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About NPA: Our Value and History

NPA – Advocate for the International Network Computing Professional

The Network Professional Association (NPA) was founded (1993) to support the network computing professional and the ideals of an empowered, continually developing, professionally certified, educated and experienced IT practitioner. Among the objectives of the Association are to unite computer industry professionals throughout the world, to identify and meet the networking and career development needs of these professionals, and to identify and to meet their education and training requirements on their path to career growth.

Our Value…
The NPA does this today by ....

Some History…
Before NPA there was CNEPA — In the February1990 following a Novell Enhanced Support Training (NEST) class lead by Ken Kirkham in Orange County, California, an active discussion ensued wherein students were sharing their technology experience and knowledge. From this discussion there arose an agreed desire for an organization to promote learning and interaction. A contact was made to Novell by a newly Certified Netware Engineer (Mark Loos). Through Mark Jones, Novell CNE Program Manager, Novell showed a strong interest. The first meeting was held October 39, 1990 with 37 students and CNE's attending.

Ken Kirkham, Mark Jones, Stuart Pastman, Mark Loos, and Tim Burkley met to layout the foundation for the CNEPA. Key features were: 1)To be a focal point for learning and sharing, a free exchange for the sake of learning 2) members should be able to seek out solutions amongs each other.

Novell, Word Perfect and HP were the original sponsors of the NPA. Tim Burkey, Ken Kirham, David Steggell, Stuart Pastman along with Mark Jones became the founding Board of Directors. Novell provided permission for the name of ‘CNE Professional Association’ and established bylaws based on the bylaws of the Novell Users Group. Offices of the CNEPA were established in Costa Mesa, CA, and the organization was officially announced in January, 1991. The first seven chapters initiated were: Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Bill Haase of the Columbus Chapter became the first elected Chairman of the Board.

By the end of 1991, membership had reached 600 with 12 functioning chapters. Given the CNEPA’s limited resources, growth stalled and it became apparent that the fledgling organization could not sustain itself without financial assistance. Novell, seeing an opportunity to lead the growth of an industry professional association, helped the CNEPA close their offices in California in May, 1992, and relocate to Novell’s Provo location. At that time, several Novell employees took on volunteer positions to aid development of the independent organization, and six temporary employees were hired full time using Novell funds.

In June, 1992, the first CNEPA newsletter, Network News, was published, and two months later, the first Hands on Technology Labs were staged at NetWorld Dallas with the help of Novell and HP. In March, 1993, the first sponsors of the CNEPA were announced at BrainShare: Blue Lance, Brightwork, Hewlett Packard, Novell, Univel, and WordPerfect. During board elections in November, 1993, at the request of Novell Services as custodian of the organization, Novell’s board seat was officially relinquished, leaving seven member elected volunteer board members. In March, 1994, both Novell Services and Novell Education informed the board that is was time for the Association to change its name and continue on its path as an industry-based professional association. In June, 1994, with the endorsement of Novell and all other sponsoring vendors, the official name, Network Professional Association (NPA), was announced. NPA incorporated as a 503c(6) non-profit professional association in the state of Utah. Also, in 1994 the Certified Network Professional program was launched followed by the Integrate Conferences in 1996.

2002 began a change in the NPA. With the industry and market forces mandating a change for non-profit professional associations worldwide, the NPA moved to restructure, refocus its goals, and offer a better menu of benefits to its members. A new website for network computing professionals opened. The NPA launched the "Awards for Professionalism" at Networld+Interop. Professional services for members were added.

In 2003 the Network Professional Association was selected as an inaugural member Microsoft ITpro Advisory Council. Fifteen user group and association representatives were selected to be inaugural members of an initiative by Microsoft to be more active in our groups and eventually many other groups around the world. As a result, the NPA is a founding partner in GITCA (originally called Culminis), a Microsoft and IT initiative to bring education, products and opportunities to IT professionals through a channel of user groups and professional associations. GITCA, in 2009, now represents more than 800 associations and user groups and nearly 5 million members. Also in 2003 NPA members participated in the Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Launch followed by Exchange and Office.

In response to increased demands by employers and recruiters for highly qualified networking industry job candidates, the Network Professional Association (NPA) introduced an interactive job board in 2004. The NPA laid the framework for the new global membership class, Distinguished Fellows, to recognize individual outstanding contributions to the profession and/or industry over a lifetime.

In 2005, the Network Professional Association revealed the new chapter incentive program. The program is designed to increase leadership experience for members and reward accomplishments in the chapter. October 2005, NPA re-introduced the Certified Network Professional (CNP) certification. The redesigned program includes verification of education, certification, experience, employment, continued professional development, and contains an ethics component.

In 2006, NPA re-incorporated in California as a 503c(6) professional association. Future plans for the NPA include being the advocate for our professionals, growing chapters, growing our membership, rewarding professionals for their accomplishments; produce an industry worthy independent Journal, and providing the hallmark “gold standard” independent “professional credential” and designation for network computing professionals – the CNP.

In 2007, new chapters are forming and existing chapters host valued social and technical opportunities for network computing professionals. The Awards for Professionalism are planned. The first edition of the Journal is due out in February. NPA is participating in bringing Microsoft technologies to members. And a range of new events and opportunities are expected for our members. The number of CNP holders is growing. We are encouraged by our industry partners’ support of the need for an independent professional body for our industry.

2009 begins with a new focus on chapter expansion and growth. A multiple chapter leadership team has begun expanded events in the Southern California region. The Board of Directors has directed development of the CNP program with increased emphasis on professional ethics. NPA has four strong programs to support the IT professional: Certified Network Professional (CNP), Awards for Professionalism, Network Professional Jourmal (NPJ), and Chapters.

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