C Spire launches IT event in Madison
Ridgeland-based C Spire hosted over 500 IT professionals at the Bridlewood of Madison last month for its first Bytes & Bites event here.
Scott Parenteau, senior manager of public relations for C Spire, said the business-focused event was an exclusive opportunity for business executives to come together in a casual setting to learn about leading industry tech solutions.
Parenteau said that over 15 partners, including Cisco and Dell, were on hand to provide direct access to customers.
“There’s not another event in Mississippi that gives these professionals direct access to partner companies,” Parenteau said. “This was not a sales event. It was an educational opportunity to learn more about what’s out there.”
Parenteau said the event originated in Birmingham over 20 years ago when C Spire, then Cellular South, held a cookout in the parking lot of the Birmingham office. The event has since grown to feature over 1,000 attendees from across the Southeast.
He said the Madison County event was their first real attempt in Mississippi and they received great feedback from attendees.
“We definitely covered the state of Mississippi,” he said, noting that people were represented from the northern part of the state down to the Gulf Coast. Several came from neighboring states as well, he said.
“The Bytes & Bites event allowed we, the customer, to interact with C Spire employees and other customers in a relaxed atmosphere,” David J. Silman, chief information officer for the University of Southern Mississippi, said. “It was pleasant and enjoyable to attend, and we even accomplished some work at the event.”
Michele Dayton Patton, adjunct instructor and director of telecommunications for the University of Mississippi, said they can’t wait for the next event.
“The venue, the refreshments, and the entire event were top-notch,” she said. “But the highlight of the day was getting to visit with other professionals and vendors, catching up with old friends and making new ones.”
Parenteau said the opportunity to have a one-on-one with a representative from major companies like Cisco is something you can’t achieve by attending big conferences once a year.
One of the biggest discussions was centered around cyber security.
“That is on everybody’s mind,” Parenteau said, noting they had clients from the financial, healthcare, manufacturing, and education industries attending.
He said they look forward to next year and are happy with the success of this inaugural event.
“We dabbled with it pre-Covid, but that kind of messed things up,” he said. “I think we’ve got a great framework for a Mississippi event. We’re excited about the growth opportunity.”
He said next year’s event will be “bigger and better.”