An Empire of Strawmen take the crown as the West Kootenay’s top web-designers

By Contributor
March 21st, 2011

 They came, they saw, they ingested excess amounts of caffeine and ultimately (despite a few baggy red eyes) they conquered. While others may have been enjoying the new snow in the mountains, hanging out with family or simply relaxing over the weekend, three local web-development teams spent all night Friday and most of Saturday, designing, coding and building new websites for deserving non-profits and emerging small businesses. Indeed the first 24 Hour WebDev Showdown put some of the region’s best web designers to the test.

The long night and following day resulted in ecstatic recipients of fresh, beautifully designed, functional new websites, new connections made between friends and colleagues in the local new media sector, and of course cold hard cash handed out to the top three web-design collectives in the region.


Taking home top prize, David Livingstone of Rossland based Empire New Media in cooperation with Shane Hainsworth of Strawman Design out of Nelson took home the $1,000 prize and glory as champions of the first 24hr WebDev Showdown. The Strawman-Empire New Media team put together a CMS (Content Management System) based site for local business Winterbees; an innovative new West Kootenay based company that has developed gore-tex like jackets for beehives to help them survive the winter.


Shane and I very much wanted to participate in this Web Dev Showdown, for the sheer pleasure of developing, but also with the added fun of the challenge of doing so within 24hrs,” commented David Livingstone of Empire New Media. “It was also a rare opportunity to get in touch with other local designers to network and learn from one another. I also think it’s important that Tech Village provided local designers and programmers a chance to give back to the community.  We really appreciated the opportunity to help a local start-up.” 


A collection of self-titled hackers; The Nelson Tech Club collected the $500 second prize for their work developing a new site for Gaia Janitorial Services; a new local company dedicated to LEED certified cleaning practices.


“We didn’t use any existing templates or CMS systems to get started,” commented team Leader Brad Pommen “In the spirit of the competition we literally built the site from the ground up and coded it all by hand.”


Sean Melvin, owner of Gaia Janitorial Services was so please with the site he received from the competition that he doubled the second place team’s winnings out of his own pocket.


Rounding out the field the I9 Design team was awarded $250 for their work creating an online gallery for artist Anju Virginie Baysse’s company Terraconta.


The teams at KAST and Tech Village were pleased with the turnout, competition and results of the first 24hr WebDev Showdown and are already working on tweaks and improvements to bring the event back bigger and better for next year.


“For the first time bringing a new event like this online in the region, it went really well,” commented Kelvin Saldern of KAST. “The competitors all did a fantastic job creating these beautiful sites in just 24 hours and the recipients were all excited and pleased with the results. The strength, creativity and skill in the local new-media sector is really impressive.”


With the aim of bringing together businesses and organizations in the digital new-media sector to promote, learn, collaborate and celebrate, the event hit a high note as the networking session went late into Saturday evening.


“Tech Village is all about collaboration and bringing together the copious talent in the new media world we’ve got residing right here in the West Kootenay,” added Andrew Zwicker, Tech Village board member and MC for the night. “To see the interaction and connections being made both during the competition as well as during the after-party was excellent. That is what Tech Village at its core is all about.”


KAST – The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology

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