Founded in 2001 by a trio of Information Technology professionals in Metro Detroit, the Detroit Networking Organization (detroitnet.org) was the “anti-group”.
Knowing that networking was the backbone of their success and their future, the three sought out the perfect group in which to identify and connect, but found only dysfunctional, cross-industry groups: the 7AM BNI organization where you give up your book of business to a florist, or to a local chamber meeting to be hounded by MLM and insurance sales reps, or to pay $20 to be in a loud nightclub with 300 people.
“Why can’t we simply network with other IT professionals in a casual environment?” they thought. Well, what started as three guys at a bar in Ferndale has blossomed to close to 5,000 members.
In 2007, the group started a wildly popular blog series called “Don’t Be That Guy”, figuring publishing the “don’ts” of business networking would make the group that much more stronger. In 2011, detroitnet.org was awarded viewer’s choice “Most Valuable Blogger” from CBS under the ‘Local Affairs’ category.
In 2009, during the down economy, detroitnet.org recognized that traditional Job Fairs were not the getting the job done. The group expanded to offer the “Pink Slip Party” concept, where the only attendees could be people looking to hire IT professionals, and IT professionals looking for work. As a result of these Pink Slip Parties, and the monthly casual networking meet ups, roughly 700 people have found jobs. This is a testament of the laid back nature and the removal of the “cattle call” atmosphere typically found at job fairs.
In 2013, responding to the call of “There really isn’t a good local tech podcast”, the “IT in the D Show” hit the Internet. The show, recorded and broadcast live via RawRadioX.com, has in studio guests from local IT staffing companies, business owners and C-level executives. The show is distributed via iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.
In 2014, the group rebranded as “IT in the D”, growing the group from what started it: the need to connect the local IT industry casually, “networking Detroit, one beer at a time”.
Welcome to IT in the D.
The Team Bob Waltenspiel
Bob Waltenspiel is one of the original founders and resident “Sales Guy” of the group, working for such tech giants as NTT, NEC, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and most recently Cisco Systems. Bob was recently awarded the Elite 40 under 40 designation from L Brooks Patterson, he serves on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the City of Auburn Hills as well as sits on the Oakland County Business Roundtable. Bob is also on the Board of Directors for the German-American Marksmanship Club, served for 2 years as the President of the Auburn Elementary PTA, and is a regular speaker for the Michigan Shifting Gears program, winning 2013’s "Outstanding Contributor for the Transformation of Careers and Lives".
David Phillips is the geek that’s been pushed into management roles over the span of his career. He’s been a helpdesk jockey, a team lead, a systems architect and even a Vice President over the course of his more than 20 years in information technology for a variety of industries. He’s been profiled by CNN’s Money Magazine for his work with the group, as well as being a regular speaker for the Michigan Shifting Gears program, winning 2013’s "Outstanding Contributor for the Transformation of Careers and Lives".
Jeff Mackey, the group’s “Voice of Reason”, is a website front-end architect, information technology consultant, and business owner with over 20 years of professional experience. Starting his career at EDS, he transitioned to IT consulting firms during the dot-com boom, and founded SIX15 Solutions, specializing in website development, consulting and content management. Jeff also volunteers time and IT business insight to the local Regional Advisory Committee for Oakland Schools, serving as IT Advisory Chair for Oxford High School, providing expertise and feedback to curriculum focusing on website development programs.