August Software Developer’s Cartel

Things got technical again at the Grand Stafford Theater for this months’ Software Developer’s Cartel Meet-up. First, we heard from Matt Leonard and Joe Morgan of T STAR and Texas A&M University (TAMU) respectively on their collaborations at the intersection of the space and education industries. Afterwards we heard from Patrick Smith, the founder of Job Loop.


Tackling tough questions like how particles interact with each in microgravity and how can you anchor up to an asteroid, Matt Leonard of T STAR and Joe Morgan of the Texas A&M Universities ESET program, discussed how their experiments can help us improve our understanding of loosely associated surfaces and how these experiments give undergraduate students real-world experience. T STARS’ successful STRATA-1 mission produced 75GB of imagery and accelerometer data after a year on-orbit and is pending publication with the National Academy of Science. The Hermes mission utilizes a capstone team of Aggie undergrad ESET engineering students who, guided by T STARS and their experience with NASA, were able to design a series of experiments using the CubeSat form factor. Hermes, a microgravity experimental facility, will arrive on the International Space Station in October of 2018 for it’s 5 year journey. Hermes will be able to facilitate science experiments as well as simple payloads that fit Hermes’ design and operations constraints.


Closing out the evening, we heard from Patrick Smith, the creator of Job Loop. Job Loop, a “Tinder..for jobs” app, was the culmination of a realization Mr. Smith had while comparing European job search apps with job search apps available within the US marketplace. Noticing a gap in the market, he got work. Mr. Smith, who has a background in accounting, pulled from his knowledge of development teams that he gained while working with IBM’s Watson program to construct the app. By this time the mainstream competition had caught onto the “Tinder for jobs” idea. In order to differentiate himself from the competition, Job Loop pivoted to part time jobs aimed at college students. Requiring a “.edu” email address to register, Job Loop is expanding outwards from TAMU to  other universities beginning with Texas Tech University.


Join us again next month for another round of specialty cocktails and intelligent conversation at the Grand Stafford Theater.

Software Developer’s Cartel July Meet-Up

This month’s Software Developers Cartel was a big success. Once again held at the historic Grand Stafford Theater, we heard from both Kelly Rowe of Insight and cryptocurrency expert Cody Marx Bailey.

We began by introducing our friend Kelly Rowe from Insight. Insight provides expertise in Networking, VoIP, Video, Security, Data Center, Network Storage and are looking to expand their operations. Insight would like to align Student labor with their Services Division so that full time positions can be more easily established for Students and Employer. In addition to their full repertoire of Cisco services, Insight will provide positions that line up with students’ educational profiles to provide a career pathway gaining real job experience in their related field of study.

Cody Marx Bailey, cryptocurrency hedge fund manager and expert, then took the stage and captured the full attention of the audience for over an hour with his fascinating talk on the mechanics and philosophy behind the block chain architecture applied within the digital currency Ethereum.

He began with an explanation on the inherent network resiliency due, in part, to its implementation in multiple coding languages used to distribute risk across the millions of nodes located around the world. He discussed the incentives and disincentives behind the honor system used to create new Ethereum using what Cody dubbed ‘Magic Math’, a system of cryptographic algorithms that have been in use since the 1970s. We also heard a description of the interaction between role the Public and Private ‘Keys’ that secure multiple transaction types utilizing Smart Contracts.

After his introduction, Cody explained the 14.5 second lifecycle of the block chain technology as a race from the time the last ledger was created. A “mining” blitz to factor a large prime number puzzle ensues during which time transactions and contract executions are taking place all over the world. When the puzzle is solved (approx. 14.5 seconds later) the system checks the lucky winner’s answer, who upon authorization, is awarded 5 Ether.  The ledger is updated and the next race to solve a new puzzle begins again bringing the cycle to completion.

The success of the currency relies on the open source nature of the technology which allows full transparency through the distributed network, in contrast to the more traditionally centralized design we see in major banks today. Ethereum is buoyed by the inherently open consensus which validates all transactions created. Extracting that information back out to the physical world, we are seeing a new beginning for intermediate services and private applications to be run for a fraction of the cost by cutting out the middle man.

