New Tech Founder Spotlight: Carter Rabasa, Lead Organizer, CascadiaJS

Each week in the New Tech Newsletter we feature a Spotlight Q&A with founders, angels, New Tech alumni presenters, and other people or companies in our community we believe you’d like to learn about. Reach out if you’d like to recommend a startup, founder, angel, accelerator, or New Tech alumni presenter for us to spotlight for the PNW tech community!

This week we spoke with Carter Rabasa, Lead Organizer, CascadiaJS.

Carter Rabasa    CascadiaJS logo

What inspired creating your conference? 

I moved to Seattle in 2009 and noticed that any time I wanted to go to a good JavaScript or web conference, I had to fly to New York, Chicago or San Francisco. With Microsoft right here in the Pacific Northwest and tens of thousands of web developers working in tech hubs like Seattle, Portland and Vancouver BC, it felt like we needed a conference that was easier to get to and that could elevate some of the voices in our local community.

How does your conference serve the tech community?

CascadiaJS exists to help folks in the JS and web developer communities level up their skills, make professional connections and have fun. We run a Scholarship Program and have discounts for developers who are self-employed or work at small companies. We have an open Call for Presenters process, and have helped many local developers speak at their first tech conference and level up their careers. More folks than I can count have told me that they found a job or made an important connection at CascadiaJS.

What’s the most innovative or interesting thing about this year’s conference?

This year’s event is going to feature talks and hands-on workshops (as usual) but we are going to stop the talks short in the afternoon on Day One and embark on an outdoor Activity Track. The location of the event (Sunriver Resort) and the timing (late summer) is just too perfect to stay inside all day for two days. So folks will get to choose from kayaking, a scavenger hunt, yoga and a bunch of other fun activities.

What do you love the most about the conference?

Our closing karaoke party! Just kidding, I think the thing I love the most are the people that I’ve met over the last 10 years. Some of these folks (like Luis Montes, who lives in Arizona!) have been to every CascadiaJS, and the way that conferences bring people together once a year is just very special to me.

What is one of the highlights, or memorable moments, for you in doing this work?

Hard to pick just one, but it’s always special when I invite my wife and kids to join me on stage to close out the conference. This is our family business, and everyone helps make the conference happen, even our kids. In 2018, my son Quinn was instrumental in helping me organize a Kid’s Coding event the day after the conference. They had recently gotten into programming with Scratch, and it was such a great time.
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