Subscribe Now

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day of DotNetNuke...The Best Thing to Hit Tampa Since KForce Corporate!

Mark you calendars, boys and girls! Day of DotNetNuke is coming to Tampa. This fantastic event is being held on June 13th from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM at the Microsoft Office in Tampa, Florida. The floodgates open for speakers on May 2nd and all spaces are expected to fill up quicker than Britney Spears can…pop some pills, lose her kids, shave her head…you get the point.

I’m sure some of you are wondering, “What exactly is Day of DotNetNuke?” Well don’t feel bad. After all, there is no such thing as stupid questions, just stupid people.

The Day of DotNetNuke is very similar to Code Camp. The objective is to provide valuable information about DotNetNuke to the local DNN community, provided by local DNN community members. The Day of DotNetNuke is being organized by the Orlando DotNetNuke Users Group, or ODUG, which is lead by the All Mighty Will Strohl.

For those of you that think nine hours of DotNetNuke fun just isn’t enough (ME!!), you will be pleased to know that there will be an after party, too. The venue for DNN After Dark is not decided yet so be sure to cast your vote on the Day of DotNetNuke website. KForce (Orlando and Tampa Tech) will be there all day and into the wee hours of the night (of course!) and will be showering the DNN followers with as much sponsor-love as they can handle. Feel free to hunt us down with any questions or just to chat…we really are friendly, I swear!

I am very excited about this event and Will and the rest of ODUG are putting a ton of work into it. It should be a great one and I hope to see everyone there!

Make sure you visit: for more information on the event and to register.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It is a Beautiful Day to Earn Some Good Karma!

To everyone out there that had too much fun and made bad decisions this weekend, I have some great news for you; there is still hope. You can score some points with the man upstairs by giving back to a great organization by helping someone out who is dealing with something far worse than a hangover.

Though this post has nothing to do with technology (I’m such a rebel), I was recently made aware of a charity that I feel compelled to tell everyone (and their mother) about that benefits an awesome cause. The charity is called Dorothy’s Family. Dorothy’s Family was founded on May 18th, 2007 by my friend’s brother to honor their mother, who fought the good fight with lung cancer with optimism and courage. This charity was established in order to serve children affected by cancer. All money raised is used to make their lives a little brighter by providing video games, DVD players, and other toys. Since the charity was established, there have been several Dorothy’s Family events in Illinois that were very successful. Because of this success and the opportunity to serve the local Orlando community, a Dorothy’s Family Trivia Night is being held this Thursday evening downtown. (Please get with me if you would like additional information on that event.) This event is being held to benefit the pediatric oncology ward at Arnold Palmer Hospital.

As with any charity, any contribution helps and goes a long way. Anyone interested in serving this tremendous cause can make independent donations. Independent donations should be sent to PO Box 4203 Lisle, IL 60532. In the near future, Dorothy’s Family will also have a PayPal link up on the website, too. The website is:

I lost my father to cancer in 2007 and I’m pretty certain that everyone knows someone who has struggled with this terrible illness and that is the reason I feel so compelled to help. Please do not feel obligated, but rather inspired by an incredible organization that is giving back in spite of tremendous loss!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Let Us Not Forget About the Little People: Tampa Tech Hosts Day of Ruby!

So I’m very (VERY) good at talking about myself (you can’t spell Megan without the “ME”), the KForce Orlando Tech Team, and all of the spectacular things we do for the IT community (Code Camp, champion for ONETUG, DotNetNuke UG, SharePoint UG, ISSA, etc.) but sometimes I get so caught up in my own greatness that I forget to mention the other people in KForce that are head and shoulders above the rest. So, without further ado, let me introduce the KForce Tampa Tech team and tell you about the great event they are hosting on Saturday, May 16th.

