CompTIA Goes to Washington

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

CompTIA is organizing a "fly-in" advocacy forum to bring IT solution provider members to meet with their representatives in Congress and the Senate to discuss issues of concern for tech companies and the IT industry. Here are the details.

CompTIA is organizing a "fly-in" advocacy forum in Washington that will connect its community members and partners with their representatives in Congress and the Senate to discuss a variety of issues important to technology companies and also to show that the IT industry is more than the Microsofts and Googles of the nation.

The fly-in advocacy forum will take place from November 1-3 in Washington, DC. It follows up on a similar forum that took place two years ago. According to Elizabeth Hyman, vice president of public advocacy for CompTIA, the IT trade association’s plan is to turn this into an annual forum where members and partners can discuss IT issues with their federal government representatives.

"What we’re interested in doing here is continuing that tradition and probably getting it on a more annual footing and growing it a bit," Hyman said.

CompTIA has already been successful in growing the size of the forum. Two years ago, 19 member companies attended, but Hyman said there will be about 40 member companies and partners (including TechVoice partners) joining CompTIA for the 2011 forum.

CompTIA expects discussion topics to include health information technology, privacy, data breach notification, cyber-security, workforce development, taxation, regulatory matters, access to capital, and government contracting for small IT firms. Additionally, IT solution providers will have a chance to learn in face-to-face meetings with their regional representatives what new laws and regulations may affect their businesses.

"More generally, there are a lot of tech interests in Washington, but when you ask the typical lawmaker or administration official who is the technology industry, they’re more likely than not to say it’s Microsoft and Google and Dell and HP, which is absolutely correct, but there’s also literally tens of thousands of small and medium sized IT companies that are service providers and value-added resellers," Hyman said. That will be one of the key messages CompTIA and its members and partners will deliver to Washington during the forum.

Some representatives already have an understanding of the importance that smaller IT providers play in the economy and the deployment of business technology solutions, of course. Representatives Peter Roskam of Illinois and Loretta Sanchez of California created the Congressional Small Business Information Technology Caucus in August, helping to put a face to IT solution provider industry.

"For those that don’t follow the IT industry closely, the obvious default is the big players and no understanding of who the smaller ones are, and the importance of the channel," Hyman said. Roskam’s and Sanchez’s caucus helps to show off the greater depth of the IT industry.

CompTIA is still putting the final touches on the schedule and securing participants. For more information on the forum, visit CompTIA’s website.