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Atlantic Web Fitters
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We're now offering a chat support platform that can easily be added to your website...

Upon activation of your live chat 30 day FREE TRIAL, you are given a short line of code to paste into your website pages. Once the code is inserted, you are ready to chat live with visitors. If you are too busy to chat, turn on the Message Center and let it take messages for you.

Canadian built, Canadian supported... ack!

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Well, Peter Donker has inspired me to write... again, so I thought I would pen a chronology of some of my ack (ah-HA!) moments and perhaps inspire some of you, dear readers to do the same.

My dad bought me a TRS-80 from Radio Shack in 1980 when I was eleven. ACK!  I started coding in Basic... games first, then scripts that allowed my father to keep a record of his lobster catches (I saved them on cassette tape).

But I started out building websites in 1996. My first site was for a new start-up ( in Oxford, where I finished my first masters degree at Regent's Park College.  My studies were biblical in nature, technology only a hobby.  While studying, I made a point of visiting the haunts of the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, among them The Randolph Hotel, The Eagle and Child, but it was at the Po Na Na Souk Bar where I met Nick Hawker, an Oxford graduate and began my foray into Tiger Economies. Hawker was adamant in how he was going to run, finance and grow his new company. And those same principles were applied when I started my own firm a decade later.

It was quite by chance that I started a tech firm.  After completing my first masters in religious education in '96, my don, Dr. Budd Smith (who mentored under Leroy Ford), suggested I spend ten years doing front lines work, so I embarked on a career documenting the behaviors of people suffering from schizophrenia. I enjoyed helping folks, especially folks who were certainly less fortunate and that included fellow staff and my supervisors. I took it upon myself to introduce technology in the work place, building spreadsheets that merged with Word documents and automating many of the very many repetitive tasks involved with the job.  I even designed the first Murphy desk for the office, a desk that folded up into the wall and could be locked. I kept up with my religious studies and continued building websites for friends and family.  All the websites were originally done in HTML, but I advanced and soon began using editors until finally settling on Netscape Composer. Word began to spread and so I took on more volunteer work... focused mainly on showcasing the work of Nova Scotia artists, folks who specifically created original fine art. Soon, with over a million dollars in fine art, the artists started asking for more and more changes on their sites... so I developed a system (I was not aware of Content Management Systems at the time) that involved building two versions of each site.  One version was for the public to view, the other version was accessible via an administrative login. My clients could easily login, and go to sections of the site they wanted to change, click "edit text" and the hyperlink would open up an email addressed to me, with the URL as the subject heading. All they needed to do was put the new text into the body of the email.  I would receive the email and copy and paste the text into Composer, and then upload the new HTML file via FTP. I thought I was pretty clever! ACK!

My next ACK! moment was developing a 3.5" floppy disk with a photo of a Bed and Breakfast and a URL.  I would copy HTML files to the diskette so B&B proprietors could hand out the disks to their guests (back then it was very rare to throw away a floppy diskette), so this was really my first attempt at monetizing services.  I phoned up all the B&Bs in Nova Scotia and asked them if they would be interested in purchasing a number of diskettes.  One of those phone calls led to a meeting with a couple of Brits (June and Mark Spindloe), owners of Mumford Bed and Breakfast.  Super friendly and inviting I thought I might have my first sale :)  When I arrived, I was offered coffee and scones, and we sat down and talked about technology for a bit.  Then this little guy came downstairs, a little disheveled and yawning, asked what we were talking about, poured himself a cup of coffee and joined us.  I told him about my years developing HTML sites, using Composer and how I had developed a "system" for easier editing.  He laughed and laughed and said that he himself was a web developer, had trained in England and had also developed a Microsoft Access database system for managing storefronts.  I asked him to show me his system and my brain went, ACK!  Rob Place was his name, and I was blown away by his design work and database achievements and so right then and there I asked him if he would allow me to contact some local firms, offering them the opportunity update their own inventory websites.  He agreed and during the next few month I made sale after sale until he he couldn't keep up with the work.  My next ACK! moment would be right around the next corner.  I started phoning up every website design company in Nova Scotia, looking specifically for a CMS.  Many said that they could indeed build one, but that they would not be willing to give me the code, or if they were willing to give up the code, the costs would be outrageous.  I continued to seek, until I came across a website that looked horrible to the eye, but I noticed a few unusual items on the home page.  "Register" and "Login" tokens, "Privacy" and "Terms" tokens... I picked up the phone and talked to a guy named Sam MacDonald. ACK!  He sent me a text document, outlining the pane layouts and token placements for DotNetNuke, and said that the database was Microsoft SQL.  We went back and forth a few times until I became convinced that DNN could serve us very well.  I talked to June and Rob about the possibilities and they both suggested that I get formal about offering web services.  "Start a company! We'll help you pick a name!!"

I was just starting my doctorate... I had just bought a house, a fixer-upper, and I was a full time mental health counselor.

Could I really start a company? 