As many of you may (or may not) know, KForce is headquartered in Tampa and we have a pretty ridiculous (ridiculously good, that is!) and tenured technology team in place. Jason Maroney (Market Vice President) is the fearless leader and he rules, I mean runs, the Orlando and Tampa offices. Kim Bohinick is the Tampa Tech’s Market Manager and one of the best Account Managers Tampa has to offer. Tampa also boasts the following Account Managers: Craig Brooks, Kevin Melchin, Kris Katelman (Tech Perm), and Nicole Stephenson (Tech Perm). Collectively, this team has one of the most impressive books of business around, consistently put the competition to shame, and wears the KForce jersey proudly. On the recruiting side, Tampa Tech has four rock stars putting people (consistently!) to work and building partnerships with the best IT talent and User Groups in town. If you are looking for an awesome IT opportunity in Tampa (or Lakeland and other surrounding areas) Brian Dodd, Lauren McClernan, Michael McCarthy, and Adam Hodz are the only people you should be contacting!

In addition to just being plain good at what they do, these folks are also huge advocates of the local IT community. The latest example of their unwavering commitment to the local market is their participation in Day of Ruby.

What exactly is Day of Ruby, you ask? Well, I’m so glad you asked. A Day of Ruby is a *free* one day event to get your hands on and up to speed on Ruby, Rails, and all the goodness of dynamic programming. All of this fun and excitement will take place on May 16th. Sessions start at 9:00am (sharp!) but plan to get there a little early to get situated and meet the awesome Tampa team! There will be several sessions offered and this event is limited to 100 people. Spaces are filling up fast so make sure to register so you can be a part of the action.
Check out the event at:

This event would be a great time even if it was held in a third world prison (Ruby really is that great, folks!) but fortunately the team in Tampa has arranged for accommodations that are much more comfortable. Like many other tech events in Tampa, this event is going to be help at the KForce corporate offices because KForce is that awesome and cares that much! If that isn’t a sure sign of commitment, I don’t know what is!

For more information on this event (or if you just feel like talking to someone really, really cool) contact Lauren McClernan at (813) 552-2917.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just Another Day of Awesomeness: KForce rocks it at the IOA 5K!

Ok, so I might be using the term “rocks it” loosely but we did participate, raise some money, and demonstrate extreme athletic prowess. Kirsten Lynch, our crazy “I’m going to run this race with a broken foot because I’m that tough” Finance and Accounting Account Manager did an excellent job organizing our team, scouting a great tent spot near the beer tent, collecting money (not an easy task, believe me!), and buying some of the best snacks around. Ryan Bell, Angel Diaz, and Brian Coffey did an excellent job “supervising” the tent and sitting there (networking, of course!) while everyone else ran. Blair Sehnert was a shining example of KForce’s core values, namely “Commitment and Fun”, as she worked the crowd (photo above) with some flashy cheerleading moves and good-girl charm.

KForce had quite the team of athletes lined up for the race. Denise, Jessica, and I demonstrated extreme skill by completing the race in an impressive 57 minutes (Bruce Jenner-I've got your number) and Rob and Kim perfected their walk/trot/run technique and sailed through the finish line at 45 minutes. And Kirsten? She beat us all (partially crippled, too) with a time of 32 minutes.

Overall, this was a great event to be apart of. In addition to a commitment to being fabulous (ok, those are my words, not Dave Dunkel’s), KForce is a big believer in giving back and community involvement. We understand the importance of taking care of others and I think that is one thing that makes us stand out as an organization and one of the (many!) reasons I am proud to work here.

In total, over 11,000 runners and walkers showed up to partake in the 15th Annual Corporate 5k at Lake Eola and there were over 540 teams participating. All money raised was distributed to several local charities, including Parramore Kidz Zone, Christian Service Center, and Orlando Runners Club Scholarship Fund. To learn more about this event and/or the charities it served, please visit:

For those of you that participated in the IOA 5k, thank you! For those of you that didn’t, you definitely missed out on an opportunity to earn some good karma…and burn a few calories. I trust that you will be feeling more charitable next year!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Orlando .Net User Group meets TONIGHT!!

Yes, I know I need to get with the program and post these notices sooner! I must have gotten sidetracked with something really important…like washing my hair.

