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Discovery Institute

Innovation on display at fourth-annual technology conference

More than 500 technology leaders from around the state are expected to attend the fourth annual Communication Information Technology Organization of Mississippi (CIT.ms) Conference on High Technology November 13th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Jackson.

The conference, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m., costs $45 including lunch, and will feature workshops on the lifestyle of technology; security and privacy; technology and education; building, funding and maintaining a high-tech business; geospatial technology; and high-tech state of the state.

John C. Drescher, director of The Discovery Institute’s Center for Technology and Society, will discuss the importance of technology, and Travelocity founder Terry Jones, whom CNN recently called “a major web pioneer, who six years ago founded a dot-com that would revolutionize how you bought airline tickets and vacations,” will address branding, marketing, e-commerce, technology and customer relationship management in his keynote address.

“It says a lot about where Mississippi is technologically that Terry Jones, the founder of one of the most successful Web-based businesses in the country, is speaking to CIT.ms,” said Mississippi Technology Alliance spokesperson Heath Hall. “Mississippi is a major player in the national technology arena and we are proud to welcome a technology pioneer like Terry Jones to our state. His programs are both informative and mind expanding. He challenges audiences to think outside the box and envision the future.”

Jones, who will make his first trip to Jackson, said he was looking forward to visiting Mississippi and speaking at the CIT.ms conference.

“Mississippi has a wealth of talented individuals with the vision to move the state forward in the field of technology,” he said.

The conference will also feature Mississippi’s best and brightest high school students in an academic decathlon.

“The academic decathlon may be off the beaten path of technology, but it’s important to the progress of our state,” said Hall. “The Mississippi Technology Alliance is now coordinating the U.S. academic decathlon in Mississippi, where high school students compete against each other in various categories to advance to the national event. Mississippi has participated in the past, but not at an extremely high level. Now that we’re managing the program, we wanted to showcase the students at our conference, and give people an opportunity to see them compete.”

Of the event’s more than 65 corporate sponsors, about half will showcase innovative products and services “that will make Mississippians proud of their home state products,” said Hall.

The Governor’s Conference on High Technology in November 2000 drew more than 800 participants, and served as a catalyst for the formation of CIT.ms, an independent trade group led by Billy Mounger II, chairman of TeleCorp PCS, the largest affiliate of AT&T Wireless PCS. With more than 350 members, CIT.ms has become a driving force in a concerted effort to transform Mississippi into a high-tech cluster.

“CIT.ms was borne out of the Mississippi Technology Alliance, which was built on the concept of industry clusters,” said conference chairman Kiley Ham, also manager of regulatory affairs for Bellsouth Telecommunications in Mississippi. “The state has many small technology companies, startups coming out of incubator systems, and very innovative people. Through this conference, we want to tell people what’s going on in technology in Mississippi and the world, and also give startups an opportunity to network with others so they can align themselves with clusters for purposes of supply chains or potential customers. Many times, getting started is the hardest part, and we hope this conference will help give startups a needed boost.”

For more information about this year’s conference, call (601) 960-3612 or visit www.cit.ms.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at mbj@thewritingdesk.com.


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