So how did this all get started?

The Kalamazoo X Conference began in May 2008 at a meeting of the Microsoft Developers of Southwest Michigan. An idea was thrown out that it would be nice to have a conference that showcased more “soft skills”, such as communication, running a business, process development, and working in teams. Many in the group felt the same way.

And so the idea was born and the planning begun.

The idea is to make this an annual conference that will offer things other conferences don’t and along the way, provide attendees with a new experience.

If you would be interested in helping to plan the next Kalamazoo X Conference check out the Contact Us page.

Who are we?

The core group of volunteers come from a diverse background.

Matt Davis

Matt is a software developer working from his home office in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The day job consists of delighting clients while finding the win-win, and helping the team wherever possible. Matt likes to spend as much time as possible with his wife and daughters, from week long road trips to museum day trips. Any time left over goes towards whittling down his too long reading list. Along with the Kalamazoo X Conference, Matt enjoys contributing to GiveCamps in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Matt is the Vice-President of the Kalamazoo X Conferences non-profit board.

Michael Eaton

Michael Eaton ( has been a software developer since the early 90’s, but left the so-called security of a “real job” for the freedom and flexibility of independence in 2001. Since then, he has focused on client-based technologies and has worked with clients throughout the mid-west. In 2009, ‘Michael Eaton Consulting’ became Validus Solutions, LLC. In 2014, he joined Quicken Loans as a Senior Software Engineer. In 2016, he took on the role of Team Leader.

Michael speaks throughout the United States at various regional events, user groups and conferences sharing his love of client development to other developers. He received the Microsoft MVP award in C# from 2009 – 2014. When not working on projects or spending time with his family, he will most likely be found reading, or honing his marksmanship skills on the pistol range.


Past Board Members

Mark Gilbert

Mark has over 14 years experience in web- and PC desktop software development, fulfilling roles such as principal consultant, software architect, project manager, team leader and mentor. Mark is a founding member and past President of the Microsoft Developers of Southwest Michigan user’s group. When he isn’t in front of a computer screen, Mark can be found at the whim of his two spunky daughters and his beautiful wife. He served as Secretary of the Kalamazoo X Conferences non-profit organization from 2009 until 2012.

Michael Markel

Mike is a recent graduate of Western Michigan University and web programmer working in .Net and SharePoint. When he is not sitting in front of a computer he can be found volunteering at the Oakwood Neighborhood Association, working on his house, gardening, or spreading the word about sustainable living. Michael is currently the Treasurer of the Kalamazoo X Conferences non-profit board.