December 2020 Tech Upload

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NEW Digital News

Thank You Alliance Members 

The NEW Digital Alliance would like to thank NSight for their support as an executive-level investor in 2020. To learn more about NSight, click here. 

Alliance News:   

The Phoenix and the NEW Digital Alliance 

The phoenix is a mythological bird known for its ability to periodically regenerate itself by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. This is the image we have kept in front of us during this unprecedented year as we’ve moved to new forms of connecting with one another, rebranded the Alliance, and continued to look toward the future. As we move through the holiday season and look toward the end of 2020, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come and share with you where we’re headed in 2021. 

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic looms large over 2020, and certainly had an effect on the NEW Digital Alliance as well. We had to cancel some events and move many others to virtual formats. We missed seeing many of you in person, but were fortunate to have been able to transition to virtual formats for many meetings and events. We hope to reconnect in 2021 both virtually and in person. 

Back in early spring, we embarked on a rebranding of the NEW IT Alliance to become the NEW Digital Alliance with an expanded mission covering all aspects of digital talent. We have continued this transition throughout the year with a new website, revamped logo, and some new graphics. With the new branding, we have engaged in several new initiatives around broadband access, innovation, and digital transformation. 

After the Safer-At-Home order was issued in March, in addition to moving meetings and events virtually, we convened a group of people with representation from businesses, labor boards, economic development, and higher education to discuss strategies to support workers displaced due to the pandemic and to find new opportunities with digital careers. This work culminated in a letter signed by local campus and business representatives that was sent to all the federal lawmakers representing Northeast Wisconsin urging them to provide funding for reskilling the workforce. We also helped the Department of Workforce Development on marketing drive-thru job fairs at several locations in the region where job packets quickly ran out.  

To help us become the premier authority on the state of the IT workforce in Northeast Wisconsin, we launched the NEW IT Professional Community survey seeking information from businesses in the region on the state and plans for their IT workforce. We presented results from the survey along with data from K-12 and Higher Education at our Tech Talent Summit in October. You can find more details on what we found in our Annual Report and on our website

Over the summer and early fall we launched several new initiatives – several in collaboration with other groups in the region: 

  • Participated in New North’s Broadband EDA Grant Taskforce to increase broadband throughout Northeast Wisconsin. 

  • Launched the Breadth of Awareness Taskforce, part of a New North effort to help increase digital maturity and innovation in the region. 

  • Launched the NEW Digital Alliance Innovation and Collaboration ThinkTank to help grow corporate and education connections in the region as a way to help drive innovation. 

  • Relaunched our Marketing Committee, increasing visibility, and impact in the community. 

  • Participated in the New North Launch Alliance focused on growing the entrepreneur ecosystem in Northeast Wisconsin. 

  • Participated in New North’s Intel Tracker discussions to develop a regional dashboard designed to track economic trends in the region 

On the personnel front, we had to wish Kaitlyn Alexander, our intern for two years good-bye as she is pursuing her professional career after graduating from UW Oshkosh. We are grateful for all her contributions and wish her all the best. We were fortunate to be able to hire a new intern to replace her. Madi Hilmershausen started in October and has already been busy with social media, newsletters, and marketing materials. We are still fortunate to have our high school intern, Grace Vanden Heuvel working on website maintenance, and automation tasks. 

We published our Annual Report in October with a look back at the activities and milestones we achieved in the previous year. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can get a link on our website. The TechTalent Summit we hosted on October 13 provided an overview of the state of IT in Northeast Wisconsin based on the annual report and other data sources. The Tech Talent Summit also featured a panel discussing remote work challenges including: cyber safety, hiring and building culture, and battling zoom fatigue. A copy of the presentation and a link to the event recording are available on our Quarterly Meetings Page

Most recently we hosted a revamped NEW Connect IT. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to host the event at Lambeau Field. Instead, we leveraged technology for more intimate connections between IT professionals, educators, and students in six separate sessions. At each session we featured IT professionals talking about what their IT job entails, and higher education representatives introducing students to the educational pathways available to take on those jobs. Students then had an opportunity to ask questions directly of the panelists leading to lively discussion.  

Looking ahead to 2021, we will be working on becoming a stand-alone non-profit with 501.c(3) status and a true board of directors. We will also relaunch TechTalks at our local colleges – virtually in the spring and hopefully in person in the fall. We continue to offer our quarterly meetings with updates on the Alliance and topics of interest to IT professionals in the regions. Contact us at to learn how you and your company can get involved. 

