LU to host first tech conference for campus, community

Crypto currency, blockchain and NFT –– three buzz words that dominate the tech industry. While most may wonder, ‘What exactly is an NFT? Is crypto currency real?’ and ‘How can I build my crypto portfolio?’ brothers Tien and Thanh Nguyen ’22 are here to help.

This spring, the duo came together to plan what will be Lamar University’s first-ever tech conference, Block Party 2023: Decentralize the World, set to take place on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. - 6p.m. in the LU Setzer Student Center Live Oak Ballroom. The conference is a hybrid event for those interested in the future of the internet and disruptive Web3 technologies hosted by LU student organization Blockchain Student Society.

Thanh, a recent engineering graduate working for Dow Chemical Company, said the idea came about after the Blockchain Student Society, an LU student organization dedicated to the technology world, recognized a need to amplify the regions tech side. blockchain-party-2023

“We wanted to keep up the momentum of our student organization and we understand that Lamar University is one of the strongest engineering and business universities, but our technology side could use a bit of a boost,” Tien said. “We wanted to bring technology down here to Southeast Texas particularly to those who would normally have to travel to Houston or Dallas to gain insight on the industry.”

You don’t have to be a techie to attend. Thanh said if you’re “crypto-curious,” you can still tag along.

“This event is for those are looking to learn more about this industry and gain insight,” he said. “We’re especially excited about this conference because many of the guest speakers will be shedding light on how blockchain technology also intertwines with the oil and gas industry in this area,” Thanh said.

Industry leaders will be speaking both online and in person with topics ranging from engineering, business, computer science and more. A few noted breakout sessions include:

Mahesh Sashital | Blockchain 101
Mahesh Sashital, founder and president of Lucrisma, will be kicking off the conference with an engaging and informative presentation on "Blockchain 101," providing a comprehensive overview of the technology, its potential use cases and its impact on the future of various industries.

William Fox | Web3 for Business: Hyper VS. Reality
William Fox is the CEO of DATA GUMBO a smart contract network company trusted by global industrial enterprises. He will lead a speaking session that will dive deeper into the Web3 narrative and uncover the reality vs. hype of Web3 in business processes.

William Fermo | Networking 101
William Fermo is the co-founder & CEO of 3 Bros Running Company where they bring big city race experiences to smaller cities across Texas. In this workshop, you will learn the basics of networking from understanding the importance of networking, to building and maintaining relationships, and much more. Fermo will be sharing his insights and strategies for creating meaningful connections and expanding your professional network.

Dr. Sean Stein Smith | Nets in the Accounting Class
Dr. Sean Stein Smith DBA, CPA, an award-winning researcher and assistant professor at Lehman College, will be joining us for a speaking session on "NFTs in the Accounting Class". Smith is an expert in the field of accounting and finance and will be sharing his insights on the implications of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the accounting profession. In this session, you will learn about the latest trends and developments in the field of NFTs and how they impact financial reporting, tax accounting and auditing. He also will be discussing the potential future use cases of NFTs in accounting and their implications on the profession.

Lindey Ferrel | Tech Marketing: Show & Tell
Lindsey Ferrell, co-founder and CEO of Geurella and Co., will facilitating a workshop session on "Tech Marketing: Show & Tell." Technology solutions tend to be abstract, and blockchain is no different. Learn how to clearly articulate the value of your complex technology solutions using tried-and-true techniques from Lindsey Ferrell, a master in change management and creative storytelling. Complete with a demonstration of her methods to explain Blockchain in a memorable way. 

Rebecca Hoffman and Karen Scarbrough | Fireside Chat
Rebecca Hofmann, president/CEO of Blockchain for Energy, and Karen Scarbrough, senior technical program manager at Microsoft, will be joining the conference. These industry leaders will be discussing the latest developments and future possibilities of blockchain technology in various industries, including energy and smart contracts, as well as the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) aspects of blockchain.

Lisa Hough | What the Heck is Bitcoin
Lisa Hough, VP and head of Business Development of LevelField Financial, will be facilitating a session on "What the Heck is Bitcoin" where she will be explaining the basics of Bitcoin, how it works and why it is important.

The conference is free and open to the public. Visit blockparty2023.netlify to register or view a full list of guest speakers and breakout sessions. Lunch will be provided.