It was the fall of 2001 in the home of Richard Irwin. Richard, John Hopkins, Josh Holmes, Darrell Hawley and Martin Shoemaker gathered in Richard's kitchen to discuss their plans for a new user group. This group would be focused on the new .NET technology. That night they drew up the group's by-laws and came up with a name: The Great Lakes Area .NET User Group (GANG for short). A couple months later, the group began holding regular meetings at the Microsoft Southfield office.
That group still meets today - 10 years later. The format of the meetings and the mission of the group has remained largely unchanged. But the group has grown from a couple dozen attendees to over 80 per month.
Today, I am the president of GANG and my fellow officers and I wanted to do something special to commemorate this milestone. We decided to host a special meeting. Instead of a Wednesday evening meeting with a single main speaker, we will hold our October meeting on a Saturday and offer presentations throughout the day.
The presentations will be topics that we would consider for a regular monthly meeting, but most of the presenters are the people who helped found and build GANG. Many of these people have gone on to become thought leaders in the tech world: People like Bill Wagner, Josh Holmes, Richard Hale Shaw, Darrell Hawley, and Godfrey Nolan.
We felt it would be good to bring in a keynote speaker who was not a .NET developer and would give a non-technical talk that techies could relate to. So, we invited Leon Gersing to give a keynote address on "You", focusing on self-actualization. Many of us heard this talk at the recent Lansing Day of .NET and were impressed with Leon and how well his presentation resonated with the audience.
Staying inside at a conference all day can drain the energy, so we will provide plenty of nutrition, including a continental breakfast; a barbecue lunch Lockhart's BBQ of Royal Oak, MI; and some treats from the Franklin Cider Mill in the afternoon.
In addition, we will be having some fun, showing photos and videos of GANG and its members over the years.
This conference promises to be educational and entertaining and it will only occur once - on Saturday October 1.