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User group still looking for candidates

Encompass, the user group for enterprise HP and Compaq computer customers and partners, has extended its deadline for board of director candidate nominations. A few weeks back, today was supposed to the be the deadline for tossing your hat into the ring. Now the deadline for applying to the nominations committee is next Friday, June 16.

The user group might have been underwhelmed with the response during late May to its call for candidates. The Encompass board has terms of three of its seats expiring this December. Two of the sitting board members can run for re-election. Encompass members will hear on July 1 who will be running for board slots; that's when the Nominations Committee releases its approved candidate list.

HP 3000 interests are being served on the Encompass board already. Chris Koppe, marketing director for HP Platinum Migration partner Speedware, sits on the board. Encompass is a group of more than 8,000 members, and its leadership wants Interex volunteers to join and help the user group. Those are the same goals of OpenMPE, the advocacy group which also had an election during the past 12 months. Want to guess which group had more ballots cast in its vote?

The tally, according to Encompass and OpenMPE figures, is OpenMPE 111, Encompass 106. Close to one in three OpenMPE members voted in the March elections. Okay, it's not a contest — but the numbers do show how few people decide on the leadership of user groups these days. Any user group. During its final year of operation, Interex couldn't get 200 people to vote on its board election.

Any volunteer who wants to run in the Encompass election can also earn a spot on the ballot by petition, with  surprisingly modest number of signatures. From the Encompass Web site:

Q: How many signed petitions are required for nomination by petition?

A: Per Section 2.1 of the Encompass By-Laws, nomination by petition calls for signatures equal in number to at least fifteen percent (15%) of the number of members who voted in the preceding election, or 50 members, whichever is higher. Fifteen percent of the 106 members who voted in the previous election is 15.9, so 50 signed petitions are required for nomination by petition.

The nomination by petition deadline is August 23. The date of the annual meeting of Encompass at its HP Technology Forum show. The balloting takes place in October.

Some 3000 community members wonder what Encompass has to offer the HP 3000 user. The group has embraced the Itanium Special Interest Group of Interex, which was re-named the Integrity SIG "because people think of the box, not the processor," according to an HP employee at last year's SIG meeting.

There's also an Enterprise Unix SIG in Encompass, dedicated to the questions and needs of those managers just taking on administration and care of a Unix platform.

As for HP 3000 help not related to migration, the user group is still working on that offering. However, it's got a fine representation of the papers presented at the final two Interex conferences regarding HP 3000s. You've got to join at an Individual Level to get access to these papers, but there's nowhere else to find them now that Interex has gone bankrupt and wiped its servers.

User groups are old-school networking, but that's a good match with the 3000 community. If the user base expects help and education for non-migrating 3000 customers, there would be no better way to nudge that along than being on the group's board. Three-year term, one-hour conference call per month, one weekend face-to-face meeting a quarter, 10 hours a month of work, plus attending the annual HP Technology Forum, where Encompass meets.

You can apply to run at the Encompass Web site. And if last year's voting turnout is any measure, perhaps only 55 of your friends who are members of Encompass could earn you a seat on that board.