Category Archives: Local Tech

Lori Jordan at our September 2018 Women in Tech Breakfast

We were so excited to have Lori Jordan as our special guest at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Lori Jordan moved to San Luis Obispo in 2012 after living in Los Angeles for ten years. Before this she was in San Francisco after leaving San Luis Obispo in 1998. Lori graduated from Cal Poly with a B.S. in Recreation Administration and a specialized concentration in Industrial Engineering.
 
Straight out of school, Lori worked for local SLO radio stations as the Promotions Director. She moved to San Francisco in 1998 where she found her place at OpenTV. A Start-up with under 100 employees, Lori experienced the growth and eventual IPO of the company while serving as Product Manager, Tools. After working at two more start-ups in SF, Lori eventually moved to Los Angeles in 2002 where she worked for Yahoo!, Movielink, Netflix and Paramount Pictures. She mostly focused on the new market of Digital Distribution for film and TV.
While at Paramount Pictures, Lori was inspired to start a business in the digital content space, so did just this with her husband. Red Staple focused on creating and delivering interactive movies, albums and books to the iTunes platform. She also started a company in the knitting and fiber industry, Yarn Pop, which she ultimately sold in 2015.
Today, Lori works at the Cal Poly, Center For Innovation & Entrepreneurship where she heads up programs and the Summer Accelerator as the Director of Student Innovation Programs.

Hear Lori’s insights on startups, creating culture, and  developing innovation by checking out the track below:

Note: Thanks for your patience with our audio quality. We’re grassroots and meeting in a coffee shop, so some noise slips through—but we feel the information is just to important not to post.

Looking for information on upcoming events? Have a speaker you’d like to nominate? Want to support local women in tech? Follow us on Facebook! 

Judy Mahan at our August 2018 Women in Tech Breakfast

We were so excited to have Judy Mahan was our special guest at this month’s WIT breakfast.

Judy Mahan has a dual role as the Incubator Director for the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the SLO HotHouse, and the Director of the Cal Poly Small Business Development Center (“SBDC”). At the SLO HotHouse, she leads the programming to assist in the business development of the twenty-one current incubating companies. On the SBDC side, Judy manages the pool of 24 expert consultants who support SBDC clients. With her experience as a corporate and securities attorney, Judy also provides legal guidance to more than 135 company clients within the SLO County SBDC network.

After graduating with a J.D. from the University of Paris X Law School, in France, Judy pursued an LLM in International Tax Law at Golden Gate University, San Francisco. She immediately began her career as an associate attorney for DLA Piper (formerly Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, LLP) in Palo Alto.  During her time in Silicon Valley, she represented tech startups in venture financings, as well as institutional investors in private equity and debt transactions. She also represented companies in public offerings (IPOs), and has experience in general licensing and commercial transactions, including mergers and acquisitions.

Judy has led a number of mutli-million dollar deals, including the IPO for Salon Media Group, Maxtor Corporation’s acquisition of Quantum’s computer hard disk line of business, and a number of acquisitions for Finisar Corporation, the world’s largest supplier of optical communication components and subsystems.

With her inquisitive personality, Judy’s career has been interspersed with a few adventures to the pacific region: one year in Vanuatu as a Senior Manager of Trust and Corporate Services, and another in the Federated States of Micronesia (“FSM”) as the Special Assistant to the President of FSM.

Hear Judy’s insights on starting a business, starting over, and calling out sexism by checking out the track below:

Note: Thanks for your patience with our audio quality. We’re grassroots and meeting in a coffee shop, so some noise slips through—but we feel the information is just to important not to post.

Looking for information on upcoming events? Have a speaker you’d like to nominate? Want to support local women in tech? Follow us on Facebook! 

Intellectual Property Rights from Tom Lebens

Tom Lebens is our resident legal expert when it comes to tech and the business world. Recently he provided us with a much needed update on Intellectual Property Rights for any current or aspiring business owner.

Intellectual property is the core source of value and competitive advantage for many businesses as we navigate our knowledge economy. Much has changed in, for example, the patent law since Tom last spoke with SOFTEC, both in the legal landscape, with the adoption of the American Invents Act and the first to file patent system, the creation of the provisional patent application, changes in how software patents are viewed by the courts, and changes in enforcement options for small and medium-sized businesses.

At the same time intellectual property remains the constraint that drives creativity in many instances. At the same time, the process and cost of preparing intellectual property documents are changing with the introduction of new technologies that assist (and sometimes replace) attorneys, agents, and technical writers. Tom will share how these technologies are being deployed in his office and his thoughts as to what this means for the future.

Tom is a veteran presenter at TechBrew, and also has a long history of participating with Softec.

His slidedeck for his presentation can be found here:
What is Intellectual Property — Small Business IP Strategy 2017-11-13

Lorelei Sibet at September’s WIT Breakfast

First off—a quick apology for the lack of previous post from our summer WIT Breakfasts—we had some truly inspirational speakers. While we haven’t been able to keep up posting here, you can relive the adventure by heading over to our Facebook page. There you will find recaps from our wonderful guest speakers: Shannon Pileggi from Cal Poly’s Statistics Department, Jen Rushing from Central Coast New Tech High, and Erica Thatcher from SLO Library.

