Meetups and networking initiatives bringing tech professionals together in Grand Rapids

With a collaborative, thriving, tech community developing in Grand Rapids, this supportive environment represents a place in West Michigan that is bringing tech organizations and professionals together in enjoyable spaces that appear to be working for many.

West Michigan Tech Talent (WMTT) is a local organization that exists to collaborate and assist other local organizations in their growth. John Rumery serves as the industry council lead at WMTT, which not only connects with local employers, but also educators, community organizations and workforce experts to help in their development and recruitment in the tech community.

Rumery points out three areas of focus in their collaborative initiatives including grow, develop and recruit/retain, which all entail program coordination and sponsorship initiatives for various types of events, conferences and meetups that WMTT partners have access to, which he describes as “sending a strong message to the country that West Michigan has a strong, inclusive and vibrant tech community.”

Courtesy of John Rumery at West Michigan Tech Talent

Proud of the most recent networking event meetup, part of a meetup series that began in 2022, Rumery shares that over 100 attendees were present at the event hosted in July 2023 in downtown GR. The series of meetups take place during happy hour with a focus on bringing together remote workers in the tech industry – from new to mid-industry. 

The goal, says Rumery, is to hold three meetups annually, which include guest speakers from organizations in the tech industry, providing them with a platform to speak to a greater audience. He adds there are many terrific programs in place as they continue expanding the city’s tech hub presence, naming STEM Greenhouse's continued growth and expansion, Michigan Council of Women in Technology's summer camps popularity, BizStream Academy’s expansion in Ottawa County and West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology's developing cybersecurity training as evidence of the growth and success to come in the area.

Students, particularly recent graduates, come out to learn about the interesting things going on in the industry, says Rumery, who adds that, “the expectation is for them to meet new people and build their network worth.”

Courtesy of John Rumery at West Michigan Tech Talent

One employer that WMTT has worked with in hosting networking events is Open Systems Technologies (OST). Kim Peters, senior technical recruiter, who also looks at student engagement as key to the comradery and connection that is contributing to the growth of GR as a tech hub, foresees the momentum continuing.

“With The Right Place leading the way with Tech Week in September and their many initiatives, as well as many local businesses growing to not just local, but regional and national leaders, I think more and more people will come to call Grands Rapids home for our impact on technology and great quality of life,” she says.

Peters, who also serves as a co-lead for community outreach and a liaison for contract partnerships, also emphasizes the importance of the right focus staying on people. She describes Weekend for Good, a November event, as one where people come together lending their time, energy and creativity.

“To me, I can’t think of anything better than to support those who are passionate about being good stewards of our communities,” says Peters.
Courtesy of John Rumery at West Michigan Tech Talent

Upcoming event to check out:

On Friday, August 4 from 6-9 p.m., LaFleur Marketing will host the Beer City Code DEI Mixer showing continued growth in tech diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

This series seeks to highlight tech organizations and employers throughout Greater Grand Rapids that are delivering innovative programs and addressing talent pipeline challenges and seeking to develop, attract and retain quality talent in West Michigan. This series is underwritten by The Right Place.

Shanika P. Carter is an author, freelance writer, editor, and adjunct communications instructor. She is also the Principal Consultant of The Write Flow & Vibe, LLC (, offering writing, editing, and content development services to a variety of clientele, including fellow authors and businesses. Shanika is the author of the book To Lead or Not to Lead, which was released in 2019.
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