TechBirmingham Blog

Archive for July, 2016

Meet our Member Companies – Southern Light

TechBirmingham thrives through its immensely talented and diverse group of member companies. Meet our Member Companies is an ongoing Q&A series highlighting this group of movers, shakers and makers in B’ham’s tech industry.

Meet Brad Stidham, Account Manager of Southern Light. Brad is Southern Light’s first Birmingham employee, and he is currently working to ensure that each business in the area is connected to the best fiber optic network beneath the Mason-Dixon Line. Read on to learn more about Southern Light and the great things they are doing in Alabama and beyond.

Hi Brad! Let’s get started — Tell us more about Southern Light.

Southern Light designs, builds and operates fiber optic networks. Basically, we establish really high speed, reliable connections between locations. We serve wireless carriers, government entities, and enterprise customers, such as banks, hospitals, and non-profits.

You recently expanded to Birmingham. What is the reason for the expansion?

Our expansion is always demand driven. Thankfully, Birmingham is exploding, which means there is a tremendous amount of demand among all customer segments. We have been blown away by our reception in Birmingham, which has resulted in us allocating additional resources to the area.

What are your thoughts on Birmingham’s tech scene?

We’ve been super impressed with the tech scene in Birmingham. We attended the first annual Sloss Tech event, and the energy was unbelievable. The work being done by Innovation Depot, TechBirmingham and others is creating a vibrant, sustainable tech community. Both public and private efforts have been impressive, and that’s one of the reasons we have wanted to be in this market. Our goal is to be a strong partner in the already vibrant tech community.

What exciting news or service/project announcements does Southern Light have on the horizon?

We recently won the Birmingham City Schools project, which we are really proud of and excited about. Providing Wide Area Network services for the school system will provide excellent connectivity for the students, teachers, and administrators. It also allows us to become a strategic partner in the forward momentum seen across the city.

Thanks so much for sharing, Brad! 

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Birmingham .NET Meetup and Steel City SQL to Host Upcoming Events

Guest post by Robert Schiefer with Birmingham .NET Meetup and Steel City SQL

August will be a busy month for developers in Birmingham, AL as two of our local user groups are organizing several additional events beyond their normal monthly events.



The Birmingham .NET Meetup group will be organizing a local extension event to the virtual dotNetConf conference which Microsoft holds annually to promote and educate developers about the .NET framework.  dotNetConf.Local 2016 Birmingham will be a free partial day of training held Thursday, August 4th from 11AM to 4PM at Samford University.  Lunch will be provided along with engaging presentations and even a live Q&A session with a virtual .NET team member at Microsoft.



Microsoft officially released a new version of .NET at the end of June this year, which Microsoft claims is

…the biggest transformation of .NET since its inception and will define .NET for the next decade. We’ve rebuilt the foundation of .NET to be targeted at the needs of today’s world: highly distributed cloud applications, micro services and containers.

It is an exciting time to be a .NET developer.  This local dotnetConf event will focus on using the new .NET  Core and ASP.NET Core to build a real-world web application including how it can run on Linux and macOS in addition to Windows.  It’s a new Microsoft and a new .NET.

Organizers are hoping to see a large attendance of .NET developers in Birmingham to show Microsoft how important .NET is here.  Space is limited to 100 but is currently still available so RSVP today!



The second event is the result of a collaboration between the Steel City SQL User Group and the Birmingham .NET Meetup group. {dev = data} DAY Birmingham 2016 will be a new code camp held on Saturday, August 20th from 8AM to 4:30PM at Samford University.  Code camps are a great way for technology professionals to learn new technologies/skills from industry experts, understand how others are leveraging technology and network with other technologists.


unnamed-2Dev Data Day will have 24+ sessions across multiple tracks for attendees to choose from including:


  • .NET Development
  • SQL Server
  • PowerShell
  • Professional Development

Birmingham hasn’t had a large cross functional code camp like this in several years so it will be a great opportunity for technology professionals not just in Birmingham but all of Alabama and the southeast.

The event organizers are looking for a few more vendor or corporate sponsors.  If you or your company are interested in sponsoring this exciting event or getting more information visit the Sponsors page on their website or email

The only optional cost associated with the camp is $10 for lunch if you choose the “including Lunch” registration option otherwise the camp is completely free.  Check out the Dev Data Day website for further details:

Both of these events will be great opportunities to strengthen and promote the technology ecosystem in Birmingham.  These are the type of events that will promote Birmingham as a “technology town” with a strong community and a destination for talented technologists.

We urge you to do your part to support these events by helping to advertise them through word of mouth, attending and/or helping to sponsor them.

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Meet Wade Cline, TechBirmingham’s Intern

With a staff of only two full-time employees, TechBirmingham relies heavily on volunteers and interns to help make the association a success for its members and the tech community. This summer, Wade Cline is serving as an intern with us and we thought you might like to learn a little more about him!


Name: Wade Cline

Age: 21

Always lived in Birmingham?: Yes

Education: Senior Marketing major at Samford University


Why Marketing:
I am a people person and just about every job I have held has dealt with customer service. More than just connecting with people though, I have a passion for learning about how they think, and why they make certain decisions when buying or investing into businesses. Also, no matter what business you can think of, there is always a need for marketing personnel, and I can’t wait to have an impact wherever I end up.

What do you want to get out of this internship?
When I was looking for an internship I wanted to find a company that wasn’t too big, something I could put my fingerprint on and leave a lasting impression. Although you can do that in any company, I wanted to be closer to the action. That is ultimately what I want to do with TechBirmingham, have an impact, and of course have them be excited that they hired me for the internship. This plays a large role in what I want to get out of the non-profit. Things like a deeper understanding of business management, marketing, and personal communication. Being with TechBirmingham, there is a ton of room for learning and network opportunities through the monthly events that are held and the constant contact I have with the 250 member companies they’re associated with.

What’s your favorite part of the internship?
I love everything that TechBirmingham is involved with, but being able to start and run the TechAlabama social media sites, and continually getting the word out about the new non-profit, has been the most exciting aspect, personally. Also, it would be ignorant of me not to mention the involvement I am getting to have with Sloss Tech. I had no idea how big of an event this was going to be, and I am honored to be able to work on something this huge with Jennifer, Greg, and all the sponsor companies involved in the planning process. I can’t wait to see what the second half of the summer has in store for the internship.

What career do you plan to pursue?
I aspire to have a career in the business side of marketing and have some part in branding and advertising. The creative juices do not flow through me as much as they do for graphic design people, but I love being involved with creating new things and the thoughts of how to reach the consumer with those ideas. I do not have any company in mind, at the moment, but wherever I’m place, I plan on making the most out of it and continuing to learn.

I love to golf, hangout with the family, go to the lake (Logan Martin Lake), listen to music, study about science (astronomy mostly), be with friends, camp, and finding food trucks around Birmingham to try out.

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