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Our History

The Quality Assurance Institute (QAI) established by William Perry encouraged local chapters to form across the country. Nancy Kastl, then AVP at Harris Bank and member of the QAI Board of Advisor and Certification Board, spearheaded the creation of a Chicago chapter in 1984. 

During the summer, Nancy and three other QA Managers met for lunch in downtown Chicago to share information about their QA activities and discuss common challenges. They all agreed that bringing together QA professionals would contribute to the growth of the QA profession.  The first official CQAA meeting was held September 1984 at Harris Bank.  Approximately 15 people attended a facilitated discussion of best practices. In November 1984 the Chicago Chapter was declared official. CQAA became the second chapter to form, with Los Angeles being the first.

In the early years, without the convenience of the Internet and social media of today, CQAA grew through word-of-mouth from QA practitioner to practitioner. Monthly meetings were held at company locations in downtown Chicago and suburbs with guest speakers giving presentations on topic of interest. 

The Board of Directors was established and in September 1997 and CQAA was incorporated. Elections were held yearly for board positions and annual membership dues were collected.  In May 2002, CQAA switched to a self-perpetual board and with no membership dues.  CQAA then grew from hundreds to thousands of members.

Throughout the years, CQAA has provided various education and networking events.  This included an Executive Management Program (1990-1993), Dinner Events (2009-2011), Lake Michigan lunch cruises, CSQA and CSTE Certification Prep Classes, one-day Symposiums and Vendor Showcases (1998, 2001, 2204, 2006, 2007), and a 30-year anniversary celebration in 2014. CQAA was delighted to be the hosting city for the Quality Engineered Software and Testing Conference (QUEST) in Chicago for seven years (between 2008-2019). 

CQAA owes its long history and success to the many individuals who have been members of the Board of Directors, volunteers, speakers, hosting companies, sponsors, and CQAA members. Many thanks to everyone who have made CQAA a valuable source of information and connections.

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