In any event, ONETUG meets tonight…yes, TONIGHT at 7:00pm!

I will not be at this meeting (I can be seen trotting around Downtown Orlando in the IOA 5K if you are really curious), but I know it is going to be a great one. Why, you ask, is this meeting going to be so flipping great? Well, I’ll tell you why! Will Strohl is the speaker, that’s why! Trust me people, you don’t want to miss it!! Make sure to register on the website so they can get a proper headcount for food and drinks.

Who: Will Strohl is an ASP.Net architect and developer based in the Orlando Area. Having been in the web development field for over 10 years, he began professionally in 2000. Currently, Will is the Technology Director for an exciting new online travel company called He is also an active member and President of the Orlando DotNetNuke® Users Group, and a member of the reformed DotNetNuke® Media Module Project Team. He regularly speaks at local events about DotNetNuke® and the various ways it can be used and managed. He also won the INETA Community Champions award for 2008 Q3. Most recently, Will has been publishing DNN videos on JumptStartTV, and is a contributing technical editor for Professional DotNetNuke 5 by Wrox.

What: Beginning DotNetNuke Module Development
DotNetNuke is largely misunderstood, but more importantly, so is module development. If you want to add functionality to DotNetNuke, modules are typically the place to do it. Modules can range from feedback or contact forms, to mini applications, such as a help desk application. This session has the goal to show you all of the beginning steps that you need to know in order to build your own modules in DotNetNuke. You should walk away with the confidence and knowledge needed to get started right away.

Where: Orlando City Hall - Overlook Conference Room

When: Thursday April 16th at 7:00 PM, come a few minutes early to network with your fellow developers.

Sponsor: KForce, because we’re the best.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Central Florida ISSA has a new kid on the block: ME!

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of all of the local user groups in Central Florida. I have blogged about DotNetNuke and ONETUG but there is another group close to my little recruiter heart…ISSA. ISSA is a great group of security professionals from Central Florida (and beyond) and they meet monthly. They talk about a wide variety of issues (my favorite thus far is SQL Injections…very sexy) and it is one of my favorite meetings of the month to attend. Seriously.

Yesterday’s topic was “Building an Incident Handling Team” and Kevin Johnson was the speaker. He was a very funny guy and did a great job of holding the attention of everyone…not necessarily the easiest thing to do with a long presentation right before lunch!

In this presentation, Kevin Johnson discussed the importance of having an incident handling team and how to form an incident handling team (who to include, etc.) Additionally, he also spoke about being prepared to respond to incidents without causing harm to the company, its assets or incident evidence.

After the presentation, still before lunch (Lord was I hungry by this point!), it was mentioned that they needed a few new officers for the ISSA chapter and one of those positions was an Event Coordinator. This caught my attention. For those of you that know me personally, you already know where I’m going with this. But, for those of you that don’t, I’ll clue you in. I am the hailed logistics queen of KForce. Alysia “Nuts” Hazelton always teases me because I always have a question for everything and I am very focused on details to the point it is extremely annoying. Hey, we all have flaws. She also always says in my past life I was an event planner because I love nothing more than to orchestrate events and boss people around. I also planned one heck of a wedding…that ended in one heck of a divorce, but that’s another story entirely. Long story short: I live to plan.

Needless to say, before I could help myself, I was signing myself up for the position. I am now the ISSA Events Director.

A large part of this position entails arranging speakers and picking the topics for the monthly meetings…which is a little scary for me since I am only technical to a point, but being the quintessential overachiever and nerd, I’m always up for a challenge. I am looking for suggestions though from folks in IT that are a lot smarter than me (I’m sure there are a few…maybe?). If there is anything you’d like to see featured at ISSA (that is relevant, of course!) shoot me an email and let me know! The more feedback the better!

I’m very excited about this opportunity and I can’t wait to get really involved. To learn more about the group, check out:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Twitter: What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing? You tell me!

