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'Hackathon' scheduled at SCCC in February

'Hackathon' scheduled at SCCC in February

Smart Cities initiative is focus of Hack Tech Valley; lead sponsor is Transfinder
'Hackathon' scheduled at SCCC in February
Transfinder CEO Antonio Civitella announces Hack Tech Valley on Monday.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

A "hackathon" next month will bring up to 200 computer software developers and designers to Schenectady to work on Smart Cities initiatives.

Lead sponsor Transfinder and city officials on Monday announced Hack Tech Valley will take place Feb. 10-11 at Schenectady County Community College. 

Transfinder CEO Antonio Civitella said hackathons are more commonly held at four-year colleges, but SCCC is not a typical two-year college. Rather, he said, it is nimble and entrepreneurial and has been an excellent partner to his company.

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Transfinder is a growing Schenectady-based developer and marketer of routing software, particularly for the school transportation industry.

The February event will focus on Smart Cities efforts nationwide but has particular relevance in Schenectady, which is actively pursuing the model. Civitella is a member of Schenectady’s Smart Cities Commission.

“Smart Cities” is a broad term for efforts that use technology and data to improve services and infrastructure in urban areas while reducing energy usage. It is a priority for Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, who traveled to Spain in late 2017 for a world Smart Cities conference. He will serve as a judge for Hack Tech Valley.

Helping to motivate the scores of participants at Hack Tech Valley will be more than $5,000 worth of prizes. Helping to keep them awake through the 24-hour event will be the event's "Energy Drink Sponsor," DeCrescente Distributing Company, of Mechanicville. 

Also supporting the event are networking industry giant Cisco (silver sponsor); communications provider AT&T (mobile partner); and redShift Recruiting (recruiter sponsor).

Other sponsors are being sought. Information about sponsorship and registration is available at hacktechvalley.com.

In a news release announcing the event, Civitella described it as a “game changer.”

“Our goal is to draw the best and brightest to Schenectady to work on making our cities smarter,” he said. “I believe one of the next great ideas could come out of this event and impact not only Schenectady or the Tech Valley region but possibly the state and country as well.”

McCarthy said the event is a partnership that can create change and provide benefits.

“A community that fosters innovation and creativity is necessary to ensure a strong future for our urban centers in the 21st century,” he said in the news release. “By establishing strong local partnerships, we can ensure successful community engagement and help develop new best practices.”

Steady Moono, president of SCCC, said the college is proud to be part of the event: “Smart Cities is an innovative initiative, and the hackathon will surely generate valuable ideas around the program in a fun, team-building way. The fact that our students will be able to learn from and share their thoughts with developers, designers, and programmers during this event is a benefit to them and to the college.”

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