Middlebury

Jan. 22 conference to examine key industries where Internet is driving change

January 12, 2005

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-On Saturday, Jan. 22, students will join the public at a Middlebury College conference, "DigitalBridges2005," that will focus on key industries where the Internet continues to drive change-in some cases revolutionizing sectors of the economy and society.  Healthcare technology and online retail industry executives as well as venture capitalists, telecommunications experts and representatives from the media will participate in a series of five panels. 

Conference participants will discuss such topics as whether the Internet is largely replacing the doctor in dispensing healthcare, and if the Internet is leading to a more effective pairing of investors and entrepreneurs.  One panel will focus on the turmoil in the telecommunications industry and whether or not landlines will become obsolete.  Topics of discussion will also include how the Internet has changed the interaction between mainstream media and its viewers and subscribers, while allowing for more organizations and individuals to exchange, create and display news and information via mediums such as Web journals or logs, commonly known as blogs.

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

The conference was organized by Michael Claudon, Middlebury College David K. Smith Professor of Applied Economics, and the 12 students enrolled in the course he is currently teaching during January term titled "DigitalBridges2005."  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, which will focus on how the Internet continues to transform the media, is a "town meeting" that will take place from 5:15-6:45 p.m.  John McCright, assistant editor of the Addison Independent, will serve as moderator of a panel, whose members will be Mason Wells, consumer goods director of BestLife, a new magazine published by Rodale; Michael Silberman, former MeetUp director for the Dean campaign, and co-founder and vice president of online organizing at Echoditto.com, a Virginia-based firm that provides Internet services to nonprofit, corporate and political clients; and Alexander Wolff, senior writer at Sports Illustrated.

The conference will begin at 9:15 a.m. with welcoming and introductory remarks by Claudon and Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz.

How the Internet has affected the quality and delivery of healthcare will be the topic of the first panel of the conference, which will take place from 9:30-11 a.m. and includes Rory Riggs, managing partner of New York-based Balfour; Rick Siegrist, president, chief executive officer and co-founder of Mass.-based HealthShare Technology, which produces Web-based healthcare software for hospitals, health insurance companies and employers; Don Siegrist, senior vice president and co-founder of HealthShare Technology; and Wes Chapman, president and chief executive officer of New Hampshire-based Medical Metrx Solutions, a medical technology company that specializes in 3-D imaging.

From 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m., there will be a panel on the latest trends in direct-to-consumer marketing and online retailing.  Taking part in this discussion will be Deb Venman and Bill Kenerson, owners and operators of Beau Ties Ltd., a Middlebury-based manufacturer of bow ties, and Julia Gilbert, vice president of advertising at Vergennes-based Country Home Products, a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment.

Massive and rapid change in the telecommunications industry will be the topic of the next panel from 1:45-3:15 p.m.  Panel members will be Jeffrey Schutz, managing director in the Denver office of Centennial Ventures; John Ward, general partner of Boston-based M/C Venture Partners, which focuses on investing in early-stage communications and related information technology companies; Beth Fastiggi, staff director of Verizon Vermont; and Mary E. McLaughlin, vice president of a regional division of Adelphia that encompasses New Hampshire, Vermont and eastern New York.

From 3:30-5 p.m., a discussion on how Internet start-ups are funded and how they grow will take place among three panelists: Ward; Bob More, general partner of New Jersey-based Domain Associates, which invests in development-stage biotechnology and healthcare services companies; and Schutz.

For more information, contact Tracy Himmel Isham of Middlebury College at thimmeli@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5435 or visit the Web site, http://www.digitalbridges20.net/annualconference.htm, 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:

 

"DigitalBridges2005"

Saturday, January 22

Room 216, McCardell Bicentennial Hall

 

9:15 a.m.

Welcome and Introduction

Michael Claudon, Middlebury College David K. Smith Professor of Applied Economics

Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz

 

9:30-11 a.m.

Healthcare

Rory Riggs, managing partner, Balfour

Rick Siegrist, president, chief executive officer and co-founder, HealthShare

Technology

Don Siegrist, senior vice president and co-founder, HealthShare Technology

Wes Chapman, president and chief executive officer, Medical Metrx Solutions

 

11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.,

Direct-to-Consumer Marketing 

Deb Venman and Bill Kenerson, owners and operators of Beau Ties Ltd.

Julia Gilbert, vice president of advertising, Country Home Products

 

1:45-3:15 p.m. 

Telecommunications

Jeffrey Schutz, managing director, Centennial Ventures

John Ward, general partner, M/C Venture Partners

Beth Fastiggi, staff director, Verizon Vermont

Mary E. McLaughlin, vice president, N.H./Vt./Eastern N.Y. division, Adelphia 

 

3:30-5 p.m.

Venture Capital

John Ward, general partner, M/C Venture Partners

Bob More, general partner, Domain Associates

Jeffrey Schutz, managing director, Centennial Ventures

 

5:15-6:45 p.m.

Town Meeting

Media

Moderator: John McCright, assistant editor, Addison Independent

Mason Wells, consumer goods director, BestLife magazine

Michael Silberman, co-founder and vice president of online organizing, Echoditto.com

Alexander Wolff, senior writer, Sports Illustrated.

All events will take place in Room 216 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125), and are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Tracy Himmel Isham of Middlebury College at thimmeli@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5435 or visit the Web site, http://www.digitalbridges20.net/annualconference.htm, 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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