Cody’s presentation ended with a healthy round of questions to an audience that was excited to learn over a few specialty cocktails.  We would like to thank Cody for his time as well as the Grand Stafford Theater for allowing us access to their historic venue and look forward to our August meet-up where we will once again convene to discuss technology and innovation in a way that allows growth and maintains our community of curious and passionate developers.

Join us once again at the historic Grand Stafford Theater on August 15th for another evening of drinks and tech!

Software Developer’s Cartel June Meet-Up

The Software Developer’s Cartel is dedicated to bringing the community together to hear expert presentations on technical subjects. The June Software Developer’s Cartel was another successful evening of interesting talks on subjects as diverse as they are interesting.

First, we were delighted to hear from Robert Warden, Professor and Director of the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Center for Heritage Conservation. Mr. Warden’s presentation titled “Existential Resonance of Heritage” outlined the evolution of architectural preservation methods of historical sites from hand drawn blueprints made with pencil, paper and loads of advanced geometry to ground-penetrating radar to bleeding edge photogrammetry. His work has taken him around the world to locations including multiple trips to France, Montezuma’s Castle in Arizona and even exotic locations deep into the Bolivian forest to record Mayan ruins.

Andrew Erwin, a freelance web and application developer, closed the evening with his discussion on “MVC Tools and Applications” where he outlined the advantages and disadvantages of the MVC structure of software development.

Join us next month on July 18th (or every 3rd Tuesday!) where we will once again meet at the historic Grand Stafford Theater for specialty cocktails and software talk from experts who are excited to share their work. See you there!

Celebrating a Year of PechaKucha-Bryan

Nearly a year ago, AdventGX (AGX) partnered with the Institute for Applied Creativity (IAC) at Texas A&M to establish PechaKucha Bryan, launching our local PechaKucha Night with a series of 20×20 (20 slides, 20 seconds each) presentations and introducing Bryan to the worldwide PechaKucha community. Started in Tokyo, PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really — in the PechaKucha 20×20 format.

IAC and AGX have hosted three PechaKucha Nights in Bryan including the first event in November of 2014. We’ve had the privilege of hearing notable experts and friends speak on a wide variety of topics. Noted architect and professor Rodney Hill’s stunning photo log, “From Welding to Wood to Bronze” showcased years of sculpting. Benedict Nguyen’s “3D Printing: A Whole New World” introduced us to his passion for this emerging market and Barbara Kline offered lessons learned from her couch surfing adventures in “Couch Surfing: A New Way to Travel.” These presentations and many more inventive, artistic and insightful talks from past PechaKucha Nights in Bryan have us looking forward to tonight’s Pecha Kucha Bryan.

When we gather at Grand Stafford Theater, we will hear presentations from dynamic locals, including: Michael Wienen on robotics; Matt Michalka, organizer of Brazos Valley Makers; TAMU Aviary rep Constance Woodman; John Firth of the International Ocean Discovery Program; and the visionary Dean of the College of Architecture at Texas A&M, Dr. Jorge Vanegas.

PechaKucha Nights are now happening in over 700 cities around the world, providing a venue where people can show and share their work in a relaxed way. Following the live events, presentations are shared via the worldwide PechaKucha site.

We’re excited for our fourth event and look forward to seeing you there!

Advent GX Launches 3rd SEAD Summer Academy in Downtown Bryan

Advent GX launched its third season of SEAD Academy summer camps with T-STAR Space Camp this week. Throughout the week, campers will learn the basics of the Mission Control Center and how to be a Flight Controller. Participants will become expert in a Space Station systems and culminate their experience through a series of simulations in which they have to demonstrate their knowledge and work together to solve problems on the space station.

SEAD Academy is a community and economic development project by Advent GX that develops and presents immersive, interdisciplinary programs and classes for learners of all ages. Through these classes, Advent GX seeks to encourage innovation and promote the discovery of new ways to understand and positively impact our communities and our world.

Leadership Brazos Tours Bryan Community Development Campus

AdventGX team had the privilege of hosting this year’s Leadership Brazos graduating class for a tour of some our local community development initiatives.

