January 13, 2021 - 1:56 pm

Celebrating the Victories of 2020: A 20Fathoms Year in Review

By 20Fathoms

While 2020 certainly provided some significant challenges, at 20Fathoms we had a lot to celebrate. We expanded our team and  our organizational capabilities, introduced new services and resources for the startup and tech communities, and celebrated our members’ victories. Here’s a look back:

Lauren Bigelow takes the helm, joined by several other new team members

In February, Lauren Bigelow became the new Executive Director at 20Fathoms. Lauren is a senior executive and serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience leading innovative companies and initiatives. She previously served as CEO of Growth Capital Network (GCN). In addition, Lauren created and ran Accelerate Michigan, the globe’s first $1,000,000 business innovation competition.

Lauren Bigelow
Lauren Bigelow, Executive Director, has 20+ years of experience leading innovative companies and initiatives

Additionally, four others joined the 20Fathoms team in 2020 bringing deep expertise in the startup and tech industries.

  • Erich Wuhrman, Head of Talent Acquisition, has 20+ years of recruitment and HR experience, specializing in early-stage and mission-driving companies.
  • Jack Miner, President of HealthSpark, previously served as Managing Director of Cleveland Clinic Ventures and has significant experience working with venture-stage tech startup companies.
  • Keri Amlotte, Director of Marketing, has 15 years of experience developing marketing programs for growing organizations.
  • Maria Purvis, Engagement Manager, has more than 15 years of experience as a small business manager and in business development.

New talent recruitment services provide much-needed support

With the hire of Erich Wuhrman, our Head of Talent Acquisition, in February 20Fathoms began providing much-needed talent recruitment support for our growing startups. A 20+ year veteran of high tech talent recruitment, Erich partners with our members to do the heavy lifting of recruiting the best tech talent in a highly competitive environment. This service is at no additional cost for our members and helps founders to build highly effective teams while also being able to continue focusing on other business priorities.

Erich Wuhrman
Erich Wuhrman, Head of Talent Acquisition, provides much-needed talent recruitment support for our growing startups

Talking telehealth at TEDx Traverse City

In June, Jack Miner, President of HealthSpark, spoke at TEDx Traverse City. His presentation, “The COVID-19 Telehealth Accelerator,” explored how the accelerated adoption of telehealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to alleviate significant challenges faced by rural hospitals including access to care, physician shortages, and financial strains.

HealthSpark seeks to support this tech-driven revolution in healthcare by empowering rural healthcare providers, advancing innovation, and facilitating the adoption of digital health solutions.

Jack Miner at TEDx Traverse City
Jack Miner, President of HealthSpark, presents at TEDx Traverse City on “The COVID-19 Telehealth Accelerator”

Providing a safe workspace during the pandemic

In June, the 20Fathoms coworking space reopened after Northern Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order was lifted. In order to provide a safe professional home for the area’s entrepreneurs and tech workers, 20Fathoms adopted a number of new measures including a reconfigured workspace for social distancing, the installation of plexiglass dividers, and increased cleaning and disinfecting.

The 20Fathoms community has since proved their ongoing resilience and commitment to safety, enabling the coworking space to remain open and continue to serve those who seek a safe office space.

Keith Kelly, tccodes & tccyber Program Manager, leads a meeting at 20Fathoms

New education opportunities in cybersecurity, software development, digital marketing, and business analytics

tccodes, the 20Fathoms learning community for software developers, had a strong year, pivoting to virtual events. Throughout 2020, tccodes offered 19 workshops, study groups, and coaching opportunities for developers and other tech professionals.  

In August, we expanded our tech education initiative with the addition of tccyber, a learning community for cybersecurity professionals. tccyber provides introductory workshops, advanced professional development training, career guidance, and mentorship.

Furthermore, as part of our objective to offer high-quality tech education to the Grand Traverse Region, in September we announced new scholarships for digital marketing and business analytics nanodegree courses through the Udacity online learning program. The scholarships were made possible through a partnership with the Center on Rural Innovation. A total of 52 people in our area registered for the program.

Keith instructing a tccodes class
Keith Kelly, tccodes & tccyber Program Manager, teaches a workshop in early 2020 before events moved to a virtual setting

New resources for the area’s tech professionals

In August, 20Fathoms introduced expanded resources to support the area’s tech professionals.

  • A new tech job board was launched, featuring remote job opportunities for developer, design, digital marketing, and other tech professionals.
  • A new monthly newsletter called TC Tech News was rolled out, providing news, events, resources, and job postings for the local tech community.
  • In addition, a new Women in Tech Meetup was introduced, offering education and networking opportunities.    
Two women in tech, Sarah Hunt and Kelly Ignace, meet at 20Fathoms

A beautiful new office with more space and a view of the bay

In October, 20Fathoms moved into a new office with expanded space and amenities. Located in the Bayview Professional Centre at 10850 E. Traverse Highway in Traverse City, the new 10,000 square foot office offers views of Grand Traverse Bay, abundant natural light, and free parking. It is conveniently located along the TART trail and onsite amenities include a fitness center, coffee shop, and lounge.

With the increased space, we expanded our footprint as northern Michigan’s tech hub. HealthBridge and SampleServe, both graduates of 20Fathoms, moved their teams into the new office.

Nicole Steffen working at the rail
Nicole Steffen’s workspace at the new 20Fathoms office comes with a view of Grand Traverse Bay

Growing Traverse City as a destination for remote tech workers

In October, 20Fathoms partnered with Boomerang Catapult and Traverse Connect on an initiative to support the area’s remote tech workers and grow Traverse City as a destination for high tech nomads. To get started, the group surveyed the needs and interests of the region’s remote workforce in order to develop resources and programming to provide ongoing support.

Jason Amor and child
Jason Amor works remotely for a company based in San Francisco, while enjoying the family-friendly, nature-focused lifestyle that comes with living in Traverse City

Celebrating our Startup Ecosystem

Throughout the year, several members of the 20Fathoms startup community completed successful financial deals.

Participants celebrate completion of the Financial and Business Basics program hosted by Arrowhead Incubator at the 20Fathoms office in Traverse City.
Participants celebrate completion of the Financial and Business Basics program hosted by Arrowhead Incubator at the 20Fathoms office in Traverse City

At 20Fathoms, we work every day to serve Traverse City’s entrepreneurs and tech professionals, removing barriers and providing resources to help your career and your business grow. But we couldn’t do it without our incredible partners, members, and supporters. Thank you for all of your support in 2020!