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot about Twitter from clients, candidates, and coworkers. I want to know what all of the hype is about! Is it all it is chalked up to be? What are the pros/cons and why would it be better tool than LinkedIn for networking?

I always like to know what is going on so clue me in, folks! My curiousity is peaked!

Check out the poll at the bottom of the page and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

DotNetNuke User Group is tonight! All of the cool kids are going!

DotNetNuke meets tonight!!!

Who: Anyone with an interest in DotNetNuke...and KForce, because we are a great sponsor...just ask me. Tom Kraak will be the speaker.

What: Topic: Intro to Search Engine Optimization with DotNetNuke

Where: ABC Corporate Office
8989 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32824

When: This very night from 7pm-9pm! (April 7th for those that do not own calendars)

Why: Because Will Strohl said so, that's why!

Topic: Intro to Search Engine Optimization with DotNetNuke
Database-driven websites and content management systems such as DNN are traditionally labeled as "hard to optimize" or "outright bad" for search engines by many "SEO experts."

Don’t believe the hype!

Explore how the basics of on-page search engine optimization (SEO) apply to DotNetNuke. No previous online marketing and SEO experience required.

Revisit your HTML meta tags and learn about the importance of quality copy and standard-compliant skins. Minimize duplicate content and discover XML sitemaps, robots.txt as well as modules, tools, and techniques used to impress Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft Live Search.

Don’t cripple your DotNetNuke investment by ignoring SEO. If managing and maintaining a public-facing DNN-based website is part of your job description, then attend this session and follow along as we strive to not only help your website rank with Google and company, but more importantly, help it rank better!

To register, go here:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Farewell Alysia, Hello Megan!

Hello everyone! As you all may know, Alysia “Nuts” Hazelton is no longer with us…in Central Florida, at least. Alysia moved to the big, bad land of San Francisco to conquer the Healthcare Technology industry and we wish her the best in her new endeavor. We will all miss her; anyone that had the chance to meet Alysia knows she is going to rock it on the West Coast.

Despite Alysia's departure, her (work) twin and partner in crime, me, remains here to carry the torch. I have taken over the blogging reigns and will continuing to keep everyone informed of the latest and greatest KForce and Central Florida technology news, among other things.

Now that that brief little introduction is taken care of, let me tell you about the fun Saturday I had….Code Camp!!

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the fourth annual Orlando .NET Code Camp! Though I absolutely hate to wake up early (just ask my boss!), Code Camp was an absolute hit and generated a lot of .Net developer traffic from all over Central Florida (and beyond!). Over 400 people showed up (422 to be exact!) at Seminole Community College for a fun day of learning and networking. Almost 200 prizes were given away including a 49cc scooter from, and Xbox from Microsoft, and Kforce raffled off a Zune. To those of you that didn’t show up to this event, well, shame on you! You definitely missed out and now have to wait an entire year to join in on the fun.

Jessica Sterner and everyone on the Code Camp board did an awesome job of putting the event together… big round of applause to the Code Camp board Fabio Honigmann, Esteban Garcia, Brian Mishler, David Caylor, John Torrey, and Bob Baker.

And…please give another round of applause for all of the other volunteers, too. Will Terence Tully, Michael Harris, Melania Astle, Austin David, Bob Vargas, Christian Loris, Deborah Paulsen, J Hill, Jillian Mudd, Slobodan Stipic, Stephanie Ramseier, Tabbitha Martinez, James Poole, Jace Weiss, Zhao Wang, Brian Banville, Terry, Rosemary, and Debbie please stand up?

For those of you that missed out on the excitement and really, really want to know what all of the hype is about (or just want to review the presentations again) you may download the presentations and content from the website keep checking back as they are still being posted.

As a recruiter, I love going to events like this for a few reasons. For starters, I really enjoy meeting local IT talent and finding out first hand what is happening in the industry. Though I meet a lot of candidates daily in my job, it is always refreshing to meet those that actually care about technology (really care) and give up their Saturday to learn more and build their skills. That really excites me and makes me love my job even more. You know what they say…”enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm!”.

