By Reporter staff
The Telecommunications Association, Northwest region, (TCANW) has merged with the Washington Software Association (WSA) in December.
The TCANW was founded in Los Angeles 1961 as a nonprofit organization by six aviation companies, including Lockheed Corporation and Rockwell International. It is now a national telecommuncations association with eight chapters across the United States.
Due to the economic shockwaves of Sept. 11, 2001, and the dot-com bomb, the TCANW collapsed into two chapters, one in Seattle and one in Sacramento, Calif.
Mark Simon, former chairman and CEO of TCANW, said that the integration of the two associations was necessary and advantageous to both groups.
“The merger made sense for both entities,” Simon, and Island resident, said. “We wanted to continue to move forward on our education and regulatory agenda, and WSA wanted to develop a special interest group that focused on telecom. But rather than build it, they merged with us.”
Following the merger, Simon took on the role of co-chair of the telecommunications special interest group of the WSA, and said he plans to continue to put on edcuational events and luncheons, as well as adding some lobbying to his duties.
“We’re now able to pursue public regulatory issues,” Simon said. “We have the resources available to us to allow us to spend time in Olympia discussing the telecommunications act of 1996, which is up for review. We can advocate for telecommunications companies on issues associated with wireless, broadband and Internet taxes.”
A Portland native, Simon and his family have lived on Mercer Island since 1996.
“We’re this great community sitting in the middle of a lake between two metropolises,” he said. “It’s a little piece of heaven.”
Simon joined the organization in 1985 as a student, and became president in 1997, chairman and CEO in 2002.
Simon, who is a technology consultant, said he is responsible for developing a 13-member board of directors, merging the Oregon chapter into the Washington chapter and renaming them the Northwest chapter, and developing “TCA U,” half-day educational events that brought in a variety of speakers, from Sen. Maria Cantwell and former Sen. Slade Gorton to King County Executive Ron Sims.
There are 35 TCANW members, Simon said, and that number will probably drop post-merger. Membership costs $150 a year, and is mainly for chief technology officers, chief information officers and directors of information technology.
For more information, the TCANW Web site is www.tcanw.org