Please support SLO High School.

UPDATE: Over $15,000 has been raised so far!

Tax Deductible Donations can be sent to the Community Foundation
Or by Check:
TO:
Softec, a fund with the Community Foundation SLO

ADDRESS:
The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County
550 Dana Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

We also have a GoFundMe Campaign at:
https://www.gofundme.com/friends-of-slo-high-robotics

Donations will go towards helping with the immediate replacement of computers, robotics equipment, desks, chairs, tools, etc. and equipment to support the clubs that met in that room.