Cape Cod Technology Council is gone
CEO laid off, Chamber makes grab for $50k from state
By Walter Brooks
Back before the first tech bubble bust a decade ago, the Cape Cod Technology Council was the second- largest such organization in the six New England states, with hundreds of members.
Today it announced the end of that era by in effect closing down the organization as a separate, functioning group.
Instead, the shell of the Tech Council will move into the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.
State doubles grant, Council folds, deft hand of John O'Brien seen
Interestingly this happened less than a week before the new Massachusetts budget hand-outs begin, and the Tech Council's pork was just increased from $25,000 to $50,000.
When the council was a success it rented its own quarters at the Barnstable Airport, but shortly after Teresa Martin took over from Spyro Mitrokostas as Executive Director, the mission was changed for a "tech company" focus to a "workforce" focus and it moved into free space at the Cape Cod Community College.
A former President said after a recent visit to the group's breakfast meeting,"It was nothing at all like the tech breakfasts that we used to have. There were no techies there, just business people." He continue, "Seems to me that the council has been operated by some otherwise nice people in empty suits" and ointed as an example the website of the present chairman.
The college now needs that space, and the Cape Cod Chamber apparently wants both control and the money because the net result of today's announcement is that "the chamber talks and the council walks." Members and others interested in letting the Tech Council know how they feel about all this are asked to email here. Reader comments are also welcome below.
MS Martin's salary was $70,000. Her predecssor Spyro Mitrokostas and the group's first Execitive Director Tom Moccia who built it to its zenitha decade ago were paid about half that amouth.
Some local pundits suggest that this stategy has become the hallmark of the chamber's John O'Brien.
People with knowledge of how "things work" on Cape Cod, say all this indicates the deft hand of Cape Cod Chamber l'eminent grise O'Brien who is also a licensed lobbyist and well-greased Boston power broker.
The Tech Council board today wrote its obit which we reprint in total below.
The council's CEO Teresa Martin has been let go, and other staff reduced. The email to members stated in part almost buried beneath the paragraphs of self-praise above;
"The Board has decided the Council should scale back its activities in order to conduct an assessment and evaluate its future direction.
The Board also finds it necessary at this time to reduce its staff time in order to maintain an adequate financial picture during this time of contemplation.
With great regret, this will mean the loss of Teresa Martin as CEO and reduced hours for the other paid staff Susan Bloom and Amy Whiteside..."
Future, if any, highly uncertain
Broadband Conference Saturday
at WHOI, see story hereThe council was a lusty child of the cyber-boom of the 1980's and 90's. Meetings regularly hosted the top name gurus of the new age, but things started to come unraveled after the post-9/11 recession and major players like Communica and others in the canal area mostly gave up the ghost and "went south", literally in some cases. Communica's high-rolling wheeler-dealer Matt Trask sailed off to the Caribbean with divorce lawyers in his wake and was reported a couple years ago piloting a water taxi in Fort Lauderdale.
The Tech Council offers no answer about its future other than a suggestion that they may hold a meeting a month from now if enough members email with their support, but, as their notice stated, "first meeting will be Friday July 25th... the location will be determined by the number of attendees..." Here's the entire email to members below.
A Letter to our Members
June 25, 2008
We the Cape Cod Technology Council have over the years modified our focus, activities, and direction to accommodate changing circumstance and environment. From the beginning the Council helped bring broadband to the region and remind the world that the Cape is not a technology backwater. In the past few years we have made a tremendous impact on the community. We created and implemented the Unwired Village concept as a model to bring free Wi-Fi to village centers. We were a catalyst for the now maturing OpenCape concept to bring greater broadband opportunities to the Cape. We created the very successful Jr. Tech program for middle school children to learn about science technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and collaborated with educators and businesses around the region to bring STEM pipeline funds to our community.
We have played a leadership role in developing heightened awareness on the Cape that the economy of the region must diversify. We have brought attention to the need for focus on, investment in, and development of, the technology and innovation sector of the economy on Cape Cod. We have provided opportunities for networking with kindred spirits on the Cape to hear interesting and informative speakers. We have done a lot, but there is an imbalance in our stated mission, organization, and funding model.
We are a membership organization. Members draw value from their association with the Council and its successful activities, projects, and events; however, a membership organization must provide direct, as well as indirect, value to its members. At the same time, membership organizations are extremely costly to maintain.
Your Board has been grappling with this issue for some time. The Board has reached a consensus that a fundamental reassessment of the purpose, direction, organization, and resourcing of the Council is in order.
The Board has decided the Council should scale back its activities in order to conduct an assessment and evaluate its future direction. The Board also finds it necessary at this time to reduce its staff time in order to maintain an adequate financial picture during this time of contemplation. With great regret, this will mean the loss of Teresa Martin as CEO and reduced hours for the other paid staff Susan Bloom and Amy Whiteside who have contributed mightily to our many successful projects and events. We are forever grateful to them.
It should be noted that Jr. Tech will continue in full force with its great programming under the leadership of Phyllis Russell. Also we encourage our special interest groups to continue to meet during this period. In the interim, all your emails and calls will be returned as well as benefits such as the website and newsletters will still be active and updated to keep you informed.
During this period the Board seeks and encourages the aid of its members. If you, as a member of the Council would like to participate in setting the future direction of the Council please contact us at [email protected]. We'll be looking for members and non-members to help guide this process by participating in a series of discussions with the board and members on the future direction and mission of the Tech Council.
The first meeting will be Friday July 25th at 9:00 a.m., the location will be determined by the number of attendees, please RSVP to [email protected]
Chairman of the Board email: [email protected]