SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The tribal technology industry came together in full force at the ninth annual TribalNet conference in Scottsdale Sept. 29 – Oct. 2. The targeted focus of the conference keeps information technology leaders and technology vendors coming together year after year for this event.
“The annual conference has always been about bringing together people uniquely tied to one another who can share common goals, strategies, success stories, challenges and more to help us all move forward together as an industry,” said TribalNet director/coordinator Shannon Bouschor.
Among the event’s highlights were the presentation of the first IT Industry award to the information systems team of the Mohegan Tribe, accepted by the tribe’s chief information officer, Charles Scharnagle, and choice sessions by keynote speakers Mark Sunday, CIO of industry giant Oracle, and Chris Cummiskey, government information technology agency director and CIO for the state of Arizona. Both leaders provided a model of best practices that could be applied to influence tribal organizations.
“We really hope that those in attendance take something away from this conference,” said Mike Day, founder of TribalNet and chairman of the advisory boards. In his conference welcome, he urged the audience to use what they learn to help improve tribal IT at organizations across the nation. “That’s why you’re here,” he said to the group. “To learn from each other and impact your organization.”
Attendees participated in several breakout sessions and roundtables, including topics related to health, casino and general IT. In addition, Jim Flowers, IT director for Fort McDowell Enterprises, the host site of the conference, opened his doors to the inner workings of his IT shop to TribalNet attendees with tours of his facility.
Attendees also had the opportunity to meet with more than 60 IT vendors, including Microsoft. “Microsoft has been a member of TribalNet for about two years,” said Don Lionetti, account manager for tribal government and gaming at Microsoft. “We have found the investments we make in the membership and at the annual TribalNet trade show to be the best use of our marketing budget in reaching out to the tribal government and tribal gaming community.”
Microsoft belongs to other tribal trade organizations and finds that the key thing that differentiates TribalNet is that the organization and trade show are IT-specific. “Other tribal shows don’t have the IT focus,” Lionetti said. “Therefore, the quality of TribalNet contacts and conversations are of higher value in terms of reaching the tribal IT decision makers.”
TribalNet is an industry resource for technology leaders at tribal organizations and casinos as well as the vendors that supply products and services to this specific market. The organizational focus is to bring technology and tribes together by offering an industry annual conference as well as year-round membership and consulting services.
“As an industry, we all are looking forward to what the year ahead brings,” Bouschor said. The next TribalNet conference will mark its 10th anniversary. “We are already working on the next conference to make it yet another well-rounded IT event that reaches out and makes a difference at tribal organizations nationwide.”
Year-round webinars, newsletters, membership services and more are available online at www.tribalnetonline.com. TribalNet 10 will be held Oct. 5 – Oct. 8, 2009, at the Suncoast Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas. Visit www.tribalnetonline.com for more information.