THE Geek Fest returns to Central Piedmont Community College’s Levine Campus Thursday, Nov. 15.
The free annual event, which highlights innovation and technology, is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the campus, 2800 Campus Ridge Road, in Matthews.
No prior registration is required to attend with the exception of this year’s new professional training track and “IT Camp” events. Preregistration for these events are available online at www.
This year’s event will host 28 conference-style sessions presented by industry experts, according to CPCC Communications Director Adam Brooks.
“(There will be) an automotive technology open house, a display hall with booths and table-side demonstrations by innovative companies and community groups and other ‘geeky’ activities including gaming and robotics throughout the day,” Brooks said.
THE Geek Fest also features pioneering regional and national businesses and their contributions to expanding the frontier in a variety of fields and industries that include communications, mobile development, entertainment, gaming, automotive technologies, information technologies, design, programming and more.
Expectations for this year’s event are high, with attendance estimated at 2,000 to 3,500 people.
“The quality of THE Geek Fest has always been important to us,” Brooks said. “We believe that geek is chic and (we) offer something for ‘geeks’ of all levels. This year we have developed a schedule of really outstanding content. Truly, you can pay hundreds of dollars to attend technology conferences that will not give you anywhere near the value that you will receive for free through THE Geek Fest this year.”
Stephanie Nelson, founder and “social media maven” at SBN Social Media Marketing has attended the event in the past and credits it to her success. This year, Nelson attend and will serve as a presenter.
“This year I’ll be presenting ‘Building Your Brand Using Social Media’ looking at how individuals and businesses can use outlets like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and Pinterest to build their brand and get found online and let people know who they are and what they’re about,” Nelson said.
The event is a draw because of its unique quality, Nelson said.
“As an attendee, it’s hard to find a quality event that’s free — whether it’s in Charlotte or any area around here,” she said. “CPCC and Adam (Brooks) do a really good job of bringing in quality speakers on quality topics. The quality of speaker and panelists for the event is just top notch.
“We have a really great geek community here in Charlotte,” she said. “Pretty much everybody is willing to share what they know and help each other.”
Nelson’s business serves small businesses and consults on issues of promoting brands through social media. Nelson started the business in December 2011.
“I wanted to focus on small businesses because I feel like they’re the ones that often need access to the resources the most, and sometimes have the least access to those resources,” she said. “I wanted to help them get the same work that other, larger companies can afford.”
Brooks said the professional community and technologists benefit from the “outstanding” professional development offered.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs benefit from our business startup and intellectual property sessions,” he said. “Local organizations showcase their innovative products, services and initiatives to the community and future employees.”
Students are engaged and benefit from hands-on learning opportunities as well, Brooks said.
“Other regional high schools, homeschool groups and retirement communities have become active participants,” he said.
Presenters include: Louis Foreman of Enventys; Mark Benno, education development executive for Apple Computer in Florida; Brian Raichle, assistant professor of appropriate technology at Appalachian State University; Dale Loberger, solution advisor with ESRI business partners; Rodney Jackson, senior researcher with the National Geospatial Technology Center; Yung Chou, senior IT Evangelist at Microsoft; and John Switzer, director of web development for Yodle.
For more information, visit www.thegeekfest.com.