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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.