Buffalo Business First Features infoTech Niagara's Membership Drive

Author: David Bertola, Buffalo Business First Reporter- Business First Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/print-edition/2013/10/18/infotech-chair-takes-aim-at-falling.html

InfoTech chair takes aim at falling numbers

When Peter Ronca was appointed chairman of InfoTech Niagara last December, he said his first challenge would include addressing dwindling membership.

And as his first year at the helm nears a close, he’s doing just that.

InfoTech Niagara is the trade association for the region’s information technology industry. Ronca, president of Buffalo-based data monitoring company Shatter I.T., said Oct. 8 that InfoTech Niagara is about one-third of the way through a 90-day membership drive.

Throughout the year, he said, it has been cleaning up its database of members, which include individuals and companies. Once that was done, it was determined that membership totaled about 100. He would like to double that in six months.

“We are now comfortable knowing who our members are and we’re moving forward to expand that,” he said.

To get to 200 members, he said the InfoTech board has been split into three groups that are canvassing Western New York businesses to urge them to join. And the board doesn’t want to stop at 200.

“We’ve added real high-energy professionals to the board, and from that group, we made a little bit of a competitive effort, splitting up into three groups to see who’ll come through with the most members,” Ronca said. “So far, it’s been working pretty well.”

Two hundred members is a short-term goal, he said. Despite having had to cull through a less-than-reliable database to arrive at the 100 figure, he said membership had been as high as 600 a few years ago. The organization was founded in 1989.

He said the group has been leveraging about 1,700 email addresses in an effort to tell the story about what the association does for the local tech community.

InfoTech Niagara was formed to share information about trends and new technology with those in the IT industry. The mission is promoting growth of the technology sector through events, education and relationships to foster a passion and commitment to the community.

“Our focus is to attract as many tech-based people, including those who have large, internal IT presences,” Ronca said.

"The larger it gets, the more attractive it is to sponsors", said board member Kelly Merz, marketing manager at computer forensics and data-recovery company Digits LLC.

“As we keep expanding, our events will be better attended,” Merz said. “The more members, the more sponsors we’ll have (and) the better events we can have. These are educational and networking events.”

Typically, she said, attendees like the InfoTech events for educational, networking and recruiting purposes.

“People want to meet those who comprise a who’s who in technology in Western New York, whether they’re experts or coming out of college,” she said.

For more information, go to www.infotechniagara.org or email itn@infotechniagara.org.

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