Software Developer’s Cartel July Meet-Up

This month’s Software Developers Cartel was a big success. Once again held at the historic Grand Stafford Theater, we heard from both Kelly Rowe of Insight and cryptocurrency expert Cody Marx Bailey.

We began by introducing our friend Kelly Rowe from Insight. Insight provides expertise in Networking, VoIP, Video, Security, Data Center, Network Storage and are looking to expand their operations. Insight would like to align Student labor with their Services Division so that full time positions can be more easily established for Students and Employer. In addition to their full repertoire of Cisco services, Insight will provide positions that line up with students’ educational profiles to provide a career pathway gaining real job experience in their related field of study.

Cody Marx Bailey, cryptocurrency hedge fund manager and expert, then took the stage and captured the full attention of the audience for over an hour with his fascinating talk on the mechanics and philosophy behind the block chain architecture applied within the digital currency Ethereum.

He began with an explanation on the inherent network resiliency due, in part, to its implementation in multiple coding languages used to distribute risk across the millions of nodes located around the world. He discussed the incentives and disincentives behind the honor system used to create new Ethereum using what Cody dubbed ‘Magic Math’, a system of cryptographic algorithms that have been in use since the 1970s. We also heard a description of the interaction between role the Public and Private ‘Keys’ that secure multiple transaction types utilizing Smart Contracts.

After his introduction, Cody explained the 14.5 second lifecycle of the block chain technology as a race from the time the last ledger was created. A “mining” blitz to factor a large prime number puzzle ensues during which time transactions and contract executions are taking place all over the world. When the puzzle is solved (approx. 14.5 seconds later) the system checks the lucky winner’s answer, who upon authorization, is awarded 5 Ether.  The ledger is updated and the next race to solve a new puzzle begins again bringing the cycle to completion.

The success of the currency relies on the open source nature of the technology which allows full transparency through the distributed network, in contrast to the more traditionally centralized design we see in major banks today. Ethereum is buoyed by the inherently open consensus which validates all transactions created. Extracting that information back out to the physical world, we are seeing a new beginning for intermediate services and private applications to be run for a fraction of the cost by cutting out the middle man.

Cody’s presentation ended with a healthy round of questions to an audience that was excited to learn over a few specialty cocktails.  We would like to thank Cody for his time as well as the Grand Stafford Theater for allowing us access to their historic venue and look forward to our August meet-up where we will once again convene to discuss technology and innovation in a way that allows growth and maintains our community of curious and passionate developers.

Join us once again at the historic Grand Stafford Theater on August 15th for another evening of drinks and tech!

Software Developer’s Cartel June Meet-Up

The Software Developer’s Cartel is dedicated to bringing the community together to hear expert presentations on technical subjects. The June Software Developer’s Cartel was another successful evening of interesting talks on subjects as diverse as they are interesting.

First, we were delighted to hear from Robert Warden, Professor and Director of the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Center for Heritage Conservation. Mr. Warden’s presentation titled “Existential Resonance of Heritage” outlined the evolution of architectural preservation methods of historical sites from hand drawn blueprints made with pencil, paper and loads of advanced geometry to ground-penetrating radar to bleeding edge photogrammetry. His work has taken him around the world to locations including multiple trips to France, Montezuma’s Castle in Arizona and even exotic locations deep into the Bolivian forest to record Mayan ruins.

Andrew Erwin, a freelance web and application developer, closed the evening with his discussion on “MVC Tools and Applications” where he outlined the advantages and disadvantages of the MVC structure of software development.

Join us next month on July 18th (or every 3rd Tuesday!) where we will once again meet at the historic Grand Stafford Theater for specialty cocktails and software talk from experts who are excited to share their work. See you there!

Celebrating a Year of PechaKucha-Bryan

Nearly a year ago, AdventGX (AGX) partnered with the Institute for Applied Creativity (IAC) at Texas A&M to establish PechaKucha Bryan, launching our local PechaKucha Night with a series of 20×20 (20 slides, 20 seconds each) presentations and introducing Bryan to the worldwide PechaKucha community. Started in Tokyo, PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really — in the PechaKucha 20×20 format.