After a brief introduction by AdventGX President, Jose Quintana, the group began the grand tour, which is not for the faint of heart or those wearing uncomfortable shoes. Starting at the SEAD Gallery, our guests had the opportunity to choose their favorite “Character” from Marie-Renee Hoek’s exhibit in the SEAD Gallery and see a live demonstrations of the ArtInteractive app. Following, the group was taken to the Innovation Underground, AdventGX’s private small business incubator, where they were briefed on the various businesses currently supported and even snapped a picture with the Innovation Underground’s mascot, the Innovation Crow.



Then it was time to take a stroll to Main Street where the tour made a brief stop at Grand Stafford Theater, a live performance venue and current AdventGX project. The tour made it’s final stop at Amity Project where our guests were given an up-close and personal introduction to adaptive reuse and were updated on the excited plans we have for the newly acquired space.

Leadership Brazos is a program of the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce. The class, led by Mike Record, is made up of community members and business owners within the Brazos Valley that have the desire to learn more about our area including its rich history and heritage as well area arts and culture. Following their time at AdventGX, the Leadership Brazos cohort had the opportunity to hear from Art 979 founder, Kristi Petty and tour Arsenal Tattoo.

Advent GX Hosts Texas A&M Tourism Students at Innovation Underground

Students in RPTS 646 – a Texas A&M University graduate course in Heritage Tourism – visited the Innovation Underground in historic downtown Bryan, TX to enjoy class in the middle of an active heritage preservation project. Managing Partner Joan Quintana offered a lecture about the Innovation Underground and the Advent GX application of innovation and entrepreneurship in the support of heritage tourism.

Students included PhD candidates in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences as well as anthropology and architecture. Following the presentation, the students toured the Federal Building which was built in 1915 and is now home to the Innovation Underground, Advent GX’s business incubator. They also took a walking tour of downtown that included stops in the future Distributed Urban Farm pilot garden and the Grand Stafford Theater.

Joan Quintana responds to a questions from RPTS graduate students in the co-working space of the Innovation Underground.

Recreation, Parks and Tourism Science graduate students pose with the Innovation Crow at the Innovation Underground, Advent GX’s business incubator located in historic downtown Bryan, TX.

Donna, TX Community Engagement Underway

On September 8, 2012, 100 members of the Donna community participated in a community workshop, providing insight into the interests and concerns of Donna citizens. The information gathered is helping to shape the community and economic development plan that Advent GX is developing under contract with the City of Donna.

The Process

Advent GX facilitated the workshop using Nominal Group Technique to capture the concerns of local citizens and prioritize those in a democratic fashion.

Individually, members of the community responded to the following question.

“What are the top two needs for most important concerns that must be addressed in order for you (your business or organization) to prosper the most in the next 2-5 years?”

Advent GX posed the question in both English and Spanish. In addition, we were able to engage youth in the workshop and capture the input of these younger members of the community. Once individual members posed their answers, the individuals used dots to vote for the items most important to them. In the end, the community identified priorities that will be used to guide the planning process going forward.

The Results

Following is a table of the compiled results from the workshop (please note that the Youth participants are a sub set of the English speaking group and they reflect 11% of the full group - English and Spanish speakers comprise the full data set so they add up to 100%)


Advent GX Welcomes JD Salinas as Managing Partner

JD Salinas III joined Advent GX as a managing partner effective Monday, June 25th. JD joins us after stepping down from his post as Regional Administrator for the US General Services Administration (GSA). JD will be working to support private sector clients as well as communities seeking to enhance their economic development and tourism efforts. He will also assist in the promotion and expansion of our entrepreneurship practice through the Innovation Underground network by identifying potential new incubation locations in the Lower Rio Grande Valley region of Texas and in other areas of Texas and North America.

JD has served as Regional Administrator for the GSA’s Greater Southwest Region since November 2009. Prior to his service at GSA, Salinas served as County Judge of Hidalgo County, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences in 1991, and of University of Texas – Pan American where he earned a Masters of Public Administration in 2002.

