These Nerds are So Cool!

August 17, 2015

Steve McKinney and his team have an indoor mapping software, called nSide, that can document detailed, interconnected images and geographic positions of everything from rooms and hallways to HVAC systems of office and school buildings.

Ed Balch is a YouTube “partner” whose financial advice and entertainment videos attract 850,000 views per month.

Jay Hayes is a self-described “nerd” who owns a dance studio and writes code in his spare time.
Jeffrey Allen is a recent UNA computer science graduate and Simon Solutions employee who likes to connect techies who might be able to work together.

They are among about four dozen computer tech whizzes, most of whom had no idea the others existed until Florence’s first “techie meetup” last month. They held their second meeting last week, and techies were were in awe so many of like mind and passion were right here all along. And their stories and projects left a handful of non-techies in their midst in awe.

“I walked into the first meeting and it was, ‘Shazam!’” Florence city Councilman Andy Betterton said, sitting amid the group of creative entrepreneurs and computer geeks at Singin’ River Brewery on Thursday evening. “What I saw was just amazing.”
These guys — mostly younger than 40, but encompassing a wide age range — met with people like Joey and Anne Ryan Leavitt, creators of the first Shoals-produced iPhone app; Robbie Hillis, whose Ark Labs recently was on display for investors at a major gathering of tech startups in Chattanooga; and Andy Alonso, managing partner of PartCycle, an online auto parts marketplace working out of the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center.

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