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Wednesday, 24 April 2013 06:47

Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference to showcase state’s IT ecosystem

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Dorothy Graham Dorothy Graham

GRAND RAPIDS — Dorothy Graham, the keynote speaker for the 2013 Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference, is a rock star for many in the tech world.

Graham, a world renowned expert on software, makes an appearance at the conference on Monday, April 29 at Calvin College to discuss five intelligent mistakes made in the software testing industry and how to avoid them. The event will be a coming home party of sorts for Graham, who graduated from Calvin College and still has family in the West Michigan area.

She has 40 years of experience and speaks around the globe. The most recent of her books was voted Best Automated Testing Book in the recent Automated Testing Institute awards. She won the European Software Testing Excellence Award in 1999 and the first International Software Qualifications Testing Board (ISQTB) Excellence Award in 2012.

Paul Jorgensen, conference chairperson and professor of computer science at Grand Valley State University, said he’s worked with Graham at ISQTB, a group that has certified more than a quarter million software testing professionals in 55 countries.

“She’s an international star in software testing, a very big name to headline our conference, and we’re glad to have her as a speaker,” Jorgensen said.

The sixth annual GLSEC conference aims to give software and IT professionals the opportunity to continue their education and network, while supporting the local technology ecosystem. In addition to Graham, the event features more than 20 different thought leaders from companies such as Microsoft, GE, Spectrum Health, Open Systems Technology and Gordon Food Service. 

Conference sponsors include Atomic Object, Dorner Works, GR Connect, Truscott Rossman, Calvin College, GVSU, Start Garden, OST, Mutually Human Software, Priority Health and iDashboards.

Jorgensen said this is the first conference to feature software development organizations from around the state. Previous conferences showcased only West Michigan companies. Five of the presentations this year will come from Jorgensen’s former students. He’s been teaching at GVSU since 1988.

He said 150 people have registered so far and some sponsors think the one-day conference could draw 200. Registration is $250 and includes a buffet breakfast, lunch and even an ice cream break in mid-afternoon.  

For GR Current, formerly the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative’s Grand Rapids SmartZone, the conference is a chance to let potential incubator clients know what GR Current has to offer, plus to let everyone else know about the new brand. The group is sponsoring the event’s lunch and will provide a 15-minute overview of its current goals. 

“We want everyone to know we are one of the many resources in West Michigan to help anyone interested in starting their own business,” said Jeff Royce, interim executive director at GR Current.

Royce said GR Current also works closely with $15 million seed capital fund Start Garden and The Factory, a downtown accelerator, to nurture technology startups.

For DornerWorks, a Grand Rapids software developer, the conference is an opportunity to give back to the community by showcasing the projects the company has worked on not only in Michigan, but around the country, including those for the federal government. 

Last August, DornerWorks was awarded $750,000 Phase II contract from the U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command to develop an embedded open-source hypervisor, a virtualization technology that allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on a single computer. Paul Skentzos, DornerWorks technical business development manager, said his company will make a presentation on this innovative new technology.

For more information about GLSEC, or to register, visit

Mike Brennan is senior technology writer at MiBiz. His day job is Editor & Publisher of

Read 7138 times Last modified on Friday, 26 April 2013 16:45

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