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President’s Report, June 11, 2024

"Work From Forest", Bing Image Creator, Burn-E.

I hope you are enjoying the warm weather.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the weather this month.  It’s hard not to be happy.

Chatham Tech Talk

Erin Denniston gave an excellent short course on 3D modeling and printing in April.  If you would like to ‘attend’ the course, Jack Stevens attended, and it was very nice of him to create a recording of the event!

Innovate Chatham hosted a social meeting at Fair Game Beverage, 5 pm on May 23 which had light but enthusiastic attendance.

Don’t miss June 13, 5 pm at 79°West, when Brenton Hart will present his “State of Chatham Broadband” story and answer your questions about internet availability and grants for various areas of Chatham.

Digital Inclusion

Chatham Digital Inclusion Plan

The County will hold a 3-hour meeting on June 12 for the Chatham County Digital Inclusion Plan to give all the agencies and community partners a chance to run through the plan and discuss the adoption plan.  They are organizing the meeting for mid-June and are currently deciding on the best date.   Burney Waring and Jesse Bradley will be attending along with several folks from the county, library, Chatham Literacy, CCCC, the school system, and NC State.

Digital Champion Grant

The State received our grant proposal to install several free WiFi locations in Chatham.  We are still waiting for the grant winners’ announcement at the end of May to see if they will fund our public WiFi proposal.  The State sent an update on May 31:

“As mentioned in our original correspondence, we initially planned to announce the final decision by the end of May. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, we find it necessary to extend the announcement date to early June.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We are working diligently to ensure that the selection process is thorough and fair to all applicants, and we appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.”

We are still waiting.

We have an intern candidate to help with the public WiFi implementation. She is a double major in Computer Science and Professional Spanish and would be available in the Fall.

STEM Education


SparkLab Chatham

Don Kallgren will volunteer at the SparkLab Summer Camp in July as an assistant and instructor in computer science and engineering workshops (IoT sensors). Kyle Kallgren and Tori are developing a workshop for film and video to be presented at the camp the first two weeks of July (The Career Path of a Content Creator (YouTuber) and the Technology Involved).

Don has been consulting with Tori on developing ideas for a SparkLab Unit for 2024/2025; current plans include a unit on Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management under SparkLab’s Data Analytics Course Catalog, focusing on data-driven decision-making. SparkLab is considering a tour of the Chatham County Emergency Operations Center after phone calls with the Director confirmed that tours are encouraged.

Mobile Hotspot

Communities in Schools contacted us about students without the needed internet access. We have two mobile hotspots pending delivery to two students in Chatham and eight more hotspots ready for more students.


Burney and Jesse will visit the Greensboro UNCG Esports site to discuss how to replicate some of their success.

We are looking for another venue (with kids) to try hosting an eSports camp, conducted by NC Esports Adademy.   Ideas?

Career Presentations

Our first opportunity to help SparkLab will be providing career talks during their July Summer IT Intern program. We have organized 6 presenters. 

  • Kyle Shipp, Data Center IT, and PBO Mayor
  • Michael Pipkin, Havoc Brewing
  • Kevin Flynn, IP Attorney
  • Don Kallgren, Electrical Engineer
  • Grant Leonard, Cybersecurity
  • Tim Steiner, Cybersecurity

Volunteer Opportunities

We are always interested in having additional volunteers.  In most cases, we prioritize opportunities based on volunteer interest.  So, let me know if you would like to help with any of these things, or you can suggest possibilities for us to help:

  • We would like to hold events to teach or demonstrate skills, whether practical or artistic. Please let me know if you have ideas about what you want to learn or if you know someone who might want to teach or demonstrate.
  • Technical topic presentation – we need topic and presenter suggestions for Tech Talk
  • Instructor’s aides for basic computer classes
  • Tech Career Fairs: We always need a list of people who can describe and discuss their tech careers at various high schools.
  • Science Fairs Judges – needed for Fall and spring to judge science and engineering projects while encouraging kids
  • Congressional App Challenge: We would like to help middle and high schoolers build their own simple software app to submit for recognition in a contest. This would be a perfect summer project.
  • Search engine optimization help, and social media help

Please let me know, and we can chat further about your interests.

You are very welcome to share this newsletter with anyone you like.

If you enjoy being part of the Innovate Chatham community, please consider submitting an annual membership contribution of $25 for 2024. 

Not a member?  If you like our work at Innovate Chatham, please consider joining us as a paid member, which helps us cover the expenses of running a nonprofit.

Burney Waring
Innovate Chatham President


Innovate Chatham




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