Michael Calhoun (@michaelcalhoun, mrcalhoun@cbs.com)By Michael Calhoun

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – If someone utters “hack-a-thon” and “national security challenge” in the same sentence, it might induce some worry — unless you’re talking about the GlobalHack competition.

A Washington, D.C. software firm that works with the Department of Defense and other government agencies is sponsoring the second GlobalHack, a homegrown hack-a-thon in St. Louis that attracts programmers from coast-to-coast and locks them in together for a weekend to solve a problem.

“Hack-a-thons are short-term events where people come together and they build something very rapidly,” GlobalHack C.O.O. Drew Winship explains.

In exchange for putting up a $50,000 prize, the sponsor gets to keep the winning end product.

This company, OGSystems, is scoping out St. Louis tech talent for a possible expansion.

“If you are a prize sponsor, you basically get to interview 200 people for an entire weekend, so 50 hours of interviewing,” Winship says. “You get to see people at their best and at their worst. You get to see what they actually produce when its crunch time.”

In an emailed statement, Mark Tappan, VIPER Labs Chief Engineer at OGSystems, added: “We know this event will be a fantastic way to expand our research and development presence in the thriving St. Louis hi-tech market.”

Last February, more than 200 developers came here from coast to coast — from California to Chicago — with hopes to cash-in the $50,000 prize at the first GlobalHack.

There’s only one winner, of course. But since the competition, sponsor TopOPPS has wound up hiring 11 of the participants. Two of those were programmers who’d come from California for the event and have since relocated to St. Louis.

Winship says one major goal of GlobalHack is to raise the awareness of St. Louis amongst techies across the country by giving away cash in the caffeine-fueled, 48-hour dash to crack a challenge. (The first event’s participants guzzled an entire pallet of Red Bull.)

He thinks that each GlobalHack could easily result in at least ten jobs being created.

As KMOX News first reported last year, GlobalHack hopes to hold $50,000 hack-a-thons quarterly, as well as a yearly $1 million convention. The event was the brainchild of LockerDome founder Gabe Lozano. Winship is behind St. Louis start-up Juristat.

The second GlobalHack will be at the Cortex Innovation District August 22-24.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.) 



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