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 were also featured speakers 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”.
Randy Walker is a geek-of-all-trades who currently works as an elearning developer. He got his start in IT working in his University’s online learning department. Since then, he’s been an elearning developer for a chemicals manufacturing company, a solutions architect, a database administrator, and a web developer and he has guided implementation of a product lifecycle management solution for an automotive manufacturer, and has written customer documentation for a network software company. In his spare time, he’s an audio engineer for Podcast Detroit, teaches computer programming courses for Girl Develop It Detroit, co-organizes WordCamp Detroit and the Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup, and provides technical assistance to Daily Detroit.
Randy runs the IT in the D Twitter account and co-organizes the Ann Arbor meetup events