A little more than three years after taking the reins at the Greater Nashville Technology Council, Brian Moyer says the organization has nearly 500 members, a greatly expanded space to convene and serve those members, and a strategic framework built on four fundamental pillars.
The self-taught software developer and founder of multiple technology companies was a former member of the Council’s Board of Directors when he was convinced to accept the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2016. At the time, Moyer was Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for GAFFEY Healthcare and HealthTechS3.
In spite of his information technology background, one of his first priorities was changing the community’s perception of the organization.
“They saw it as IT only,” Moyer told us in a recent interview. “It has to involve more. Every company is a tech company.” That inclusive rather than exclusive approach has proven to be a major driver in the Council’s success since he assumed the leadership position.
Today, the organization’s membership has increased by about two-thirds, thanks to building programs that appeal to all companies – from those in the traditional IT space to those in many other sectors ranging from graphic arts to manufacturing – and having a facility to easily bring people together.
“It’s all about building bridges,” Moyer says of his approach to leading the Council.
One of the first big challenges after his appointment was a six-month sprint to open a new, 9,500-square foot home for the Council that is dubbed Tech Hill Commons. It has five different event venues that can accommodate anywhere from 12 in the smallest room to as many as 150 people in the largest space. The space is free to tech meet-ups and non-profits as available and rented to member and non-member companies to help cover costs.
“There are 90 different tech-focused meet-ups that convene in the Nashville area monthly,” Moyer says. The Council also produces 100 events annually with its staff of nine people. One that he cites specifically is a data analytics summit that drew 90 attendees six years ago and 800 this year.
“That’s a great story on how we changed the community’s perception,” he says.
During our interview, Moyer emphasized the four pillars of the Council. They are connect, unite, promote and develop. The Tech Hill Commons space and the events scheduled in it address the connect pillar, while the unite priority is around policy and advocacy for the technology community. Promotion involves a combination of publicizing member companies as well as the Nashville region to the world.
Collectively, the first three support the organization’s top priority – develop – which is described very succinctly as doubling the size of the technology workforce in the region by 2025.
“Somebody needed to stick their neck out and tackle this challenge,” Moyer says. “The jobs are coming. We don’t have to do anything other than ensuring that we fill the void.” That is certainly a BHAG (big harry audacious goal).
The strategy to reach the goal is to employ a combination of traditional methods like recruiting in combination with traditional education and we more non-traditional activities like internships, apprenticeships, and bootcamps.