Founded in 2001 by a couple Information Technology professionals in Metro Detroit, the Detroit Networking Organization (launched as Detroitnet.org) was the “anti-group”.
Knowing that networking was the backbone of their success and their future, the three sought out the perfect group in which to identify and connect, but found only dysfunctional, cross-industry groups: the 7AM BNI organization where you give up your book of business to a florist, or to a local chamber meeting to be hounded by MLM and insurance sales reps, or to pay $20 to be in a loud nightclub with 300 people.
“Why can’t we simply network with other IT professionals in a casual environment?” they thought. Well, what started as three guys at a bar in Ferndale has blossomed to over 6,800 members.
In 2007, the group started a wildly popular blog series called “Don’t Be That Guy”, figuring publishing the “don’ts” of business networking would make the group that much more stronger. In 2011, we were awarded viewer’s choice “Most Valuable Blogger” from CBS under the ‘Local Affairs’ category.
In 2009, during the down economy, we recognized that traditional Job Fairs were not the getting the job done. The group expanded to offer the “Pink Slip Party” concept, where the only attendees could be people looking to hire IT professionals, and IT professionals looking for work. As a result of these Pink Slip Parties, and the monthly casual networking meet ups, over 2,000 people have found jobs. This is a testament of the laid back nature and the removal of the “cattle call” atmosphere typically found at job fairs.
In 2013, responding to the call of “There really isn’t a good local tech podcast”, the “IT in the D Show” hit the Internet. The show was recorded and broadcast live via now defunct internet radio station RawRadioX. Coupled with their own banter, they bring in studio guests from local IT staffing companies, business owners and C-level executives. The show is distributed via over 50 touch points including iTunes, I Heart Radio, Soundcloud, Sticher, etc.
In 2014, the group rebranded as “IT in the D”, growing the group from what started it: the need to connect the local IT industry casually, “networking Detroit, one beer at a time”.
In 2016, their weekly live broadcast hit the milestone of having had over 20,000,000 listens while consistently being the #1 ranked technology podcast on SoundCloud.
In 2018 the team launched Career Academy whereas people that aspired to be in a career in Information Technology were given the path to training, certification, and placement into an entry level job. The first 150 people were formally put through the program. The duo was also a featured speaker at the TedX Detroit Conference, which was held in September.
Welcome to IT in the D.
Bob Waltenspiel is one of the original founders and resident “Sales Guy” of the group, working for such tech giants as NTT, NEC, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and most recently Cisco Systems. Bob was recently awarded the Elite 40 under 40 designation from L Brooks Patterson, he serves on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the City of Auburn Hills as well as sits on the Oakland County Business Roundtable. Bob is also on the Board of Directors for the German-American Marksmanship Club, served for 2 years as the President of the Auburn Elementary PTA, and is a regular speaker for the Michigan Shifting Gears program, winning 2013’s “Outstanding Contributor for the Transformation of Careers and Lives”.
David Phillips is the geek that’s been pushed into management roles over the span of his career. He’s been a helpdesk jockey, a team lead, a systems architect and even a Vice President over the course of his more than 20 years in information technology for a variety of industries. He’s been profiled by CNN’s Money Magazine for his work with the group, as well as being a regular speaker for the Michigan Shifting Gears program, winning 2013’s “Outstanding Contributor for the Transformation of Careers and Lives”.
Nuri Gocay is the most recent addition to IT in the D. He started his career in IT as the guy who blew dust out of computers, told employees to MOVE, and taught himself programming so he could take his call center paperless (in 2001). He’s since spent his 15 year IT career in the contact center space, working for giants such as USAA, T-Mobile, Expedia, and Google (as a prime) and working for eLoyalty and Presidio, boutique Call Center consulting companies, providing both engineering and thought leadership. He moved to Michigan from NYC to get involved with Penguicon, a local science fiction and open source convention, where he eventually chaired the event, growing it 30% YOY in his first year of leadership. It was because of this involvement that Nuri met Bob and Dave, and due to some serendipitous timing, Nuri ended up with a permanent spot on the show. Nuri gives talks every year at Penguicon about how to get better jobs in IT, how to be better at social skills, and something he’s most passionate about — vegan meatsticks.