Industry groups join hands

IT lobbying organizations agree to be partners on important policy issues

A recent agreement between the Information Technology Association of America and the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) to combine their constituent focus and lobbying skills is an engagement, not a marriage, officials of both organizations say.

“The technology industry’s future depends upon its ability to reach government and markets at all levels and all locations — from the grass-roots to the global,” said Phil Bond, ITAA’s president and chief executive officer. Becoming a partner with NVTC will give ITAA’s member companies valuable expertise in public policy and business development in Virginia, he said.

Bond said he agrees with those who believe the IT advocacy industry must reduce operating costs and consolidate some programs. He described the new agreement with NVTC as “a cousin to collaboration.” Under the agreement, the advocacy groups will open select events to each other’s members and exchange public policy and business development expertise.

However, Bond rejected the suggestion that the agreement with NVTC is a first step to consolidation. “The only thing I envision now is real collaboration because we are pursuing very similar agendas with overlapping members,” he said.

Bobbie Kilberg, NVTC’s president and CEO, said Northern Virginia’s technology industry must have a strong voice at the state, regional and federal levels. “ITAA’s strong record in federal policy advocacy and relationship with the World Information Technology and Services Alliance makes this a natural alliance.”

ITAA will offer NVTC members counsel and support on national and international legislative, trade and regulatory issues, Bond said. 
In exchange, NVTC will counsel ITAA on issues of importance in Virginia. For example,  NVTC  lobbied successfully last month to defeat a bill in the Virginia  Senate that would have placed new reporting requirements on Virginia contractors to discourage their use of offshore workers on state contracts.

“ITAA has had experience with those kinds of bills in other states,” Kilberg said. 
Kilberg said the agreement will take cooperation between the organizations to a new level. “We’re really looking to build on each other’s expertise to benefit both of our membership bases.”

NVTC will also benefit from ITAA’s global expertise. “We are constantly hosting and meeting with international technology business delegations,” Kilberg said. “We’re doing that so we’re better able to serve our members in the international area.”

Last week, ITAA announced another alliance, this one with the Cleveland-based Council of Regional Technology Associations, which both organizations said will enhance the ability of thousands of technology companies to reach governments and markets at the local,  state, federal and global levels.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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