ATC Weekend Update October 15

In This Weekend Update

Quincy talks about what's happening at ATC
Vinson & Elkins explains how new EU personal data laws affect you, and what actions you should take
IDA Ireland shares the news of Austin startup, Trusource, opening a International Operations Centre in Ireland
Thomas Miranda shares his thoughts on bridging the talent gap
The Texas State Chamber invites you to an event on discriminatory laws

Quincy Cooper Director of Operations Austin Technology Council

Quincy Cooper
Director of Operations
Austin Technology Council

The Happs

Howdy there!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of planning and hosting events, and there is still no end in sight! Our annual event, Battle of the Tech Bands, was a huge success, with the Snowmen from taking home the top prize. We had Congressman Lloyd Doggett stop by to hear a few tunes, and the Austin Spurs mascot even made an appearance. We wrapped up the night with the headliner, Graveltooth, who basically rocked our faces off. If you didn't make this year's Battle, I'd recommend putting it on your calendar for next year - it's not one to miss! 

We also co-hosted the MedTechTx 2016 event along with the Texas State SBDC Spectrum Program. Over 130 attendees, made up of tech and healthcare founders, entrepreneurs, and executives, were provided with a unique perspective of the leaders in the healthcare industry in relation to their roles in technology adoption. Each stakeholder shared their challenges, pain points, and the drivers of their decision making process, and were able to network with the attendees throughout the two-day event.  

Lastly, ATC has been hard at work building a relationship between the tech community and Austin's policy makers through the ATC Policy Coalition. We've hosted a handful of events where attendees met with Council Members, asked their questions, and learned where the Council Members lie on hot topics. Lastly, ATC has been hard at work building a relationship between the tech community and Austin's policy makers through the ATC Policy Coalition. We've hosted a handful of events where attendees met with Council Members, asked their questions, and learned where the Council Members lie on hot topics. Keep an eye on your inbox for our next Policy Coalition event!

As we move closer to the end of the year, I will be assisting Eddie and Barbary in building out the 2017 calendar, as well as building out new member services. (There is one in particular that I am VERY excited about, so stay tuned!) There is a long road ahead of us in terms of getting ATC where we want it to be, but I for one am very excited to travel it with my team and the ATC community!

"For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future." - JFK

Shields Up: Is the EU – U.S. Data Privacy Shield Right For You?

Many technology and digital media companies operate without borders in today's global economy. They have employees and customers on both sides of the Atlantic. Recent developments in the laws governing the transfer of personal information (also known as “personal data” or “personally identifiable information”) from the European Union to the United States has made such borderless operations more challenging.


For those who have not been following these developments: The uncertainty surrounding EU-U.S. data privacy relations culminated on October 5, 2015 when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) invalidated the Safe Harbor framework. Because the EU has decided that U.S. laws do not provide an "adequate level of protection" for EU personal data, self-certifying under the Safe Harbor framework was one of few legal methods available for companies to bring EU personal data to the U.S. “Personal data” has a broad definition under EU law and includes any information relating to a identified or identifiable natural person.  In the aftermath of the ECJ’s invalidation of the Safe Harbor framework, officials in the U.S. (including the U.S. Department of State and the Federal Trade Commission) accelerated the pace of their negotiations with European Commission officials to reach a new Safe Harbor arrangement; a process that had begun a year before the invalidation decision.

The New Privacy Shield

These negotiations resulted in the new “Privacy Shield” framework.  As of August 1, 2016, U.S. companies can self-certify their compliance with EU data privacy laws by filing with the U.S. Department of Commerce under the new Privacy Shield framework at Companies that previously transferred data under the Safe Harbor framework or those that are subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission or Department of Transportation should take this moment to consider two fundamental questions:

  • Do our business operations (including human resources management) involve the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S.? If your company is transferring data relating to individuals, from servers in the EU to servers in the U.S., you are likely implicating EU data privacy laws and, as such, are under an obligation to offer “adequate protection” for the data. Other types of transfer may also trigger the application of EU data privacy laws.
  • Is the Privacy Shield the optimal means for complying with EU privacy law for our company? The Privacy Shield is not the only means of protecting personal data during transatlantic transfers. Other options include obtaining individual consent or implementing model contract clauses or binding corporate rules regarding data transfer. Each method has its benefits and its drawbacks. The appropriate type of protection will depend, in large part, on the size and complexity of a company, along with the nature and frequency of its transatlantic data transfers. More on each of these non-Privacy Shield options for transatlantic transfers of personal data can be found here.

