The Northeastern Wisconsin (N.E.W.) chapterof AITP hosted a highly successful Region 5 Conference in "Titletown, USA" (a/k/a Green Bay, Wisconsin) on Oct. 15-16, 2008. The conference was attended by 163 professional members, student members, non-member IT professionals and sponsors. This is the largest turnout for a Region Conference in many, many years. Besides being a huge success in terms of attendance, and profitability to the Region and the Chapter, this conference proved to be a huge success in terms of member involvement with over 50 members attending the Region 5 Board meeting and the two Leadership Workshops on Thursday.
The conference was held at the Radisson Hotel and Convention Center in Green Bay, which is adjacent to the Oneida Casino, the largest Las Vegas style casino in Wisconsin. This facility proved to be a real "winner" in many ways. The hotel provided us with complimentary meeting rooms, hospitality suite, Region President's suite, sponsor display tables, A/V equipment and electrical and wireless facilities on a gratis basis, along with $5 gaming coupons and various door prizes.
Combined with the generous support of 8 major sponsors and Culminis, this combination allowed the Chapter to provide a first class conference experience to attending members at the low cost of $30. This conference fee of $30 also included the sumptuous steak and chicken buffet that was served at the Wednesday night banquet. The sleeping room rate of $89 single or double also included an incredible breakfast buffet. All in all, it was a "deal" that you couldn't pass up. And I haven't even talked about the program yet!!
The conference began Wednesday afternoon with a multi-track series of 8 very high quality seminars on a variety of management and technical topics. The major sponsors that provided speakers for these seminars included ITT Technical Institute, Robert Half Technology, Contingency Planning Solutions, Soft Choice, MBM/Westwood Technologies, Paragon Development Systems, Delta Communications/Blue Coat Systems, and Locknet/Fortinet.
This was followed by a cocktail hour and banquet.
The highlights of the evening banquet were the excellent presentation by Tod Kowalczyk, Head Men's Basketball Coach of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, on the topic "Teamwork and Team Building".
In addition, Bob Heimann of the Northeastern Wisconsin chapter was awarded the AITP Lifetime Achievement Award.
After the business portion of the meeting, and the drawings for a multitude of door prizes, again provided by our generous sponsors, the group dispersed to either 1) enjoy the Hospitality Suite and discuss the future direction of AITP, or 2) engage in an intense session of "statistical probability analysis" (a/k/a gambling) in the adjacent casino. Either way, a good time was had by all.
Thursday marked another milestone for Region 5. The attendance at the Region 5 Board meeting in the morning, and the Leadership Workshops in the afternoon both set attendance records.
We were also thrilled by the attendance of a large number of student members. In fact, the 20 student members and the faculty advisor from Blackhawk Technical College also set a record for the most student members from one chapter to attend a Region 5 function.
The Thursday afternoon Leadership Workshops were led by Deborah , incoming AITP President for 2009, and Mark Lane, member of the Dallas chapter. Their topic was "Leading an All-Star Volunteer Team" and it was a very fast paced and professional presentation that generated a great deal of enthusiasm about the future of AITP.
We wrapped up the conference with one more night of the Hospitality Suite and said our "good-byes" until we will see each other again at the Spring 2009 Conference in Chicago.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge all the help, in addition to sponsors mentioned above, that we received from others.
Deborah was instrumental in the development of our conference brochure. Eric Hawkinson and the AITP HQ staff provided support in getting our multi-color brochure electronically sent to all our Region 5 members.
In addition to our major sponsors, we had media sponsors that really helped promote our conference in the Northeastern Wisconsin area. They included Insight Business Publications (Insight on Business and Insight on Manufacturing magazines), NBC 26-TV, My New 32-TV, and WTAQ 1360 radio. We also received support from the Greater Green Bay organization and the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
And, of course, we had our own "All-Star" conference committee from the NEW chapter that worked hard on planning and executing this conference since December of 2007. The committee included Steve Krueger, Mike Kuchenberg, Steve Gilsdorf, Jeff Main, Steve Femal, Rick Steeber, Chris Nimmer, Joanne Fischer, Maggie Beard, Al Bandola, Rick Piunti, John Council, and Bill Erdmann. And they did one heck of a job on planning and executing every detail of the conference.
Following the theme of Coach Kowalczyk's talk on teamwork, and Deborah 's session on leading an "All-Star" team, all I can say is one GIANT "Thank you" to all the team members who made this Region 5 Conference one that will go in the record books!!!!