MHTA Foundation Bids & Bytes Benefit

benefit featured image
September 13 | 4:30 pm | Minneapolis — 

Save the Date: The 3rd annual Bids & Bytes Benefit will be held at the Aria in downtown Minneapolis on September 13th, 2018.

Thank you to our sponsors and everyone who attended our Bids & Bytes Benefit! It was an incredible night — thank you for your support of our Foundation and STEM workforce efforts!

The Minnesota High Tech Foundation’s Bids & Bytes Benefit is the 2017 technology fundraiser for everyone to attend — do business with the best in Minnesota and support STEM workforce development in one night!

Donating to the MHTA Foundation is an investment in the future of Minnesota’s workforce. Together, we can pool our resources and excitement to become a top-competing state for technology business, which we’re accomplishing in three ways, by:

  • Educating and supporting students through our STEM scholarships and hands-on experience,
  • Communicating the need for STEM-educated college graduates, and
  • Partnering with the local science and technology community to build strong connections and resources.

Our evening at the Aria Theater will provide opportunities to mingle with C-suite leaders from the biggest and strongest technology companies in Minnesota. During the networking period, there will be a chance to meet the students and organizations impacted by this work. You will also be able to take part in a number of fun activities and competitions, like battling robots, racing sail cars, or beat the clock to assemble your spaceship!

As the evening progresses, those interested can bid on C-suite auction experiences and watch the results come in live at the event.

Make a difference and support the future success of Minnesota – and your organization – by participating in the benefit and donating to the MHTA Foundation.

*NOTE: BidPal does not support Internet Explorer. Please use a different browser to purchase tickets (Chrome or Edge recommended)


Behind the Scenes Customized Tour at MSP Airport

Custom tour hosted by MAC Commissioner and Thomson Reuters EVP/CIO Rick King. From baggage claim to the tower, guests will see how MSP airport operates in this special, behind the scenes tour. The winner will choose which places to visit from a wide variety of airport areas. This opportunity is open for 2 winning bids (6 guests for each tour).

rick king

Offered by Rick King
Thomson Reuters


Behind the Scenes with Xcel Energy

Winning bidder will have the choice between one of two unique Xcel Energy experiences:

Choice #1 – Power Plant Tour for 12 people. Enjoy a 90-minute private tour of Xcel Energy’s High Bridge Generating Plant located near downtown Saint Paul along the banks of the majestic Mississippi River. Learn about the plant’s history, construction and how it delivers electricity to what the Smithsonian has dubbed “the largest machine ever built” the North America Power Grid. From the control room, to the generation floor to the rooftop, you will get a rare behind-the-scenes at how this plant helps to back up Xcel Energy’s ever-expanding wind energy portfolio.

Choice #2 – Executive Lake Cruise for 4 people. Join Xcel Energy’s Chief Information Officer David Harkness as he hosts a group of 4 people on his boat for an afternoon cruise on Lake Minnetonka including a social stop at a local watering hole for some refreshments.

David Harkness

Offered by David Harkness
Xcel Energy


Music and Dinner for Four

An evening out for four including a live performance by Commissioner Tom Baden and his band. Dinner to follow featuring wood fire cooking with a variety of hand-crafted cocktails.

tom baden

Offered by Tom Baden
Commissioner and Chief Information Officer
Minnesota IT Services, State of Minnesota


Behind the Scenes — Technical Tour of the Xcel Energy Center

The tour will consist of a behind the scenes tour of Xcel Energy, Home of the Minnesota Wild, from the Press Box to the Ice Level and will highlight all the technical components along the way that few in the public, ever see. Open to 10-15 participants.

Jim Ibister

Offered by Jim Ibister
Vice President, Facility Administration, Minnesota Wild &
General Manager, Saint Paul RiverCentre


Research and Development at Cargill

With 150,000 employees, over 1000 patents, and $100+ billion in annual revenue, Cargill is one of the largest and most innovative companies in the world. In a given day, Cargill touches more than 20 percent of the world’s food supply, operates nearly 600 ocean vessels and ships millions of tons of commodities around the globe. Join Kim Skanson, Vice President of Cargill Business Services, for a tour of our Minneapolis Research & Development facility and see first-hand one of the ways that Cargill accomplishes its purpose of being the leader in nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.

