For more than a decade, the Heart of Technology (HoT) party has been rocking EDA events in the Bay Area and elsewhere. This year, the party is being held close to the Moscone Center on the first evening of the new ESDesign West show in July, organised once again by investor Jim Hogan and colleagues.
The party has its beginnings in the financial crash of the late 2000s, Hogan says. “It was 2007, at the end of the year with the mounting crisis in the financial world.” Its effects quickly moved beyond failing investment banks on Wall Street. “So many of our colleagues were out of work and very scared about things. Families were struggling and having to use food banks.
“I thought why not put an event together and raise some money for them. Many of us are fortunate people by and large. The idea was to have some band plays and also have a jobs fair,” Hogan explains.
The idea caught on and HoT became a regular late Spring event with occasional parties in the winter. “Over time, it’s morphed a little, mostly because of my interest. I got involved with a local university: San Jose State,” he explains.
The problem Hogan found was the number of disadvantaged youths who tend to stuck in unemployment. “The statistics are troubling. Very few go to college. So, we got together with San Jose State to help address that. In the first year of fundraising, we raised enough money to get five kids to university and support them for the four years of their course.”
As numbers grew, the HoT efforts grew into a program named after the late Gary Smith. “Some 50 kids have gone through it.”
A new focus
For this year’s party, the focus has morphed again. “We are always running into inequality with gender in sciences and engineering. The aim is to get more girls and women interested in sciences. The SEMI organization has a foundation that has such a program, so that’s what we’re raising money for this year.”
Hogan pays tribute to his colleagues who are helping put the event together at the John Colins Lounge in Minna St on Tuesday, July 9. “It’s all voluntary and they put a huge amount of time into it.”
HoT will use its proven formula of live bands once again this year, kicking off with a jazz trio that includes Methodics founder Simon Butler and featuring a performance by Bay Area act Dead Sea Fish. As well as being heavily involved in the organization and fundraising, Hogan aims to apply his love of Mark Knopfler’s recent forays into Celtic music in his own band The Bulldogs.
For the event, HoT is asking for a minimum donation of $20 from ESDesign West and Semicon West badge holders with $50 from everyone else. Hogan points out that many in the technology community are fortunate and often dig deeper. The donations will go to the High Tech U programs run by the SEMI Foundation.