Secondly, I like getting to see some of my .Net pals. Shawn Weisfeld made a special trip from Texas, Will Strohl was spreading the DotNetNuke word, Fabio was busy being crazy Fabio, and Chris Ortega was heckling recruiters. It was awesome! 

Another reason I love these events is because I get the opportunity to sit in on a few sessions while I’m not working at the KForce booth. This year, I got to sit in on Chris Ortega’s session (Know Your Recruiter) and Michael Knopf’s session (Preparing for Technical Job Interviews) and learned a lot. Chris mainly spoke about the frustrations of working with a recruiter from a hiring manager’s perspective. Admittedly, I didn’t do my homework before I sat in (tisk task) so I was caught a little off guard by some of the concerns (I’ll save that for another blog) but I think (hope!) I did a good job standing up for all of the (good) recruiters out there…the shady ones are on their own! The staffing industry is more of an art than a science so there is always something to learn and I did leave that session with a better understanding of a typical (or not so typical..haha-just kidding, Chris!) client’s needs.

Michael Knopf’s session was pretty freakin’ awesome, too. Until fairly recently, Michael was an active candidate on the job market. Because of his technical skill and tenacious approach to finding another (and better!) job, he is now working at NASA. I loved his presentation because it was from a candidate’s point of view and it was saying almost everything I try to tell my candidates but they don’t want to hear.
So, hats off to Mr. Knopf for driving the point home!! Some of the highlights were:

• Proactively build relationships!!!! Do not wait until you are out of a job to start connecting with people in the business. It is extremely important to have pretty solid connections with recruiters, peers, and the IT community. You never know who can help you 

• Don’t burn bridges. Let’s face it. Recruiters can be annoying…very annoying. The funny thing is, we can also be very good at our jobs and have some pretty great contacts into the companies you want to work. If we call you and you don’t want to work with us or aren’t currently looking, that’s fine, just deliver that message in a courteous and professional way so we don’t get our recruiter feelings hurt and feel slighted.  It never hurts to leave the lines of communication open in case you do end up needing a contact.

• Just like you shouldn’t wait until you are out of work to start building relationships, don’t wait to start building your skills!!! It is always a good idea to reassess your skills and compare yourself to your peers to see where you measure up. You never know who you are competing against on the job market. Go to user group meetings, go to Code Camp, read industry material…bottom line, just do something!!!! One good suggestion Michael made was to go over all of the skills you have under your belt and HONESTLY qualify your proficiency level on a 1-10 scale. Anything under a 5 is something you need to get to work on. It is extremely important to know your strengths and weaknesses in this industry…particularly in this economy.

• Prepare your resume.

o Do not feel the need the make everything fit into a page. By doing this, you are selling yourself short and not displaying everything you have to offer.

o Keywords are your friend!!!! Make sure to list the skill sets you have worked with. It is also a good idea to prioritize them on your resume (in my opinion, anyway) so you accurately represent yourself. Anything on your resume is fair game during an interview so make sure you are comfortable talking about the skill sets in detail and how you have used them, etc. If you don’t know what it is, it is better not to list it. Managers are very good at sniffing that stuff out and nothing frustrates them more than being sold a bad bill of goods.

o Bullets are also your friend. It is wise to do a keyword rich single sentence instead of a paragraph. Managers have next to no time (which is why staffing firms exist) so they don’t want to be digging through a paragraph to understand what you actually do or have done.

o Post it to the boards (Monster, Dice, Hot Jobs, etc.)…but read and reread it before you do.

• Blogging and social networking sites are great tools. LinkedIn is a great tool and is designed for professionals to build their network. A lot of recruiters are using LinkedIn, too, to find great talent before (or in addition to) they hit the job boards. Facebook is a good tool, as well, just make sure you don’t have anything compromising posted. Employers will look on their from time to time and it is not uncommon for a candidates questionable content to place them out of a possible job. Same with MySpace. Bottom line: Use common sense and keep it clean! Oh, and always use privacy settings.

