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Bill Jones Jr. MVP Visual Basic Charlotte NC - MCP C# and VB.Net - Founder and President of the Enterprise Developers Guild (.Net User Group)

OK.  This is out of sequence.  I know that.  I'm just getting this stuff up here as fast as I can.  This post is for user group members everywhere, but is primarily written for the members and leaders of the Enterprise Developers Guild.  We've got a group to be proud of guys, but I'm sure we'll make it even better.


Sunday at Tech Ed was INetA Summit day.  We've come a long way in the last year.  We meet with the Culminis folks - the "INETA" for IT Pros.  We have a lot in common, but we have some significant differences as well. 


INETA NORAM (NORth AMerica) has new officers.  Here is our current organization:


INETA NORAM - Board of Directors

Chris Pels - President

Sara Faatz - VP

Jason Beres - Secretary

Treasurer - Dave Noderner (July 1 to June 30 fiscal)


Division VPs

Morgan Baker - VP Community Activities

Chris Wallace - VP Membership [UG relations]

Brian Tinkler - VP Marketing

Bill Wolff - VP Speakers Bureau

Devin Rader - VP Technology


Non-voting Board Members

Bill Evjen

Amy Sorokas - MS

Samantha Spears- Exec Director (


Here are the Worldwide leaders:

Latin American (LatAm) - Jose Berrios

Middle East/Africa (MEA) - Goksin Bakir

Europe - Damir Tomicic

North America (NORAM) - Chris Pels

(missing one more region)


Some interesting stats: INETA is 3.5 years old, has 800 User Groups affiliated worldwide representing over 370,000 members


Here are some random observations -- things I learned at INETA camp (unless otherwise noted, applies to us and not necessarily IT Pros):


Organization: Most groups are very informal and are not incorporated.  Most do not charge dues, but if you charge dues, your reasons to incorporate increase.  Those groups that are incorporated and have regular elections seem to have a problem with transition or with people getting elected and not fulfilling responsibilities for one reason or another.  If you incorporate, you have to have bylaws.  If you have bylaws you almost have to have some form of elections.  If you have elections you are almost certainly only two cycles away from a problem.  Look at our model.  We have about a dozen highly involved worker bees.  We have another twenty members or so who come to meetings very regularly.  We have maybe a hundred or so who come to one or two meetings and most big events every year.  If we have elections, I would not expect any significant increase in meeting turn out unless someone was trying to hijack the group.  Unless we can figure out a way to limit voting members to active members, I'm not sure how to get effective elections.  Guess that means I'm "el Presidente for life" until we can come up with another plan that insures the continued success of the Enterprise Developers Guild.  By the way, we can have bylaws without incorporating, so we could take this one step at a time.


Finances: An Alabama leader pointed out that you can have a bank account without incorporating.  You should be able to avoid IRS problems as long as you have multiple signatories on the account, although you might have to shop banks or officers within a bank to get someone who has been around long enough to do what you ask.  Seems the Patriot Act can get in the way -- depending on who's looking at you.  Calling yourself a "community club" might help get you into the right pigeon hole.  Beware that having a bank account might open you up to some kind of liability if you get a staving lawyer and a stupid judge involved.  Our technique of avoiding all this looks better and better.


Web Presence:  Check out  It is definitely improving.  The vast majority of the .NET groups use Dot Net Nuke.  I actually got to pick on Shaun Walker and his stalwart crew.  But never fear, I made sure he understood how much we appreciate his -- and the group's -- development efforts.  Devin Rader, our new Technology VP, is talking up an ESS format.  That would be an RSS feed for events so INETA could consume and publish our events and we could do the same for INETA and surrounding groups.  We got the word to Shaun as to what our top three issues are - Event Management, Membership Management (where DNN already does a great job), and Sponsor Support (we actually wrote down "marketing", but sponsor support is what I heard).  The second most commonly used portal was the Community Starter Kit.  Those guys made the excellent point that they had no rev issues as there has been only one release.  Something to be said for that.


One final thought... Ron over at Culminis made an excellent point -- unfortunately it was mostly to me and not to the goup -- consensus seems to indicate that the IT Pro groups can increase participation with community outreach events but that the learning curve is so intense for the >NET groups that we have to stay focused on the technology.  However, the Charlotte IT Group does something we can ALL emulate.  They give out extra raffle tickets if you bring in food or clothing donations.  That resulted in literally tons of donations last year.  We can ALL adopt that one.


Bill J



Posted on Tuesday, June 7, 2005 9:50 AM 6. Tech Ed 2005 | Back to top

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