This might come as a surprise to some – the Philadelphia JUG is one of the oldest, most active and largest Java User Groups in the world. Since early 2000 the JUG has had regular meetings with many local and world-class speakers (I have had the honor to speak at the JUG myself in years past). The JUG membership is well over 1200 and meetings easily see 70-100 developers attending regularly. Believe it or not this is largely thanks to one man – Dave Fecak. After fifteen odd years of remarkable service last year it was quite understandably time for Dave to move on. Unfortunately this meant that the Philadelphia JUG had been struggling to keep it’s footing the past few months – until now.
It is simply unacceptable for a JUG with the size and scope of the Philadelphia JUG to be on a downward trajectory. It would be unprecedented for the Java ecosystem and a great loss for the local community. Thankfully a number of us – including myself – stepped up to the task of moving the JUG forward in absence of Dave. In the process the Philadelphia JUG is moving to a collaborative team based leadership model now common to most larger JUGs. We now have setup a leadership board with a president serving Dave’s informal designation of JUGMaster. Myself, Jason Young, Paul Burton and Paul Snyder (in no particular order) are board members while Martin Snyder has graciously agreed to accept the JUGMaster role. Brief bios for Martin, Jason, Paul B. and Paul S. are at the end of this post. Beyond the obvious benefits of teamwork the leadership format will allow the JUG to become a legal non-profit entity down the road. As has been the case for other JUGs this may prove to be invaluable in making the JUG not just locally successful but globally influential and we hope a model for up-and-coming JUGs around the world to follow. We also aspire to fully engage Philly JUG members through an open governance model.
As a solid initial step we have lined up some great sessions for the rest of the season ending in Summer – including from Microsoft on using Java on Azure, uber cool NAO robots demoed at JavaOne as well as a very important talk on the Java Community Process from my former colleague Heather VanCura. Indeed we had our first meeting under the new leadership yesterday – I will blog in detail on that meeting in the next few days. I will have the honor of giving the finishing talk for the season in June. During our brief Summer break the leadership will try to plot a course for the future to move the Philadelphia JUG onward and upward.
In doing all of this we need your help. We need all the local volunteers, great speakers, generous event hosts and strong sponsors we can get. If you can help us, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I will personally be reaching out to folks in the Java community including star speakers and regional JUG leaders for their support shortly. Together, let’s make the Philadelphia JUG another valuable part of Java’s ongoing success!
Martin Snyder is the CTO of Wingspan Technology. He brings over 20 years of experience as an executive and architect for enterprise applications, integration, and document management for global enterprise applications. Prior to Wingspan Martin founded and operated Ethermoon Entertainment, a video game development company. He has held leadership positions in Philadelphia, Boston, and Silicon Valley. Martin has also published and presented on a variety of topics over the years, most recently on the Scala programming language and Functional Programming. Martin is very active in the Philadelphia software development community serving as an organizer for Philly JUG, PHASE, Philly ETE and the Northeast Scala Symposium.
Paul Burton is the Technology Director for the Investment Management Unit at SEI Investments. He has been in the Software Industry for over 25 years, working in many positions from Apprentice through Architect to CTO. He is serving as Chair for the British Computer Society’s USA Section, a fellow of the society, and a member of their Council. Paul has attended Philly JUG meetings for seven years and wishes to help the group thrive.
Paul Snyder currently works for the consulting arm for FIS (formerly
SunGard). He’s been working with Java and JVM languages for over twelve years including Scala, Clojure, and Groovy. He has been involved in the Philly tech scene since 2001, with the Philadelphia Linux Users Group. He founded the first suburban chapter of that group, PLUG West, and is currently a PLUG organizer. He’s also a co-organizer for Clojadelphia (the Philadelphia Clojure meetup), the Philly Lambda functional programming group.
Jason Young has been a Java developer since Java 1.0 and has contributed to the success of a range of software projects from modeling/simulation of space systems at Lockheed Martin, to web analytics for Toys R Us, to the Integration Platform as a Service offered by Dell Boomi, to healthcare software for GSI Health. Recently he started a consulting company. Active in the technology community as part of Philly Startup Leaders, he also enjoys helping people on Github and running a technology blog.