Companies that answer “yes” to both of these questions should prepare for Privacy Shield certification sooner rather than later, as companies must take a number of actions before self-certifying, including:

  • Adopting Privacy Policies that Reflect the Privacy Shield Principles.1 Such policies, among other things, must mandate certain safety measures for the handling of personal data, give individuals notice that their data will be transferred, and offer individuals a chance to opt-out of transfers of sensitive materials. These privacy policies must be published in a publically-available location, including a website.
  • Creating an Independent Recourse Mechanism. Any company seeking to self-certify must provide free arbitration of any unresolved privacy complaints by an independent organization (e.g., TRUSTe, the American Arbitration Association, Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service, or the Direct Marketing Association).  
  • Designating a Contact Person within the Organization. One person within the company must be designated to respond to privacy questions, complaints, access requests and other issues arising under the Privacy Shield.
  • Establishing a Verification Mechanism. The company must provide plans for an internal or external “verification mechanism” — essentially, an audit — that monitors policies and their implementation for compliance with the Privacy Shield Principles.

For many companies, the preparation, filing and ongoing compliance required to participate in the Privacy Shield will constitute a significant investment. However, that investment may be worthwhile because it presents the most efficient means of maintaining compliance with EU data privacy law.

1 The Privacy Shield Principles are (1) Notice; (2) Choice; (3) Accountability for Onward Transfer; (4) Security; (5) Data Integrity and Purpose Limitation; (6) Access; and (7) Recourse. You can find more information on these principles and the sixteen supplemental Privacy Shield Principles at 

Trusource Labs to Establish International Operations Centre in Limerick.

Limerick. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor today announced that Technical Support Services company Trusource Labs is to establish an International Operations Centre in Limerick, creating 134 jobs over three years.

The project is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through IDA Ireland.

Trusource Labs is headquartered in Austin, Texas. The privately held company services technology companies that specialise in the Internet of Things and providing support for companies that use Apple devices. 

The company delivers innovative solutions for connected devices and business critical software solutions by providing an effortless technology support experience that strengthens customer relationships. Services focus on minimising the need for customers to phone for technical support, including working with companies and their engineers when products are at beta stage and focusing on ways to enhance the customer’s experience from purchase, installation and activation of the product or service. The company helps develop content online and ‘in the box’ for troubleshooting, providing omni-channel support with phone, email, social, chat and video in multiple languages.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “This is another great boost for Limerick and the region.  I am delighted to be in Limerick again today to welcome a further 134 jobs to the city and the region.  As Minister my priority is to ensure continued jobs creation right across the country.  These are exactly the kind of high quality technical jobs that we seek to attract and it is a strong vote of confidence for Ireland and the Irish workforce that Trusource Labs has decided to establish its International Operations Centre here.  I wish the Trusource Labs team all the very best for their future in Ireland.”  

Speaking of today’s announcement, the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan T.D. said: “Trusource Labs and Limerick are about to start a mutually beneficial partnership. This and recent jobs partnerships like it make me very happy and proud. The people of Limerick are now consistently being seen as the employees of choice for ambitious companies like Trusource Labs. Limerick and its people offer a great location for doing international business. I welcome Trusource Labs to Limerick and I am sure the company will be supported as strongly by Limerick and its people as Trusource Labs supports its customers.”

Minister for Employment and Small Business Mr. Pat Breen T.D said: "I am delighted to welcome this announcement today in Limerick by Trusource Labs that it is establishing an International Operations Centre creating 134 jobs.  All jobs created have a positive knock on effect on the wider region. It is important that we continue to work to ensure further opportunities for investment and job creation in our regions. This investment is a testament to the skilled workforce and the attractiveness of the region. I wish Trusource every success for the future.”