Your day begins with a tour of Cargill’s Research & Development facility in Plymouth. From ideation to creation, there are many fascinating elements to R&D at one of the largest companies in the country. Following the tour, we will enjoy lunch together and have open dialogue on topics of interest.

Kim Skanson

Offered by Kim Skanson
Vice President of Cargill Business Services


Mississippi River Boat Cruise

Up to 6 people can join Cris Ross of Mayo Clinic for a ride on the Mississippi River on his antique classic cruiser.

cris ross

Offered by Cris Ross
Chief Information Officer
Mayo Clinic


Mall of America Tech Tour

Step behind the scenes to see how Mall of America uses technology to enhance the experience of our 40 million annual visitors. Winner also receives a gift basket of Mall of America tickets and merchandise.

janette smrcka

Offered by Janette Smrcka
Information Technology Director
Mall of America


Technology and Game Night with the Minnesota Timberwolves

Spend an evening with the Minnesota Timberwolves in a suite. Before the game get a behind the scenes peek at the technology at both the Target Center and our Practice Facility that helps us run on a game day.

Timberwolves logo

Offered by Justin Butler
Vice President of Technology
Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx


U.S. Bank Stadium Technology Tour

Get a behind-the-scenes tour of the home of the Minnesota Vikings, Super Bowl LII and the 2019 NCAA Final Four. Areas to visit include the Vikings locker room, the stadium data center, video production room and the field (event schedule permitting).

David Kingsbury

Offered by David Kingsbury
Director of IT
U.S. Bank Stadium


Social Hour Activities:

Before the benefit’s main activities, attendees will be able to participate in some thrilling and challenging competitions. These activities are provided by the MHTA Foundation’s non-profit partners in STEM education and workforce development.

Participants can purchase tickets to participate in the competitions against other attendees. The Foundation’s past and current scholarship winners will assist with running the contests. You can meet the students who benefit from your generous contributions, compete in a exciting bout, and win a unique prize.

Tickets for Social Hour Activities are $10 each or 3 for $20.

The Bell Museum
The Bell Museum of Minnesota dares attendees to take their Astronaut Glove Box Challenge. Participants will wear gloves and attempt to assemble puzzles or work with nuts and bolts in the shortest time. The Bell Museum is dedicated to igniting curiosity and wonder, exploring our connections to nature and the universe, and creating a better future for our evolving world.

Prize: Winner receives Gopher hockey game tickets. Package also includes parking. Donated by Doug Carnival, MHTA Foundation Board Member and Partner, McGrann, Shea, Carnival, Straughn, and Lamb.

High Tech Kids
High Tech Kids is providing an electrifying competition where you can square off against other benefit attendees in a mechanical challenge. Players use robots to compete against each other to gather as many game pieces while blocking their opponent’s robot. High Tech Kids delivers fun, hands-on science, engineering and technology programs and events that inspire Minnesota kids in their formative years.

Prize: Winner receives copy of the Turing Tumble game from the first batch off the production line. A set of 10 games will also be donated to the school of the winner’s choice. Donated by Paul and Alyssa Boswell.

The Works Museum
The Works Museum will present an engineering design challenge, Sail Cars. Benefit attendees can customize a sail car and test its performance, then improve and re-test or participate in a race. The Works Museum serves over 46,000 students per year in its programs. The Museum is an MHTA Member whose mission is to inspire the next generation of innovators, engineers, and creative problem solvers.

Prize: Winner receives Gopher basketball game tickets for the February 6th game vs. Nebraska. Package also includes parking. Donated by Kevin Hansen, MHTA Foundation Board Member and Vice President – Data Center Strategy, Thomson Reuters.

September 12, 2017
4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

4:30 PM – Registration, Networking, and Social Hour Activities
5:30 PM – Welcome & Auction
6:45 PM – Meet the Students
7:30 PM – Event Concludes

*Agenda and Experiences subject to change.

105 North First Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

Individual Tickets: $65
Individual + Guest Tickets $120 (save $10!)

*NOTE: BidPal does not support Internet Explorer. Please use a different browser to purchase tickets (Chrome or Edge recommended)

Parking Information

Thanks to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor:





Supporting Sponsors:

Baker Tilly



Eagle Creek



forsythe technology








Optimity Advisors









St. Jude Medical



Thomson Reuters




ThreeBridge Solutions



Printing Sponsor:

Unisys Logo



Sponsorships are available! Learn more and become a sponsor here.


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