As I’ve grown, I’ve increasingly realized the importance of making strong, solid connections with people. My extroversion has paid off many times already, and will even more in the future. It has constantly been a joy to interact with and be involved in tech-focused Meetups and Conferences around southern Michigan.

Early last year, I founded Orchestructure, an Ann Arbor meetup group focused on DevOps and Infrastructure topics (the Orchestration of Infrastructure). Today, that group has swelled to over 350 members with consistently 25 or more at every meeting (getting to 40+ in some cases). It has truly been a joy to help being together a community of intelligent like-minded individuals achieving similar goals both professionally and personally. (A few of us even get together for some old fashioned LAN gaming every few months.)

Of course, I didn’t stop there ;) We held our first Orchestructure Workshop in May with amazing success: Around 70 unique attendees came to interactive sessions around Containers, Kubernetes, Secrets Management, and CI/CD! This completely free event brought people from all over the Michigan area, including Detroit, Lansing, Troy, Novi, and Ann Arbor locals. We look forward to throwing another Workshop later this year with an even wider breadth of topics in an interactive format.

Earlier this year, I joined the DevOpsDays Detroit organizing committee to help wrangle in sponsors and speakers for this years event. Coming October 3rd and 4th to the College for Creative Studies, DoD Detroit will showcase the latest leaders in DevOps locally and beyond. Tickets are available and flowing quickly so get in here! I’ll be MC’ing the event (introducing speakers, etc..) so you won’t want to miss my embarrassing public speaking abilities shine brightly.

Through my involvement with the broader offline community, I’ve come to meet some of the most fascinating people. Connecting with unique people is one of the most rewarding parts of my overall path through the tech and entrepreneurial fields. I really urge you to get out there and open up with those interest groups you most relate to. You’ll be glad you did!

It’s been an honor to bring together all sorts of engineers from all walks of life and help garner fruitful relationships. I look forward to continuing my meetup and conference work well into the future.

Mario Loria is a builder of diverse infrastructure with modern workloads on both bare-metal and cloud platforms. He's traversed roles in system administration, network engineering, and DevOps. You can learn more about him here.