Cristina Connections
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 VOL. 6
 ISSUE 8
This article first appeared in     Vol.3 Issue 5 

 

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Alan Weinberger

The ASCII Group, Inc., was established in 1984, and is headquartered just outside of Washington, D.C. in Bethesda, Maryland. ASCII is the largest community of independent computer resellers in the world with more than 2,000 members in North America and with system wide end-user sales of approximately $10.5 billion. ASCII provides technology tools, products and services to assist independent information technology resellers in increasing profits, reducing costs, and growing their respective businesses. ASCII is a for-profit organization offering resellers the leverage of the group's collective position in the industry to positively influence hardware manufacturers, software developers, IT service suppliers, distributors, the media, the government and the customer community. The Company can be reached at (800) 394-2724, or on the Web at www.ascii.com.


What kind of community is the ASCII Group?

ASCII is truly the world's largest community of independent computer solution providers and value added computer resellers. With over 2,000 participating members throughout North America and some foreign countries, ASCII members provide IT products and services for thousands of end-users in the small to medium size business space. ASCII offers its members monthly meetings in major cities around the U.S. to communicate new technologies and to allow our members to network and partner with one another. ASCII also hosts the largest eForum for computer solution providers to trade technical and other relevant information between themselves. ASCII has moved beyond a typical buying consortium and has built a community that all are members take advantage of.

As the founder of this community, what particularly motivated you to start it?

I founded ASCII along with 40 computer "dealers" that all had storefronts in 1984. The concept was to add true value, on a long-term basis, to independent computer dealers that would stand the test of time. For a nominal monthly fee, ASCII members gain access to all the benefits and power that our community provides. This includes volume purchase agreements with major distributors, lead generation, partnership opportunities, discounted business insurance, and much more. ASCII levels the playing field for its members and our members reap the rewards. Everyone benefits.

What do you see as the benefits emerging from the collaboration of the National Cristina Foundation and the ASCII community across the United States and abroad?

In my 20 years as ASCII’s CEO, Chairman and Founder, I have never seen a better organization when it comes to assisting less fortunate communities. By encouraging IT Solution Providers to donate surplus and used equipment, NCF and ASCII play a pivotal role in providing these communities with the means necessary to prosper in this technically advanced age. NCF provides the gap between technology and people with disabilities, individuals who are economically disadvantaged, and students at risk. ASCII members, and IT professionals in general, are on the front lines of making sure usable equipment is not wasted. They are also helping people in need obtain the necessary IT training.

What do you see as the long range impact of the association between the National Cristina Foundation and the ASCII Group members to the communities in which they work and live?

NCF will play a major role in bringing technology to the less fortunate for the unforeseeable future. Technology is forever evolving and to deny any community access to this technology is denying them access to opportunities. Our members find that strengthening communities through helping people in need is a fulfilling way to expand their knowledge base and network. Providing potential workers with the right kind of technology skills only adds value to their own business…not to mention that it gets people off the welfare rolls and creates a favorable tax situation. ASCII has been a supporter of NCF since 1989 and will continue to do so as technology needs become more complex.