The Coast News Group
From left are Claude Jones founder of the San Diego Tech Hub, Pascal Simpkins Chief Executive Officer of Qimia, Fernando Roman, director of business development at Arkusnexus, present Sidd Vivek, chief executive officer of Junior Achievement San Diego, with a $500 check Oct. 29 as part of the tech hub’s social good program. Photo courtesy of Kyle Thomas

Social good in the community a pillar for San Diego Tech Hub

CARLSBAD — Less than one year ago, the region’s latest group of professionals was sitting at about 20 members.

Now, the San Diego Tech Hub has exploded to about 2,000 and is also actively engaging in charitable giving and engagement with other nonprofits. The tech hub is a collective of business professionals spanning the workforce spectrum, from communications, tech and construction, to name a few, who also use technology to maximize their network, efficiency, productivity and find talent.

It’s the brainchild of Claude Jones, the senior director of engineering at Walmart Labs. But while he wanted to connect the tech community and other professionals, the other pillar was to engage and give back through charitable donations, whether it’s time or money.

During its Oct. 29 meeting at Walmart Labs, the tech hub presented a $500 check to Junior Achievement San Diego, better known as the founders of Biz Town, where the county’s fifth-graders learn about city government.

Junior Achievement reaches more than 35,000 students per year and partners with industries to deliver real-life experiences, Vivek said. The organization’s curriculum is in line with Common Core and they connect with about 10,000 to 13,000 in schools, while the rest come on site for instruction, which also includes financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.

They partner with businesses to deliver real-world experiences to help students figure out their next steps in life, Vivek said.

“I’m a part of the tech hub because it is one of those career pathways that, that from a Junior Achievement standpoint, is important for us to expose to young people in our communities,” said Sidd Vivek, chief executive officer of JASD.

For Jones, though, such donations are just the tip of the iceberg. The hub has sponsors for each monthly event, and those funds generated are then passed forward to another worthy cause.

In addition, members of the hub have also created Open Source Saturday in Vista, which encourages youth and others to code; and Be the Boss, which gave students in Vista an opportunity to create their own business; and a mentoring program with Smogborg.

Jones said having individuals who are business professionals with a passion for social good creates opportunities otherwise not possible.

“You have more of an authentic relationship in getting things done,” he added. “It creates a sense of community.”

Tech hub founding members Nick Parisi, who is the chief marketing officer for FieldLevel, and Attila Ambrus, president of Hakott Digital, said the collection of like-minded professionals will only strengthen and help the hub’s community outreach and influence growth.

Parisi said the group is trying to affect positive change through action by leveraging personal and professional networks. The group communicates through its open Slack channel to connect talent with jobs, along with generating ideas for social good programs, among others.

“It’s a group of like-minded individuals who actually created this community,” Ambrus said. “We want to give back and actually transform the whole San Diego County.”