• Finding a job is a full time job. You aren’t going to find a job looking on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after hours. Today’s market is tight and there is a ton of competition. You have to be tenacious (a la Mr. Knopf) to find “the one”. Missing out on the cool beach trip (or whatever you happen to fancy) sucks, but being out of work sucks a whole lot more. Finding work is work.

• Make yourself accessible to recruiters. Return phone calls. Answer the phone like a normal person (ex. “This is Megan Hopkins) and for Pete’s sake…keep your voicemail message normal and no ring backs. Personally, when I make recruiting calls if I get a weird voicemail (or a ring back) I suddenly become less than enthused about that candidate. It doesn’t scream professional and since I am putting my reputation on the line when I present a candidate to a client, I want a candidate that has “professional” written all over them. But that’s just me. I heard RHI deals with all types  Just playing 

• Interviewing: You’ve finally scored the interview…now don’t mess it up! 

o Be yourself. Don’t be who you think they want you to be. At the end of the day, you aren’t doing yourself any favors and potentially cheating yourself out of a great opportunity right around the corner.

o Positive attitudes do not go unnoticed. It is never a bad thing to tell them you are a team player…unless you just hate people, and then you’re on your own. 

o Do not BS the person interviewing you. They’ll know and it won’t go well.

• Working with recruiters…believe it not, we aren’t all that bad. Seriously.

o Communicate with us. Help us help you. Let us know what you are looking for in an opportunity. Pick up the phone when we call.

o WWAD: What would good old Honest Abe do? Honesty really is the best policy. Let us know who you are working with and where you are presented. Double submittals are a pain in the butt to deal with and often knock great candidates out of the running for some wonderful opportunities. By communicating with your recruiter, this can be avoided.

o Skill set: Let us know your strengths and weaknesses and what you want to do (and would rather be dragged behind an 18 wheeler than ever do again).

o Salary requirements. Be mindful of outside factors (the wonderful economy) and know your market. We will gladly help you obtain what you are looking for, but in order to do that, it has to be within reason.

o Help education recruiters!! The majority of us do not come from Computer Science background and do not program. With that said, we are still interested in trends, the market, and what technologies we should be paying attention to. You won’t offend us and information is always appreciated.

I could go on and on about these presentations (really, I could). Please take a look at to learn more and see the slides. Make sure to visit Michael’s presentation, as he put together a great list of interview questions he received while on the job market…very helpful to anyone that is looking for work or just interested in brushing up on their skills.

And for anyone that is interested, Orlando .Net User Group (ONETUG) will be meeting on April 16th. The location is Orlando City Hall from 7:00pm-9:00pm. Please check out for more information.

Thanks again to everyone that made Code Camp possible. It was a GREAT event and I can’t wait until next year!

Chris Ortega:
Owner @ ODS of FL

Mr. Ortega has been in the IT field for over 15 years and has been involved with IT systems for 25 years. His responsibilities include enterprise architecture along with coding processes, database design and implementation, enterprise level web services and capacity planning. His background includes working with corporate and financial systems with an extensive background in enterprise security. His technical knowledge also includes network engineering, database design and administration, along with knowledge of programming.

Mr. Ortega has a 'no-holds-barred' approach to implementing and putting forth solutions for realizing business values for IT and software engineering based solutions. He also is aggressive in speaking about how solutions should be implemented by removing the politics advocating for the best solutions. This means that Mr. Ortega is usually called upon when everything is "broken" and there is nobody else to turn to. He's been called upon to provide solutions for CompUSA, Time Warner, Visa, and The Golf Channel to name a few.

Michael Knopf:
Programmer Analyst @ NASA

Michael has extensive expertise in ASP.NET, HTML, XML, XHML, CSS, JavaScript, Visual C#.NET, ORM, Test Driven Development (TDD), and MS SQL, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Source Control systems, with more than 6 years in the industry. He now works for NASA as a Programmer Analyst at Kennedy Space Center.