We’re back in the swing of things here, and should be posting all the rest of our recaps here on the blog. Which brings me to this month’s WIT breakfast recap!


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

Lorelei Sibet has more than 25 years experience as an entrepreneur and business owner. In addition to her agency, One Siren Productions, Lorelei is involved in several businesses, products, and community interests.

One of those businesses is SLO MakerSpace — a 24/7 community tool and craft shop. In the last year she’s expanded Ceramics, Woodturning, Summer Camp, Blacksmithing, Leathercrafting, and the MiniMakers Specialty Program in partnership with Inspire Charter Schools. MiniMakers has 50 homeschool children attending SLO MakerSpace 10-hours a week during the school year for a state curriculum driven and immersive project-based learning specialty program. Lorelei is now focused on expanding SLO MakerSpace’s resources and support for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Lorelei also runs the SLO County Women Entrepreneurs Meetup Group and  Facebook Group for women entrepreneurs and business owners meet, network, share resources, and promote to the community to help grow their businesses. 

After 24 years in the Washington, DC area, two years ago Lorelei moved to San Luis Obispo with her husband and business partner, Dharmesh Patel, to specifically support SLO MakerSpace and grow their other new businesses and products.

Hear all the action and follow along at home by checking out link below for Lorelei’s insights on being starting a new venture, supporting women entrepreneurs, what it means to be a maker, pie factories, and all the delicious details of the SLO MakerSpace: 

Follow us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events, hear from other local women in tech, or nominate a speaker.

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.

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.

Students make Robotics Great (Again)!

Last month over 700 people chose to invest in students instead of watching the presidential debates. Adults and kids alike enjoyed robotic creations and learned how to solve real world problems with technology – there was no accusations about 33,000 lost emails, missing tax returns, or negative jabs. Just passionate debates over battery technologies and construction materials.

SLO MakerSpace

From school robots to commercial drones, this event is designed to inspire creative technologies and encourage kids who have a talent for engineering. Grants are given to existing robotics teams and key connections and seed money provided to form new high school teams. Softec gave $7,500 in grants this year and $40,000 over the last 11 years.

RMD Robotics and Drones

Softec gave $7,500 in grants this year and $40,000 over the last 11 years.

Instead of going toe-to-toe on higher wages and better education, robotics clubs come face-to-face with real-world experience for our future engineers, business leaders and managers. Many teams have a marketing officer, treasurer, and HR director to account for the thousands of hours, ten of thousands of dollars, and relationships with sponsors. More than STEM – club robotics create opportunity for students of all talents teaching lessons more valuable than a typical child’s ‘first job’.

VEX Arena

Instead of a debate on higher wages and better education, robotics clubs create a real-world experience for our future engineers, business leaders and managers.

Softec and our sponsors take direct action to invest in our local economy. As a local non-profit software and technology trade association, we work to build and promote local events for our sponsors, and we focus this annual event as an investment in our students – where we create a multi-generational experience for all ages. And that is the truth – no fact checkers needed!  😉

Softec Robotics Expo – a unique intersection of learning and fun!

Softec’s 8th Annual Student Robotics Expo is this Monday, Sept. 26th at 5:50pm. This free event has packed the house each year – full of learning opportunities and plenty of fun.

What is unique about this robotics expo is the student exposure to more advanced robotics leagues and applications in the commercial industry to provide a taste of what their future in robotics can look like. Truly a multi-generational experience, with LEGO robots, full-sized and underwater High School robots – and commercial bots from the SLO County Bomb Sqad and drones used in the Wine Industry, there is certain to be something for everyone.

This event has grown in every way; in order to bring in new activities this year, we have moved to the Alex Madonna Expo Center! Last year we offered a Drone Obstacle course for the first time. This year we have a drone arena, bigger than last year’s course and located in the Expo Building to make piloting easier. So bring your drone or quadcopter – and compete for the best time in your assigned class.

The community’s support to put on this event has been amazing! CalFire will be providing a pool for the underwater robotics teams and we already mentioned the Bomb bot from SLO Sheriff’s Dept. Cal Poly’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and staff from Experts Exchange have offered to volunteer to help with setup and running the Drone Course. We also have several food vendors lined up: The Pairing Knife, RibLine, What the Truck, Paradise Shaved Ice, and Coastal Peaks Coffee

Several Robotics Leagues will be Represented:

  • FIRST – High School Robotics
  • MATE – Marine Advanced Technology Education
  • VEX – High school and Middle School Robotics
  • VEXiq – Elementary School Robotics
  • FIRST LEGO League – Elementary School Robotics

Agenda:

  • 5:30PM – Food vendors start serving
  • 6:00pm – The Robotics Expo Begins! Attendance is Free!