We hope you will join us at these and many other events that will take place throughout the year. You can keep up on what’s going on in the region in future editions of this newsletter as well as on the Events page on our website. 

Best wishes for the holidays! 

Unemployment Updates 

Demand for talent continues to remain strong for Wisconsin and the New North region. National demand for tech talent also remains high, with the tech unemployment rate for October (2.8%) lower than pre-pandemic levels of 3% in January 2020. 

Data Sources: CompTia IT Employment Tracker and New North Region Unemployment Tracker (not yet published). 

NEW Connect IT Testimonial 

Dear Ms. Iversen, 

I would like to thank you very much for hosting the IT Careers job shadow that was through Inspire Sheboygan County. I realize that this took time away from your regular schedule and responsibilities. I am very thankful for all the information that you gave in these sessions. Being in IT takes a lot of hard work and dedication, so for you to take the time to explain to us what someone in this field would do every day means so much. 

During the session, I learned about the different IT career opportunities available, with some being through NEW Digital Alliance. I found that there are several different occupations, each with their own unique tasks and jobs. Being a programmer was one that caught my eye, and you helped me realize that it is as interesting as it seems. The session truly helped narrow down such a wide range of careers. It also helped me figure out the classes I would have to take if I decide to go down this path. I am still undecided on what I would like to do after high school, but this helped me out immensely.  

So again, thank you very much for giving me this valuable learning experience. 



Regional News

Computer Science Talent Ecosystem Youth Launches Website

CESA7’s Computer Science Talent Ecosystem Youth (CSTEY) program launched on Monday, November 9 in response to the upcoming Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13, 2020. School districts and all K-12 teachers will be able to use the website as a place to find resources, upcoming events, and share district highlights.  

CSTEY also hosted a CSforALL SCRIPT workshop for several area schools.  The SCRIPT – the Strategic CSforALL Resource & Implementation Planning Tool is a framework to guide teams of district administrators, school leaders, and educators through a series of collaborative visioning, self-assessment and goal-setting exercises to create or expand upon a computer science education implementation plan for their students. Moving forward, districts look to:

  • expand stakeholders and build computer science leadership teams
  • build capacity for the Wisconsin Standards for Computer Science
  • align computer science efforts to New North High School Career Pathway Information Technology
  • provide professional learning to systematically build teacher capacity
  • develop relationships with community partners to expand student opportunities i.e. job shadows, internships, dual-credit courses

STEM Forward's Engineers Week Banquet

STEM Forward’s Engineers Week Banquet is an annual celebration of excellence in STEM as the Engineer of the Year, Young Engineer of the Year, and Spirit of STEM Awards are presented along with thought leadership from a keynote speaker. The event this year will be held virtually on February 17, 2021, in conjunction with National Engineers Week. More details to come.

Consider nominating a candidate for the Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the year award by December 16, 2020.

Engineers involved in professional practice or academia are eligible for the award.  Specific criteria are cited below.  Separate awards may be made in the categories of professional practice or academia; however, STEM Forward reserves the right not to present an award in a given category every year. Candidates will be considered who have demonstrated and applied their talents to areas such as:

  • New Product, Software or Technology Development
  • Construction and Infrastructure DevelopmenT
  • Engineering / Technology Education
  • Community and Public Service
  • Economic Development Activities
  • Service to Professional Societies
  • State and National Visibility

The Matchback Systems Story from Startup to Successful Exit with Todd Ericksrud

We are excited to welcome Todd Ericksrud, a Green Bay native, as he shares his entrepreneurial journey with our community from startup to successful exit Monday, December 18th.

MatchBack Systems, Inc. is a SaaS provider with an innovative approach to manage shipping container costs and improve efficiency optimization through the use of matchbacks. They are driving a paradigm shift in the supply chain for importers / exporters, steamship lines, truckers, and third-party logistics to automate and simplify matchbacks through a neutral industry platform.


  • 5:30 – Zoom Open
  • 5:40 – Session Begins
  • 6:15 – Question & Answer
  • 6:40 – Networking
  • 7:00 – Zoom Close

Product Design and Development Process - Ask the Experts

Are you curious about best practices that design and development teams can use to improve the process of building an application?

Join us for an open conversation about our experience launching new products and implementing new features into live platforms.

Billy Sweetman, Head of Design and Chris Held, Senior Developer at Headway will be available to answer any questions you have to help you and your teams work better together.


  • What’s the best way to share a Figma file for development?
  • When should the development team get involved with design?
  • What are the common mistakes you see between design and development teams?
  • How do you manage and document projects between design and development?

Submit your question to be answered live.