South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

‘One’ Night to Remember

on December 20, 2021 / by Rebecca Bakels ,

Read Time 4 Minutes

It was a seasonably warm and clear Tuesday night as CEOs, startup founders, and many more tech industry professionals hit the dance floor to celebrate Tech Hub South Florida and Tech Lauderdale’s unification with their “One Brand | One Voice” gala held at the Signature Grand in Davie. As guests arrived they were greeted by care packages from the presenting sponsors and a beautifully transformed ballroom ringing with excited conversation. After a round of delicious hors d’oeuvres and a scrumptious buffet spread, the evening’s presentations began. 

Tahl Milburn, Advisor

Tahl Milburn, a local technologist, investor, and startup advisor spoke about his journey from Silicon Valley to South Florida’s Tech Hub, and why he loves this area and the unique opportunities and lifestyle the region offers.

Milurn is a Tech Hub Ambassador, New World Angels investor, and part of Tech Hub’s Startup Committee supporting startups within the region. He kicked off the night with opening remarks, an overview of the night’s purpose, and got us excited about the evening to come. 


Gabriela Rolon @ TriNet

Gabriela Rolon of TriNet, one of the gala’s presenting sponsors, spoke on how the uniting of these local tech nonprofits is a revolutionary moment to be remembered. She summed it up by saying “Separately, they (Tech Hub and TechLauderdale) have both done so much to help the growth of startups and companies that it only makes sense that they unite forces and put South Florida on the map as a Tech Hub!”

She continued, “They will show the world that people matter, and when you put them first, and do it for your ‘WHY’, you can conquer anything!”


Alan Shimel @ TechStrong

Alan Shimel, CEO and Founder of TechStrong Group and the night’s second presenting sponsor, gave a brief overview of how we’re growing tech talent in Florida and the importance of supporting local coding bootcamps and their students to do so.

He also highlighted the growth over the past couple decades and all the major players that have come on the scene. Wrapping it into a few words Alan said, “It really feels like we have everything in place to make South Florida a true tech hub.”


Not forgetting the region’s rich past and tech roots, we heard from Alex Funkhouser, most recent past President of the former TechLauderdale, discussing the area’s foundation and building of our tech ecosystem over the last 20 years. We also heard from Ashton Adler, Tech Hub’s Director of Talent & Policy, as she spoke about the talent and workforce development work being done by the organization and its partners. She also announced the silent auction items for the evening and that the k-12 Code Palm Beach program would be benefitting. 

Kelly Boyle, Events Committee Chair for Tech Hub, who gave us a glimpse into the amazing events planned for 2022. Events will start off with the Tech Hub Tee Off in January (tickets available now on Eventbrite), the surprise return of the Golden Palm Awards in July, and ending with TechPalooza (fka ITPalooza). The room was immediately buzzing with excitement as guests were quick to take note of the line up!

Louis Balbirer, Michael Fowler, Beth Wagmeister (ASL interpreter)

The presentations ended with a special announcement from board chairs Michael Fowler and Louis Balbirer that came as little surprise to the attendees.  Fowler began by saying, “I know you all noticed a little word in Nikki’s title that doesn’t quite make sense.” 

The ‘interim’ has officially been dropped from Nikki Cabus’ job title as she was officially announced as CEO of South Florida Tech Hub.

The room erupted into thunderous applause as guests stood to honor Nikki who has done an incomparable job in leading the South Florida tech community, earning her title and permanent position.

Cabus thanked the audience, told the brief story of her journey from TechLauderdale volunteer to board director and then moving to Palm Beach Tech (now Tech Hub), only to have the support in uniting them.

Cabus told the audience, “Even though I feel like you all just got to come to my party tonight, this tech community is about all each of you.”


Michael Fowler brought it all home: “I was impressed with the positive energy in the room,” Michael remarked. “The tag line for the Gala was ‘One Brand | One Voice’ and whether it was the speakers or the attendees, the message was clear: there’s one unified voice in South Florida that’s ready to be a unified region.”

The evening wrapped up with great conversation, epic dance moves, fun in the photo booth and  anticipation in the air for the future of South Florida Tech Hub. Check out some of the great photos of the night here. 📷

‘One’ Night to Remember