Portland, OR. SEMpdx held its annual Rooftop Party in Portland’s Pearl District at the On Deck Sports Bar & Grill. It’s the eleventh year for the networking event. The SEMpdx Board of Directors took time for a photo. Leaders include: Ryan Campbell, Scott Hendison, Kevin Getch, Anna Madill (back row) Tony Svoboda, Trish Carey, Garrett Browne, Robert Frost, Todd Mintz, Sarah Hinds, and Ashley Kennedy. Every year, the nonprofit Search Engine Marketing Organization selects a charity to support and this year, it’s Girls Inc., an organization encouraging girls to be “strong, smart, and bold.” The benefits of becoming a SEMpdx Charity of Choice include: recognition at events, pro-bono digital marketing services, and up to a $5,000 donation.
SEMpdx was founded in 2006, because we felt that there was a lot of veteran talent here in PDX, but we weren’t really recognized for it because we were all so busy working that we weren’t self-promoting. We also knew that the business community in Portland was coming around to SEM, but didn’t really know about the level of talent here in PDX. This led to our rather simple mission “put search on the map in Portland, and Portland on the map in search”. In other words – to get PDX recognized in the national SEM community, and raise awareness for search marketing in PDX. We got the group together when Scott Orth & Blu Drobushevich approached me (Kent Lewis) after SMX Seattle in 2006 and suggested we create our own industry association in Portland. Initially, I (Ben Lloyd) was hesitant, and wasn’t sure we had critical mass in the area. That said, after a brief debate, we agreed to run it by folks we knew and trusted in the industry. A month or two later, we scheduled a meeting with a dozen or so local SEM professionals. Everyone at that meeting was on board (literally, everyone become an initial board member). I sold the initial sponsorship (Site9) that gave us the funding and moved SearchFest from IPN (Stan Davis & I created the initial events in 2005) to SEMpdx and we were on our way. Ben Lloyd helped us incorporate through his father’s firm and we started formalizing articles, bylaws, processes, mission, vision, and so on. Scott Hendison worked on the blog and website, Tracy Chapman started organizing, and Todd Mintz started blogging. The rest is history! There was a great deal of hard work & details by the board, which was critical and appreciated. The group then started putting on monthly educational events.