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Jan. 28 conference to examine key industries where Internet is driving change

January 16, 2006

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - On Saturday, Jan. 28, a group of Middlebury College students will join the public for "DigitalBridges2006: Is the Phoenix Rising from the Ashes of the Dotcom Crash?"  An annual college-sponsored conference, "DigitalBridges" focuses on key issues in which the Internet continues to drive change in society and the economy. Internet marketing executives, interactive media developers, venture capitalists, technology trends experts and public policy professionals will be among those who participate in a series of five panel sessions. 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.
Session topics will include a survey of current technology trends and the impact of these trends on consumers and businesses, as well as discussions on how the pervasive nature of the Internet has changed many aspects of everyday life. Conference participants will also explore the ramifications of these changes on future consumer and business behaviors.
The conference is organized by Michael Claudon, Middlebury College David K. Smith Professor of Economics, and the nine students enrolled in a winter term course he is currently teaching titled "DigitalBridges2006." Claudon, who encourages 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 conference will culminate with a town meeting discussion from 5:15 - 6:45 p.m. about how the Internet and its evolving technology will continue to change the way people live, work and entertain themselves over the next five years. Alex Wolff, a senior staff writer for Sports Illustrated magazine, will serve as moderator of the panel, whose members will be David Donahue, associate dean of library information services at Middlebury College; Richard Tarrant Sr., founder and former chief executive officer of IDX; and Timothy Davis, managing director of Middlebury-based FreshTracks Capital, a venture capital firm.

The conference will begin at 9:15 a.m. with introductory remarks by Claudon and Pieter Schiller, a former partner with Waltham, Mass.-based Advanced Technology Ventures, a venture capital firm. The first session, from 9:30-11 a.m., will explore the overall impact of technology trends on society. Panelists will include Austin Scee, a senior associate with Advanced Technology Ventures, and Joshua Walker, president of Boston-based A-List Businesses, which forms partnerships with large media companies and national advertisers to conduct local business competitions.

From 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m., a panel will discuss the particular impact of these trends on today's consumers. Participants in this discussion will be Joshua Walker, and Lisa Hurd-Walker, a marketing and content strategist for Boston-based Gather Inc., a host Web site that offers bloggers and corporations an opportunity to publish and exchange information.
The impact of these evolving trends on business will be the subject of the third session, from 1:45-3:15 p.m. Panel members include David Ellenberger, president and chief executive officer of the Bedford, Mass.-based company 170Systems, Inc., a provider of software for financial transactions; Bob Verrico, president of Vermont-based Giant Step Strategies, which helps companies develop and implement online revenue initiatives; and Rich Tarrant Jr., founder and chief executive officer of, a New York-based online grocery service, and the son of the IDX co-founder by the same name.

From 3:30-5 p.m., the discussion will turn to the implications of these trends for Vermont. Addressing this topic will be three panelists: Ted Adler, president and founder of Burlington-based Union Street Media, a Web site design firm; Lee Bouyea, an associate with FreshTracks Capital; and Glenn McRae, director of public policy programs at the University of Vermont's Snelling Center for Government.

For more information, contact conference coordinator MariAnn Osborne of Middlebury College at or 802-443-5435, or visit the conference Web site,, where the complete proceedings and student-authored reports will be available for viewing following the conference. 

Jan. 28
Room 216, McCardell Bicentennial Hall

Saturday, Jan. 28
9:15 a.m.
Welcome and Introduction
Michael Claudon, Middlebury College David K. Smith Professor of Economics
Pieter Schiller, former Partner, Advanced Technology Ventures

9:30-11 a.m.
Technology Trends and Their Impact on Society

Austin Scee, Senior Associate, Advanced Technology Ventures
Joshua Walker, President, A-List Businesses

11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Impact on Consumers
Joshua Walker, President, A-List Businesses
Lisa Hurd-Walker, Marketing and Content Strategist, Gather Inc.

1:45-3:15 p.m. 
Impact on Business
David Ellenberger, President and Chief Executive Officer, 170Systems, Inc.
Bob Verrico, President, Giant Step Strategies
Rich Tarrant Jr., Founder and Chief Executive Officer,

3:30-5 p.m.
What are the Implications of These Trends for Vermont?

Ted Adler, President and Founder, Union Street Media
Lee Bouyea, Associate, FreshTracks Capital
Glenn McRae, Director of Public Policy Programs, Snelling Center for Government, University of Vermont

5:15-6:45 p.m.
Town Meeting: How will people/families/careers/employment patterns be different five years from now?
Alex Wolff, Senior Staff Writer, Sports Illustrated
Timothy Davis, Managing Director, FreshTracks Capital
Dave Donahue, Associate Dean, Middlebury College Library Information Services
Richard Tarrant Sr., Founder and Former Chief Executive Officer, IDX

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 conference coordinator MariAnn Osborne of Middlebury College at or 802-443-5435 or visit the Web site,