We are honored that JD has chosen to join our team. He will significantly enhance our ability to reach and serve communities and businesses throughout Texas and North America. JD brings an exceptional understanding of local, state and federal issues that impact both local governments and businesses and his servant values are a perfect fit with our Advent GX family.

AdventGXtra Aug ’05


AdventGXtra is the monthly newsletter for the AdventGX team. Each month, look here for the latest information about new AdventGX projects and initiatives and learn about our newest AdventGX team members.

August 2005

:: Projects
   :. Skadberg Visits Washington D.C., Promotes Rural Economic Development
   :. Quintana and Tatge Visit Van Horn
:: Team News
   :. Amy Williams Joins AGX, Launches Reservation Management Solutions, Inc.
   :. Brad Cunningham Joins AGX, Brings New Internet Technology
   :. Rosa Elena Saenz Offers Invocation and Benediction at Texas A&M Commencement
Skadberg Visits Washington D.C., Promotes Rural Economic Development
Dr. Andy Skadberg recently traveled to Washington D.C. to promote rural economic development and inform legislators and government program directors about the AdventGX approach to economic and tourism development for our nation’s rural places. Andy showcased the AGX model for rural economic development using the Van Horn, Texas Economic Development Initiative as a case study. With the help of Jim Maetzold of USDA, Andy was able to meet with several program leaders of the USDA and Forest Services, which will be helpful to AdventGX’s programs supporting rural communities across the nation. In all, Andy met with four legislators (or their representatives) and 7 program leaders. He was also able to take a tour that focused on agritourism in the region. The trip assisted AdventGX in building relationships with business leaders and Congressmen from around the country, and built awareness of AdventGX and its services.
Quintana and Tatge Visit Van Horn
Jose Quintana and Joan Tatge experienced the full family vacation atmosphere when they took their own families to Van Horn July 26 through August 3. Besides working on the economic development project for Van Horn they also got to help put trash cans out on Main Street, hike through the Texas Mountain region, and watch the Movie on the Wall – a summer fun event for the Van Horn community.
Team News
Amy Williams Joins AGX, Launches Reservation Management Solutions, Inc.
Amy Williams recently joined AdventGX as Director of our new Reservation Management Solutions Division, bringing some 12 years experience working in real estate management and investment. In 1993, Amy was hired by Trust Property Management which owned and managed 130 multi-family properties across the United States, Amy assisted with property acquisitions, on-site training, income reporting, and property audits. Moving to the The Arkad Group in 2000 as the Director of Property Operations, she was involved with property rehabilitation, and oversight of property operations, policies and personnel. In 2002, Amy joined Diversified Investments, a real estate investment company specializing in RV resorts to manage their training and software support departments. During her career at DI, Amy implemented new reservation software and wireless Internet solutions on the properties. Amy is Director of Reservation Management Solutions, Inc., bringing the Vestivo line of premier reservation and property management solutions to high-end resorts, casinos and cruise lines throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Brad Cunningham Joins AGX, Brings New Internet Technology
Brad Cunningham, a lifelong entrepreneur and web-based application developer, recently joined the AdventGX team and will head up the implementation of the new technology community networking software. Having tested under the names “VipZip” and “Powervox,” the new software will be integrated into some of AdventGX’s existing products including JourneyBuilder and TrueJourney. Brad has extensive experience in web-based application design and enterprise system implementation. Prior to joining AdventGX, he served as Director of Internet Systems and Information Technology for American Lightwave Communications, a Houston telecommunications company. He also founded Proactive Intelligence, a company specializing in the Internet education-to-consumer market, and served as Manager and Senior Technical Consultant for Insource Technology. After graduating from Emporia State University, in Emporia Kansas, Brad served in the United States Navy, and then taught computer science and webmastering for the Katy, Texas Independent School District.
Rosa Elena Saenz Offers Invocation and Benediction at Texas A&M Commencement
AdventGX Executive Advisory Board member Rosa Elena Saenz became the first international student in A&M’s history to provide the invocation and benediction at Texas A&M’s graduation ceremony in August. The ceremony took place August 12, 2005 in College Station, Texas. Ms. Saenz is currently the President of the Mexican Student Association at Texas A&M University and a graduate student in the Department of Hispanic Studies.