Some vendors are playing on both sides of the political divide. IBM contributed 350 desktops and several dozen laptops for the Republican delegates, along with printers and several servers. It donated a similar package to last month's Democratic convention.
"This is the first time we've been involved in the conventions," said spokesman Clint Roswell. "We see it as an extension of the community-minded stuff we do already. It came about because we have a strong presence in both cities." After the convention, IBM plans to recycle the equipment, which Roswell valued at $2 million per convention, by donating it to local schools and nonprofit organizations.
The Republican host committee did not return several calls seeking comment on the convention's IT infrastructure and vendor selection.
Computer Horizons is aiming for 24/7 uptime throughout the convention, and so far, floor staffers say operations are proceeding smoothly. "If we do our job right, if everything goes off without a hitch, then nobody will know we're here," Shatzkes said.
His team will be there for quite a while after the convention finishes its four-day run. The IT project that began more than a year ago will continue through September, as contractors work to dismantle the infrastructure and ready Madison Square Garden for the return of its regular occupants. The New York Liberty women's basketball team will be playing its games at Radio City Music Hall until mid-September, as it waits for the temporary podiums, banners and multimillion dollar technology systems to vacate its home venue.
"We were the first ones in," Shatzkes said, "and we'll be the last out."