IAC and AGX have hosted three PechaKucha Nights in Bryan including the first event in November of 2014. We’ve had the privilege of hearing notable experts and friends speak on a wide variety of topics. Noted architect and professor Rodney Hill’s stunning photo log, “From Welding to Wood to Bronze” showcased years of sculpting. Benedict Nguyen’s “3D Printing: A Whole New World” introduced us to his passion for this emerging market and Barbara Kline offered lessons learned from her couch surfing adventures in “Couch Surfing: A New Way to Travel.” These presentations and many more inventive, artistic and insightful talks from past PechaKucha Nights in Bryan have us looking forward to tonight’s Pecha Kucha Bryan.

When we gather at Grand Stafford Theater, we will hear presentations from dynamic locals, including: Michael Wienen on robotics; Matt Michalka, organizer of Brazos Valley Makers; TAMU Aviary rep Constance Woodman; John Firth of the International Ocean Discovery Program; and the visionary Dean of the College of Architecture at Texas A&M, Dr. Jorge Vanegas.

PechaKucha Nights are now happening in over 700 cities around the world, providing a venue where people can show and share their work in a relaxed way. Following the live events, presentations are shared via the worldwide PechaKucha site.

We’re excited for our fourth event and look forward to seeing you there!

Advent GX Launches 3rd SEAD Summer Academy in Downtown Bryan

Advent GX launched its third season of SEAD Academy summer camps with T-STAR Space Camp this week. Throughout the week, campers will learn the basics of the Mission Control Center and how to be a Flight Controller. Participants will become expert in a Space Station systems and culminate their experience through a series of simulations in which they have to demonstrate their knowledge and work together to solve problems on the space station.

SEAD Academy is a community and economic development project by Advent GX that develops and presents immersive, interdisciplinary programs and classes for learners of all ages. Through these classes, Advent GX seeks to encourage innovation and promote the discovery of new ways to understand and positively impact our communities and our world.

Evening on 26th Street Raises Funds for Hospice

AdventGX and Astin Mansion teamed together to create the first Evening on 26th Street, a downtown experience showcasing three of Downtown Bryan’s most unique event venues.

The evening’s events progressed from SEAD Gallery, through the Night Bazaar at the Amity of Bryan, and culminated with dinner and dancing at Astin Mansion.

At SEAD Gallery, one of the venues managed by Downtown Bryan Events, guests enjoyed an interactive art experiment with exhibiting artist Mick Burson and tasting of Texas wine. At Amity of Bryan, Haley Cole provided live music while guests enjoyed exploring the wares of GO TEXAN vendors at the Night Bazaar and College Station’s Blackwater Draw providing tastings of locally brewed beers.

The evening culminated at the elegant Astin Mansion where guests enjoyed Texas Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp courtesy of GO TEXAN and HEB Towerpoint. Astin Mansion’s in house chef prepared a variety of recipes for guests to enjoy along with wine from Los Pinos Winery. The weather was idyllic and guests took full advantage, enjoying a relaxing evening on the patio and dancing to the tunes of Tyler James under the twinkle lights.

The evening benefited Hospice Brazos Valley, the community’s only non-profit, community-based, and community-supported organization offering comprehensive care in a life-affirming manner when curative treatment is no longer possible or desired.


An Evening on 26th Street – 2015 from Jay Robinson on Vimeo.

Advent GX to Develop Historic Bryan Ice House

Advent GX recently finalized an agreement with the City of Bryan, TX to redevelop the catalyst project on the northern end of the city’s historic district. At more than 24,000 sq. ft., the space lends itself well to multi-use development and Advent GX has presented a plan that will maximize the impact by establishing a high-capacity special events venue in the space. There are also plans to bring in a restaurant, brewery or distillery and coffee house.

Engineering studies and architectural planning is underway. Stay tuned for regular updates and contact us at if you would like to support the project.

Amsterdam’s Marie-Renee Hoek’s Completes Bryan’s First International Artist Residency

Marie-Renee Hoek’s had some ideas about what she would work on during her month-long SEAD Gallery international artist residency in Historic Downtown Bryan, TX but she was prepared to let the experience shape her art. And shape her art it did.

During her stay, Marie-Renee lived at the Square 1 Downtown Events Center complements of the generous sponsorship of Winding Road Property Management. Steps from SEAD Gallery, Village Cafe and Downtown Uncorked, Marie-Renee soon came to know the warmth of the Downtown community. She was greeted by name, welcomed with hugs and rapidly transitioned from visitor to local. That’s community. That’s downtown and that’s what she captured in the five original works she produced during her stay.

