OREM — Director Victor Villa had an aha moment just a few days before the Utah Open Source Foundation’s 10th annual conference at Utah Valley University.
“I have got to be honest with you, it was a Field of Dreams moment for me,” Villa said.
In 2012 there were 481 who participated in the conference and Villa had made a goal for 700 this year.
A few days before the OpenWest Conference, online registration spiked. Organizers capped registration at 760, and a conservative estimate of those in attendance including speakers and volunteers is 840.
“This has been a huge increase for us. We reached out to several communities — the Women Tech Council offered an executive track. We reached out to the open hardware community and so these different tracks appeals to that interest that people have,” Villa said.
He credits other organizations such as UVU, Xmission, Bluehost and Adobe with helping to get the word out. And then there is the small army of volunteers and core foundation members who make everything work.
The Women Tech Council helped raise the bar for female attendance, one percent in 2012. Even with the overall number of attendees nearly doubling, there were five to seven times the number of women this year.
“I know the Women Tech Council was very encouraged and pleased with the work we had done. They gave us more information as to what we could do to improve that number next year,” Villa said.
By Cathy Allred, Daily Herald