Two weeks ago, I wrote in this space that I had become membership chair and a board member of the newly chartered 7x24Exchange’s Empire State chapter. I’m feeling really good about my efforts so far. It’s a time consuming but rewarding task, and I’ve promised to blog about my efforts and the successes of the chapter.

In due time, I plan to write about my fellow board members, particularly as the chapter gains members and momentum. They are also working very hard and will deserve credit for what we accomplish

So far, the board has had one teleconference, during which it occurred to me that we had taken on quite a big task. I don’t know if this was a revelation or not. I do know that my experience working with volunteer organizations suddenly seems inadequate. And, in fact, my experience years ago working on the staff of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IESNA) also seems like poor preparation.

This task seems much more like launching a business than anything else.

Still I believe in what we are trying to do. The Empire State needs access to the kind of data center programs we want to deliver. For now, though, we face the ultimate marketing challenge: do professionals in this region perceive a problem in their data centers? Do they feel they need to reach out to find solutions? How can we convince them that the 7x24Exchange Empire State Chapter can provide the information that they need? How can we make them aware that we exist?

For a variety of reasons we plan to hold our first meeting in mid-September, which adds a sense of urgency to our plans.

Oddly, though, the decision to hold a meeting brings distractions. Where, for instance, should we hold the meeting? At what time? Should we feed people? How many people can we expect? Can we charge enough to break even?

None of these are data center issues. They are questions for event people or meeting planners. In fact, just yesterday I reminded our chapter president that we needed at least some of our board members to remain above the fray so that they can spend time helping us understand the needs of our potential members, finding ways to help them, and plotting avenues to reach them. None of our members would count this kind of organizing effort as a core skill. We are all industry figures.

Still I am amazed at the help our effort has gotten so far. All the board members are working on their own time, but all have the support of their employers. I’ll be acknowledging them all in an upcoming blog. The international 7x24Exchange organization and staff has also been supportive. I’d especially like to thank JLL’s Michael Siteman, as the director in charge of new chapter efforts, deserves special recognition for the way he has helped us and the other new chapters, even while being new to the office himself.

Finally, I have head from any number of current and former chapter officers from around the nation, with offers of advice and concrete help. I’ll be naming many of them too, down the road.

I am going to mention, Bill Lessard of NYI, a person I had never met and who was unfamiliar with Mission Critical and the 7x24Exchange for reaching out to us and offering to get involved in our Empire State chapter and the activities of the long-established New York Chapter.

I’m sure you will be hearing more about this development in future blogs, too.