In addition to producing art, Marie-Renee held open studios, offered artists talks, participated in Arts Council of the Brazos Valley’s Boots & Bar-B-Que event. She also ventured to Fort Worth to promote her residency and experience even more of Texas’ rich heritage at the famous Stockyards.

Marie-Renee’s art opened our eyes to the beauty and warmth of our hometown. Her presence helped us see ourselves in the context of a larger, world community. And, since she’s returned to her some, Marie-Renee is now an ambassador bringing tales of Bryan’s budding cultural and arts district to Amsterdam’s cultural class.

Many, many thanks to the City of Bryan, TX for their generous sponsorship of the Artist in Residence program and to our other sponsors including Cattlesoft, Downtown Uncorked, Winding Road Property Management and This is Water Theater.

Enjoy this look back on Marie-Renee’s artist residency.

SEAD Gallery – Artist in Residence 2015, Bryan, TX from Jay Robinson on Vimeo.

The Hugs collection, Bryan, TX.

Leadership Brazos Tours Bryan Community Development Campus

AdventGX team had the privilege of hosting this year’s Leadership Brazos graduating class for a tour of some our local community development initiatives.

After a brief introduction by AdventGX President, Jose Quintana, the group began the grand tour, which is not for the faint of heart or those wearing uncomfortable shoes. Starting at the SEAD Gallery, our guests had the opportunity to choose their favorite “Character” from Marie-Renee Hoek’s exhibit in the SEAD Gallery and see a live demonstrations of the ArtInteractive app. Following, the group was taken to the Innovation Underground, AdventGX’s private small business incubator, where they were briefed on the various businesses currently supported and even snapped a picture with the Innovation Underground’s mascot, the Innovation Crow.



Then it was time to take a stroll to Main Street where the tour made a brief stop at Grand Stafford Theater, a live performance venue and current AdventGX project. The tour made it’s final stop at Amity Project where our guests were given an up-close and personal introduction to adaptive reuse and were updated on the excited plans we have for the newly acquired space.

Leadership Brazos is a program of the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce. The class, led by Mike Record, is made up of community members and business owners within the Brazos Valley that have the desire to learn more about our area including its rich history and heritage as well area arts and culture. Following their time at AdventGX, the Leadership Brazos cohort had the opportunity to hear from Art 979 founder, Kristi Petty and tour Arsenal Tattoo.

Advent GX Hosts Texas A&M Tourism Students at Innovation Underground

Students in RPTS 646 – a Texas A&M University graduate course in Heritage Tourism – visited the Innovation Underground in historic downtown Bryan, TX to enjoy class in the middle of an active heritage preservation project. Managing Partner Joan Quintana offered a lecture about the Innovation Underground and the Advent GX application of innovation and entrepreneurship in the support of heritage tourism.

Students included PhD candidates in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences as well as anthropology and architecture. Following the presentation, the students toured the Federal Building which was built in 1915 and is now home to the Innovation Underground, Advent GX’s business incubator. They also took a walking tour of downtown that included stops in the future Distributed Urban Farm pilot garden and the Grand Stafford Theater.

Joan Quintana responds to a questions from RPTS graduate students in the co-working space of the Innovation Underground.

Recreation, Parks and Tourism Science graduate students pose with the Innovation Crow at the Innovation Underground, Advent GX’s business incubator located in historic downtown Bryan, TX.

Donna, TX Community Engagement Underway

On September 8, 2012, 100 members of the Donna community participated in a community workshop, providing insight into the interests and concerns of Donna citizens. The information gathered is helping to shape the community and economic development plan that Advent GX is developing under contract with the City of Donna.

The Process

Advent GX facilitated the workshop using Nominal Group Technique to capture the concerns of local citizens and prioritize those in a democratic fashion.

Individually, members of the community responded to the following question.

“What are the top two needs for most important concerns that must be addressed in order for you (your business or organization) to prosper the most in the next 2-5 years?”

Advent GX posed the question in both English and Spanish. In addition, we were able to engage youth in the workshop and capture the input of these younger members of the community. Once individual members posed their answers, the individuals used dots to vote for the items most important to them. In the end, the community identified priorities that will be used to guide the planning process going forward.

The Results

Following is a table of the compiled results from the workshop (please note that the Youth participants are a sub set of the English speaking group and they reflect 11% of the full group - English and Spanish speakers comprise the full data set so they add up to 100%)