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Geek-A-Palooza kicked off the 2016 schedule May 12 in Irvine, California. Historically, Geek-A-Palooza has been held in Minneapolis but is expanding this year to include Orange County and Boston as well.
Verb: be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject
Event: A social networking event for all of us electronics geeks that focuses on expanding our resources, building relationships and bringing every aspect of the local electronic industry together
Geek-A-Palooza kicked off at 3 pm with a keynote presentation, “Primary Influences that Affect Insertion Loss,” by materials expert John Coonrod of Rogers Corp. Immediately following the keynote presentation, the networking portion of the event began. It was a relaxed and social atmosphere with music, food, fun and games. PCB Libraries founder Tom Hausherr showed off his mad skills as a DJ. It is always great to see what other interests our industry friends have!
Event sponsors mingled throughout the space and provided technical information on new products and programs. But this was not set up as a typical trade show. There were no aisles to walk. Tables came in all shapes and sizes; some were six-foot, some were cocktail tables and one even included life-size cut outs of Penny and Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory." There were some fun photo opportunities at that table!
Raffle prizes and games added to the fun. Among many others, an iPad Mini, a microscope and cash prizes were raffled off. The entertainment hit of the night was the adult version of the carnival ring toss. Ringing those bottles is much harder than it looks and there was some stiff competition for some of the favorites. Every now and then, loud cheers would erupt from that side of the room.
Mixed in with all of this fun, some work was being done. Without giving away any secrets, an engineer attending the event was looking for a way to solve a problem and immediately a small group, including a raw material supplier, designer and contract manufacturer, huddled together and provided options.
Communicating face-to-face is not the norm any more as we all log copious amounts of screen time. The value and energy from these types of more personal conversations was apparent throughout the evening.
Sponsor John Vaughan explained, “There are many compelling reasons for Zentech’s corporate sponsorship of Geek-A-Palooza. It is a highly organized and totally fun networking event that is comprised of industry professionals across the entire electronics supply chain spectrum. There is no better event to meet new customers, catch-up with old friends, make new friends, transact business and have a great evening. See you in Boston for Geek-A-Palooza East!”
Mike Brown of IDS commented, “The event was great! The atmosphere seemed a bit more relaxed than a typical trade show. I noticed that those in attendance seemed more approachable than a typical trade show. Even those that I would consider competitors interacted a bit.
This was a great chance for people to catch up with old friends and meet new people. I personally ran into a vaguely familiar person and after scratching our heads for a few minutes, trying to figure out where and when we had seen each other last, we realized it was 12 years ago in Minneapolis. It is definitely a small world to have us meet again in Southern California! Needless to say, there was a lot to catch up on after 12 years.
Wandering throughout the event, it was common to hear “this is so much fun,” “there is so much energy,” “it is so nice to see my suppliers in one place, rather than planning individual meetings.”
Amanda Scacchiti attended from AAES Consulting LLC, and added, “Geek-A-Palooza combines the best aspects of technology and events in a fun and interactive environment. Having worked in this market for over 15 years, I think this innovative and fresh take on networking is going to shape our industry’s future engagements!”
Tara Dunn is the president of Omni PCB, a manufacturer’s rep firm specializing in the printed circuit board industry. She can be reached clicking here.
To view the photo gallery, click here.