Earlier this year, Voices for Innovation welcomed aboard Jason Bergeron as one of our new Advisory Task Force leaders. While Jason is new to VFI leadership, he is an experienced advocate who has been engaged at the local, state, national, and international level.
Jason is also the founder and CEO of Stratify, a business consulting firm based in Houma, Louisiana. He launched Stratify after spending more than 16 years leading a managed service provider (MSP).
We recently visited with Jason to talk with him about his career, community engagement, and why broadband access is a critical issue.
VFI: You made a career change last year. Tell us about it.
Jason: I had a technical consulting company that I sold out of. I really enjoy the software selection process, and now with my new company Stratify, I’m bringing software and strategy together. I advise CEOs and CIOs and work to fix bad processes and address a company’s pain. Technology is not going to fix a bad process. I have an ISO-9000 background that provides a foundation for improving businesses. Now I can combine procedures, process, management, and technology.
VFI: You’re also involved with a telehealth business called Vitallync. How did that venture come about?
Jason: I had a medical practice client, and they wanted to be able to provide remote care. Together, we set up a telemedicine company that is mostly focused on occupational healthcare. A lot of oil and gas businesses are home-based in Louisiana but work around the world. Vitallync can provide medical care to workers on offshore rigs, maritime vessels, or rural locations, so workers don’t have to take a costly helicopter flight or long drive back to consult with a doctor.
VFI: Louisiana has many rural areas. Is broadband connectivity an issue? How does this impact businesses?
Jason: Louisiana is lacking in cloud access because of a lack of broadband. Going back, after Katrina, customers were down for a month or a month and a half because infrastructure was wiped off the face of the earth. Connectivity is still inconsistent. Someone might have access, and someone across the street won’t. People in rural areas can’t fill an available position because they don’t have connectivity. But If cable or DSL providers don’t see ROI, they won’t build infrastructure.
VFI: How do you think we address this challenge?
Jason: Internet is the farmland of the 21st century. Government has stepped in to help farmers. We need to subsidize internet. It’s an essential service like electricity or water. We need a multi-pronged approach, with many options. In Louisiana, it is hard to get to some areas because there is a lot of water. Wireless broadband using TV white spaces would be one option for these areas.
VFI: You recently signed onto a VFI joint letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about expanding broadband. How does this type of action make a difference?
Jason: That’s where the conversation about this issue is happening. Even if the letter moves the needle just a little bit, that’s important. It advances the conversation and provides another opportunity to spread the word about this issue and get Congress’s attention. You help where you can, and you can be a subject matter expert on broadband.
VFI: You’re involved with other business and civic groups. Where does VFI fit in?
Jason: I’m the VP of the IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners) Louisiana Chapter and the Chair of the Membership Committee for IAMCP Americas. I was the Chair of our local Chamber of Commerce and past President of the local Rotary. I’ve had a chance to be engaged at the local level, with state groups, and last year I went to Washington to highlight the need for a national data privacy bill. It especially hurts small businesses having to comply with a patchwork of state rules. National debates like privacy and broadband affect small businesses and local communities. That’s where VFI fits in.
VFI: What motivates you to be so engaged?
Jason: I believe in paying it forward. I have received help along the way, and I’m going to give back. I had a chance to help organize computer donations to assist in building tech schools in Liberia. It’s great to be able to make an impact on the other side of the world, and I try to contribute at the local, state, and national level. Technology also helps make it possible. It is an equalizer that creates opportunities.
VFI: Thank you for bringing your passion and positive attitude to VFI.
Jason: Thank you for the opportunity.