The company’s Co-Founder Alton Martin said: ‘We are enthusiastic to bring our innovative customer experience model to Ireland. It is our first step in a larger global growth plan, and we are grateful for IDA’s partnership and support.” 

IDA’s CEO Martin Shanahan said: “This investment by Trusource Labs is great news. Delivering 134 jobs in three years will make a strong regional impact in Limerick and will be a valuable reference case for IDA in attracting similar high growth technology companies to the region. I congratulate the company and offer the continued support of IDA Ireland in the future.”

Thomas Miranda Founder/CEO Sparkovation Advisors ACC Board of Trustees, place 5 candidate

Thomas Miranda
Founder/CEO Sparkovation Advisors
ACC Board of Trustees, place 5 candidate

Austin Community College Bridges Talent Gap with Innovative STEM Programs

It’s no newsflash that Austin is a tech hub. Brilliant innovation occurs here every single day, and innumerable opportunities exist for new ideas to flourish. But there is a challenge—we just don’t produce enough knowledge workers to meet our region’s workforce needs. Job openings abound,and our region’s continued success requires that we find a way to bridge the talent gap.

Austin Community Colleges (ACC) just may provide the answer.

A heightened interest in providing high-quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs means producing more qualified entrants into central Texas’ high technology
fields. Training local talent makes business, economic, and community sense. Students who receive top notch educational opportunities—at an accessible cost—are ripe for local employment opportunities. They live here and work here, breathing greater life into our local economy and giving back to our communities.

“I know what a community college education can mean to an underprivileged student,” notes Thomas Miranda, Austin entrepreneur and tech executive. “When I graduated from high school, I was passionate about technology and innovation, but there was no way for my family to afford four years at a university. Community college gave me the opportunity to learn and grow—it’s no exaggeration to say that it changed the trajectory of my life.”

The innovation economy will only accelerate, and local companies are key to improving the educational opportunities for our region. Businesses can partner with higher education by providing internships, mentorships, and adjunct faculty—educators with real-world experience and down-to-earth advice. According to, students with mentors are 70% more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, and are 130% more likely to hold leadership positions. And the Institute for Higher Education Policy notes that, “Mentoring minority college students results in those students being twice as likely to persist [in college] as non-mentored minority students and to have higher GPAs” (IHEP, 2011).

Miranda continues, “My community college experience was a significant driver in my professional and personal life. I was able to parlay that early start into a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. That led to a great career with HP, Dell, and Cisco, which led to my starting a technology consulting firm. My professional success led to my civic participation. I’ve been involved with over a dozen public organizations devoted to advancing educational opportunities, particularly in the tech sector.” He has served on several boards, primarily in alignment with workforce or economic development and enabling innovation in education. He served on Discover Engineering in the early 2000s, mentored at risk students as a Round Rock ISD STARS mentor, and served on countless non-profit boards (such as Crime Prevention Institute, Economic Growth Business Incubator, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Austin, Mission Capital, AYC, and others). Thomas has also volunteered for numerous civic groups, such as Caritas, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters , and others, all aimed at enabling others to overcome adversity and achieve their dreams.

Austin will continue to be a magnet for innovation and technology development, and the time is now to make substantial commitments to ACC. Making a community college STEM education relevant and accessible means broadening the pool of local talent, giving local companies access to bright minds who might otherwise be left out of the innovation economy. Companies who commit their time, talent, and resources to building ACC’s portfolio of STEM programs will reap significant benefits, in terms of creativity and productivity.

So will we all.

How Discriminatory Laws Can Hurt Your Business

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Due to recent implementation of discriminatory laws, North Carolina is experiencing a loss of travel and tourism revenues. Similar events could occur in Texas soon. Learn how laws proposed for the new session in January allow discrimination against LGBT residents and visitors in Texas, and how they will hurt our state’s economy and your business.

Grab a bite and a drink and join us for an informational session + Q&A to meet with the people leading the campaign to Keep Texas Open for Business. We'll be in the Main Space at Capital Factory on Monday, October 17th from 5p - 6p, to discuss this issue before local elections on November 8th.

Learn what you can do to protect your business from unnecessary laws that will make Texas a hard place to attract and retain the talent you need so your business can grow.

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