Murray State hosts information technology conference

Story by Michaelyn Modglin, Contributing writer

Murray State’s Program of Distinction in telecommunications system management (TSM) has partnered with the Community Financial Services Bank (CFSB) to host Murray State’s first I.T. Matters Conference.

The free event will be held Thursday, Sept. 29. Registration will begin at 12:30 p.m., with the first speaker starting at 1:00 p.m. and concluding at 4:15 p.m.

“The purpose of the event is to provide general information technology (I.T.) information to local businesses, community members, and students and faculty across our region,” said Michael Ramage, Director of the Center for Telecommunications Management.

Ramage said every April TSM and CFSB host a Patterns of Distinction – Security Matters Conference discussing security topics, and the I.T. Matters Conference was established after discussions took place to have a complimentary event regarding only general technology.

Because the Patterns of Distinction – Security Matters is held at Murray State’s main campus, it was decided that the I.T. Matters Conference would be hosted at the Murray State Paducah campus.

Those who attend will have the opportunity to explore vendors such as CFSB, Murray State TSM Program, and Calvert City’s SmartPath, along with Kalleo Technology and DEVsource, both of which are based out of Paducah, Kentucky.

Ramage said Murray State is not a consultant for the technology that will be discussed throughout the sessions Thursday. He said this is why the vendors are necessary.

“If someone is interested in something they learned about, we want to provide them with the resources to be in touch with vendors who can implement those services,” Ramage said.

The keynote speaker for the conference will be Murray State graduate and former CEO and President of the Nashville Technology Council, Bryan Huddleston.

Ramage said that with Huddleston being from the rural area of Paris, Tennessee, combined with his involvement of helping address Nashville’s I.T. workforce challenges, western Kentucky could learn and benefit from his experiences.

“I hope that we, as an industry in western Kentucky, not just higher education or Murray State, but also K-12, can learn to address the challenge,” Ramage said.

Huddelston said the need is so great that if there were able, willing, and skilled professionals that could fill one of these tech-jobs, a businesses would not hesitate to hire them.

“If you were to look at national data, I.T. workers are needed nationwide,” Huddelston said. “The White House has a program called Tech Hire because 600,000 unfilled technology positions have been identified across the U.S.”

He said he also plans on discussing what the NTC did in putting together plans and initiatives to help solve the problem.

“Communities that are in more rural areas can look at these as opportunities to some plans into place by which they can help grow a talented workforce,” Huddleston said