Tech boss Gunn gets tattoo as fundraiser reaches goal

There were no tears, just a few jangled nerves for Dan Gunn. The chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council managed to steel himself and made good on his promise to get a tattoo of the organization’s insignia after it surpassed the goal of raising $100,000 for the Mustard Seed Food Bank.

“There was grimacing,” Gunn admitted with a laugh after the tattoo session Wednesday afternoon with artist Gerry Kramer at Tattoo Zoo. “It didn’t feel good.”

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But having raised a total of $125,220 between the Christmas food drive and another event earlier in the year, Gunn said he was more than happy to do it.

“At the end of the day, I’m proud of what VIATEC is and what our members do. So making the decision to put that insignia on my body permanently is a pretty easy call,” Gunn said. He noted his son, Max, picked the perfect spot for it on his left forearm.

VIATEC’s 13th annual Food Bank Challenge wrapped over the weekend, raising $73,584 in cash plus food donations that were being weighed this week. The organization’s February food drive brought in $51,636.

The Mustard Seed’s buying power nearly doubles the total amount raised to $245,941. Since its inception, the VIATEC Food Bank Challenge has raised just under $2 million.

This year, the Christmas food drive got a shot in the arm in its final week after a radio prank drew a lot of attention to the cause. An impostor claiming to be Gunn called into Gregor Craigie’s On the Island show on CBC on Dec. 4, and, after talking about the challenge, went on a foul-mouthed rant.

The news spread and resulted in a number of tech companies coming up with more donations for the Mustard Seed. “I knew there would be a good chance [we’d reach the goal] as our technology community really comes together when it comes to worthy causes like this,” Gunn said.

This year’s challenge featured a number of events put on by tech firms such as StarFish Medical’s chili cook off, RevenueWire’s burgers and beers and AXYS Technologies’ bocce tournament.

The winner of the challenge will be announced tonight at the VIATEC Christmas party in Centennial Square.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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