Middlebury

Conference to examine rebounding technology market Jan. 24-25

January 15, 2004

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-On Jan. 24-25, students will join the public at a Middlebury College conference, "DigitalBridges2004," that will focus on the strengthening technology industry, and the challenges that accompany such a rebound.  Software, technology, marketing and travel industry executives, venture capitalists and legal experts will participate in a series of six panels.  Among the topics of discussion will be the negative or unexpected consequences of the Internet, including the dilemma of creating jobs as an increasingly knowledge-based world transforms manufacturing on a global scale and on a local level here in Vermont.  Conference participants will also address the challenge of recycling discarded electronics products, the fundamental changes that the Web has caused in the travel industry, and how cyberspace is replacing traditional forms of communication for many seeking work, friendship and love.

Panelists will include Matt Grossman, director of digital strategy at the Motion Picture Association; George Lee, managing director of investment bank Goldman Sachs; and Chris Diamond, president of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation.  Local Vermont business figures, such as Bristol-based Autumn Harp executive David Logan, Jay Peak Resort President Bill Stenger, and Burlington-based Union Street Media Founder and President Ted Adler, will also participate.

All events will take place in Room 216 of Bicentennial Hall on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125), and are free and open to the public.

The two-day conference was organized by Michael Claudon, Middlebury College David K. Smith Professor of Applied Economics, in conjunction with the course he is currently teaching during January term titled "DigitalBridges2004."  Claudon, who wants to encourage participation by the students and the public, said, "At all of these panels, we will welcome questions from the audience and encourage everyone to engage in the discussion."

The keynote event of the conference is a "town meeting" that will take place from 6-7:15 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24.  A panel titled "Working and Dating in Cyberspace" moderated by Karen Lewis Jacobs, product manager at Baltimore-based Advertising.com, will feature Aaron Abend, founder of Burlington, Mass.-based ViaPoint Software; Adler, who is also founder of Middkid.com; and John Davidson, a Silicon Valley private investor and entrepreneur. 

The first panel of the conference on Saturday morning, "Can Customers be Trusted?," will take place from 10-11:45 a.m. and include David Buckland, vice president of business development at San Mateo, Cal.-based Digital Fuel, a business software company; Matt Grossman, director of digital strategy at the Motion Picture Association; Ronald Jacobi, former general counsel for Sony Pictures; and Tom Knox, partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm Shaw Pittman, whose clients include America Online, a division of Time Warner.

From 1:15-2:45 p.m., there will be a panel titled "E-waste?Dark Side of the Digital Age."  Taking part in this panel will be Betsy Sweeney Backes, asset manager at Fleet Bank Asset Management; Robin Ingenthron, former recycling program director for the State of Massachusetts and chief executive officer of Middlebury-based Good Point Recycling, an organization that aids municipalities in setting up electronics recycling programs; Jonathan T. Isham Jr., assistant professor of economics at Middlebury College; and Carol Peddie, director of budget, planning and assessment for library and information services at Middlebury College.

"Web Strategies?Destination Resorts and Hospitality Business" will be the topic of the next panel from 3-4:30 p.m.  The panel will focus on how hotels and resorts, many of whom have lost numerous customers over the last three years, can use their Web sites creatively, becoming destinations themselves and shaping attitudes towards the local area.  Trevor Crist, president and founder of Stowe-based Inntopia, a company that provides technology to the travel industry, will join Chris Diamond, president of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation, and Bill Stenger, president and chief operating officer of Jay Peak Resort and the current board chair of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.

After the keynote event on Saturday evening, the conference will continue on Sunday, Jan. 25, from 9:15-10:45 a.m. with a panel titled "Dotcom Déjà vu?To Google or Not to Google?"  Panelists, who will discuss the gradually strengthening technology market and how some companies are now considering initial public offerings, will include John Burton, managing director in the Reston, Va., office of Updata Capital; George Lee, managing director of investment bank Goldman Sachs; Jim Robinson, principal of Middlebury Capital; and Jed Smith, managing director of San Francisco-based Catamount Ventures.

The conference will conclude at 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. with a discussion about "The Digital Age?Post-Industrial Revolution?"  Panelists will explore the impact of Internet technology on manufacturing, addressing the loss of blue-collar jobs in Vermont and elsewhere as well as the many white-collar service sector jobs that have moved overseas.  Participants include David Logan, executive at Autumn Harp, a cosmetics manufacturer; Mark Patinkin, columnist for the Providence Journal; and Jeffrey Schutz, managing director in the Denver office of Centennial Ventures.  "This is a critically important topic to Vermont so I hope and expect it will be of particular interest to a local audience," said Claudon, who organized the conference.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Robinson of Middlebury College at erobinso@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5435 or visit the Web site, http://www.digitalbridges20.net/, where the full conference proceedings and student-authored reports on each of the panel topics will be available for viewing following the conference.  

To follow are events calendar listings:

 

"DigitalBridges2004"

January 24-25

Room 216, Bicentennial Hall

 

Saturday, Jan. 24

10-11:45 a.m.

Can Customers be Trusted?

David Buckland, Vice President of Business Development, Digital Fuel

Matt Grossman, Director of Digital Strategy, Motion Picture Association

Ronald Jacobi, former General Counsel, Sony Pictures

Tom Knox, Partner, Shaw Pittman

 

1:15-2:45 p.m.

E-waste?Dark Side of the Digital Age

Betsy Sweeney Backes, Asset Manager, Fleet Bank Asset Management

Robin Ingenthron, Chief Executive Officer, Good Point Recycling and former Recycling

Program Director, State of Massachusetts

Jonathan T. Isham Jr., Assistant Professor of Economics, Middlebury College

Carol Peddie, Director of Budget, Planning and Assessment for Library and Information Services, Middlebury College.

 

3-4:30 p.m.

Web Strategies?Destination Resorts and Hospitality Business

Trevor Crist, President and Founder, Inntopia

Chris Diamond, President, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation

Bill Stenger, President and Chief Operating Officer, Jay Peak Resort.

 

6-7:15 p.m.

Keynote Panel-"Town Meeting:" Working and Dating in Cyberspace

Moderator: Karen Lewis Jacobs, Product Manager, Advertising.com

Aaron H. Abend, Founder, ViaPoint Software

Ted Adler, Founder and President, Union Street Media and Founder, Middkid.com

John Davidson, Silicon Valley private investor and entrepreneur

 

Sunday, Jan. 25

 

9:15-10:45 a.m.

Dotcom Déjà vu?To Google or Not to Google?

John Burton, Managing Director, Updata Capital

Jed Smith, Managing Partner, Catamount Ventures

Jim Robinson, Principal, Middlebury Capital

George Lee, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

 

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The Digital Age-Post Industrial Revolution?

David Logan, Executive, Autumn Harp and President, Black Bay Ventures

Mark Patinkin, Columnist, Providence Journal

Jeffrey Schutz, Managing Director, Centennial Ventures

 

All events will take place in Room 216 of Bicentennial Hall on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125), and are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Elizabeth Robinson of Middlebury College at erobinso@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5435 or visit the Web site, at www.digitalbridges20.net, where the full conference proceedings and student-authored reports on each of the panel topics will be available for viewing following the conference.  

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