Part 2 :)
Gifford is the architect behind bringing the principals of Atlantic Web Fitters together and brings a highly informed background in business flow technology, web services and human relations.
Gifford’s strengths include his personal communication skills and capacity to evaluate business processes in order to educate potential clients on the value of DotNetNuke web services to their businesses.
Gifford is a DotNetNuke MVP and speaks at Day of DotNetNuke events, spoke at the first DoDNN event in the United States; founded the Nova Scotia DotNetNuke User Group and hosted the first DoDNN event in Canada.
Speaking engagements:
April 2007 Halifax, Nova Scotia - CIPS Annual Dinner 
June 2009 Tampa, Florida - 1st Day of DotNetNuke 
March 2011 Orlando, Florida - Day of DotNetNuke/Orlando Code Camp 
June 2011 Halifax, Nova Scotia - 1st Canadian Day of DotNetNuke 
November, 2011, Walt Disney World - DotNetNuke World 
January, 2012, Podcamp Halifax, Nova Scotia 
April, 2012, SDN Amsterdam, Zeist, The Netherlands 
June 2012, Charlotte, North Carolina, Day of DotNetNuke 
April 2013, Charlotte, North Carolina, Day of DotNetNuke 

Testimonials via LinkedIn 

“Gifford is one of the most unusual people I've met in technology -- in a good way. Here is a guy who grew up a Nova Scotia lobsterman (he's shared lobster recipes with me) and was educated as a minister...and without shedding either of those identities built a serious tech company about as far geographically from Silicon Valley as you can get. He's won the attention of Microsoft and the U.S. Military. And he's always been willing to share his expertise with me. All in all, Giff is a great story.” June 10, 2011 ~Kevin Maney, Columnist, Tech Columnist, Tech Writer, Cover Stories Editor, USA TODAY 

“Gifford is a tireless supporter of DotNetNuke in Canada. He has many clients that are extremely happy with their sites created with DotNetNuke. Gifford has worked hard evangelizing DotNetNuke in his area and started a user group to support others who use the product. Gifford gave up his time to come to Tampa in June of 2009 to speak at the Day of DNN. He is a likeable person and will bend over backwards to support your needs.” November 19, 2009 ~Brian Scarbeau, Founder, Orlando DotNetNuke User Group 

“As founder of the DotNetNuke User Support Group in Halifax Gifford Watkins is furthering what I would describe as the single most democratic movement in the business world since the advent of the computer! Understanding how to manipulate today's advances in technology and delivering a superior product at a fraction of the cost is what Gifford is doing. It is a new day in web based communications. The smallest of companies can now put together a fully functional Content Management System. Thanks Gifford for helping me do just that. Jim Davis” March 23, 2009 ~Jim Davis hired Gifford more than once 

“Gifford's passion for helping your business exceed, and his genuine interest in you and your business is second to none. I've witnessed it first hand while working with him on various projects, and would not hesitate to work with him again.” February 26, 2009 ~Nick Phillips, Owner, Consulting 

“Gifford is a clear-thinking, deep-planning, involved individual with whom you will be able to easily communicate. His Dot Net Nuke-based hosting solution is simple and powerful. Look at the results !!” February 23, 2009 ~Richard Burr, Network Technician / Analyst, VMC Consulting 

“Gifford is truly passionate about DotNetNuke. He has supported and promoted the product for years. Few people have the work ethic and dedication to helping clients take control of their information like Gifford. I will continue to work with Gifford and am confident his capabilities will continue to add value to my company. Peter Hickey” February 22, 2009 ~Peter Hickey hired Gifford as a IT Consultant in 2006, and hired Gifford more than once 

“Gifford has had the foresight and strict committment to the DotNetNuke World and has created a vibrant company that is not only a service but also a forum for small to medium sized businesses giving them care and control of their own web presence. This is clearly evident in the breadth of Gifford portfolio of clients. For those who get what is offered, it is usually a monetary and time savings and a true open environment giving the ability to shape and use graphics and design possibilities once reserved for the webmaster only.” February 22, 2009 ~Greg Brown, Consultant, ONE Management Consulting 

“Gifford knows DNN functionality like the back of his hand. If you are looking for DNN expertise, hosting and the migration and customization services that go along with it, Gifford's company, Atlantic Web Fitters, is a great place to go. Just let Giff find out about your business, and help you understand where DNN functionality can help you, and you're good to go!” February 22, 2009 ~Mike Frenette hired Gifford as a Web Portal Provider in 2007

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Hi Everyone... Atlantic Webfitters is pleased to announce our new server cabinet product line.

Meet the #Cumulus (pictured below)  #42U #Portable #DataCenter ...  Pre-order portable Class A1, with  Digitus Bio Stat-X NEMA Type4 or 12. Nimbus is 21U (44″H x 26.75″W x 38.5″D) Cumulus is 42U (81.5″H).  Folks can call us in Canada (902) 800-2321 #Nimbus #Cumulus #colo #A1  

For for more information, 

Thank you :)

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We like our logo :) Thanks +Tracy Wittenkeller 

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VIDEO: The Unveiling of DotNetNuke 7.0 - DNN7 represents another giant leap forward for the most deployed CMS platform on the Microsoft stack. With a strong commitment to ease of use for business users, DNN7 delivers a simplified web installer, a modern new administrative control panel, intuitive and unobtrusive controls for managing content, eye-catching business website templates, and significant efficiency increases via drag-and-drop functionality.

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DotNetNuke earns more accolades... because it's freakin' awesome. We've been consulting, hosting and supporting DNN early adopters for 8+ years. ack!

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Ready for another DNN webinar with Will Strohl? Wednesday, January 30 (12:00-1:00 pm EST)

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DotNetNuke is 10 years old.  Father Shawn Walker describes the birth of this Open Source project. Twas born in Canada, eh?
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