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By Lizzie TaoSeptember 22, 2017

Veteran Tech Summit: A Recap of Washington’s Inaugural Veteran and Technology Event

Last week, Bunker Labs Seattle, FourBlock, Operation Code, and Code Fellows teamed up to organize Washington’s first ever Veteran Tech Summit.

This event highlighted the growing critical mass of veterans working in the tech industry in Seattle, as well as the many opportunities for innovation and talent that are tied to the state’s military presence.

Overall, the event was a huge success. With over 160 attendees, the space was buzzing with excitement and conversation as connections began forming between guests and table anchors—representatives from a variety of different Seattle companies. We were fortunate to have significant participation from these major local companies, including Deloitte, Amazon, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Zillow, Comcast, and others. In total, the event had 14 different table anchors whose presence reaffirmed each company’s commitment to providing corporate opportunities for veterans and their families.

In addition, the speakers at the event offered a variety of unique perspectives to the discussion around tech opportunities for veterans. RJ Jones, the Vice President of Corporate Relations at Zillow, was able to shed some light on his experience as a veteran working in tech and what larger companies are able to do to make their culture more veteran-friendly.

Mike Green, the co-founder of Sirrus7 who has made it an objective of his company to seek and hire military veterans, demonstrated that inclusivity adds a lot of value to a company. Steve McKee, the Strategic Project Lead at the Navy’s Tactical Innovation Implementation Lab, echoed this sentiment by explaining that veterans possess a number of soft skills that they have learned from the military, like punctuality, leadership, and the ability to work within a team, that are extremely attractive attributes in a hire.

The fourth member of the panel, Kenneth Edwards, a military veteran and Code Fellows graduate, discussed his appreciation for the many opportunities that exist for veterans, such as the GI Bill, that has made his transition from the military into his desired field of technology relatively seamless.

Overall, the event symbolized the beginning of a longer, greater conversation about maximizing the state’s unique positioning at the intersection between technology and military. We hope that the attendees at this event left with an increased awareness of the opportunities that exist within Seattle. While this was the first event of its kind, it certainly will not be the last.


Looking for other ways to get involved in Seattle’s tech industry? Check out more upcoming events »