In this second of many LoCo Team interviews to come in this US Teams Interview Series – LoCos, Leaders, and Lessons Learned, Amber Graner talks to Bret Fledderjohn of the Ubuntu Pennsylvania Local Community Team. Bret talks about the tools the team uses, events they attend as well as help with, and what advice the Pennsylvania LoCo Team would give to other teams and community members and much much more!
US-Teams: Could you tell us a little about you and what your role in the LoCo Team is?
Bret Fledderjohn: I am the founder and team contact.
US: When was the Ubuntu US-Pennsylvania LoCo team started? How long after it was started did it take to get approved?
BF: We got it started in the March of 2007 and were approved in June 2007.
US: What tools do you use for your team? Mailing Lists, Forums, IRC, websites, Micro-blogging sites etc.
US: On the road to LoCo approval what were some of the challenges the team faced and how did the team overcome them?
BF: Awareness. At that point a large number of people had no idea what a LoCo was.
US: What are the biggest challenges your team faces now and what strategies does the team use to over come them?
BF: We were top heavy in Philadelphia. Most of the action was happening there. We’ve now lost a key member, so we are going through a slow down right now. I am hopeful that we can roll out more great events across the state, but we are no longer a new group with the same excitement that a new group has. I want/need to get the group excited and moving forward again. I am thinking of a Ubuntu PA BBQ day where there are groups across the state having cookouts on the same day, to build more regional coherence.
US: What types of activities does the LoCo Team participate in? Are there any events the LoCo team sponsors?
BF: Software Freedom Days, we have worked with a couple of Colleges (Millersville, Harrisburg Area Community College, and Penn State) with events and provided guidance for more Ubuntu geared classes and programs. We’ve also worked with a couple of non-profits such as the Boys and Girls clubs of America installing Ubuntu on donated machines for their facilities and to give to needy families.
US: What are some of the projects your LoCo team has worked on? What are some of the upcoming projects the Ubuntu community can expect to see from the LoCo team throughout the next cycle?
BF: We’re working on participating in the Central PA Open Source Conference again this year. That is in October. Right now, we have to push again to build up steam for the Fall. I’d like to see at least three or four Software Freedom Day events across the state. We’re also working with HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) with an upcoming class in the Spring of 2011 for Open Source Development, to offer resources, become the perferred platform (currently Fedora and Centos are used in other classes), and perhaps cover Ubuntu Packaging and how the community is structured.
US: What are some of the ways in which the LoCo actively recruits new members? What resources have you created or do you use (ie posters, fliers, business cards, banners etc)
BF: We’ve had a banner printed up, and we’ve used posters, fliers, and business cards to promote the team. However most of our membership has come from word of mouth.
US: What do you think is the best aspect of being part of a LoCo team is?
BF: Honestly, I think that a lot of people who believe in Ubuntu and want it stands for, want to spread the word and share the feeling of community with as many people as they can.
US: What has been the most rewarding and exciting moment for the LoCo Team to date and why?
BF: Seeing and sharing the excitement of the team. I think it’s pretty much self explanatory. OK, here’s another gratifying moment: At the Central Penn Open Conference last year we had a booth, and as people came by we’d talk with them and ask if they were familar with Ubuntu and a huge majority of the people who went by were running Ubuntu. Many in the enterprise. I was amazed how many were using it in mission critical areas of their business.
US: What suggestions would you offer for newly formed LoCo teams or those teams working toward approval right now?
BF: Use that initial enthusiasm and get a lot of events going. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Don’t shut people out, embrace everyone and listen to all ideas. Work with schools and nonprofits. LUGs are your friends. Add redundancy to the administration of your team (we have at least 3 admins for each area (mailing list, launchpad, website, irc, and forum).
US: What tips, tricks, tools, references etc would you suggest for the leadership of a LoCo team?
BF: Keep balance on the team. I guess it’s like juggling…. You have to keep as many people invested in the team. We try to let everyone do their own thing, without letting one faction alienate another. Despite these different approaches, you still need to keep on target for our ultimate goal of promoting Ubuntu in a consistent manner.
US: When you think of the Ubuntu Community and the spirit of Ubuntu how does the LoCo embody and share that spirit?
BF: I think that the camaraderie, sense of belonging, the desire to help answer people questions and help with problems, and genuine sense that Ubuntu should be shared.
US: Is there anything else about the LoCo team, or suggestions for being an effective and successful LoCo team you would like to share that you haven’t already?
BF: Keep getting new blood into the team. Figure out a way to reach under served areas of your state (for bigger states this is a bigger challenge!). Listen to your teammates.
US: Thanks Bret to you and the Pennsylvania LoCo Team for giving of your time and your experience to help encourage other LoCo teams and members to become more active and to seek approval if they aren’t already as well as share ideas other teams may want to try. To find out more about Ubuntu LoCo teams please go to: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoTeams
Originally posted by Elizabeth Krumbach here on Thu, 06/17/2010 – 04:18