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News & Press: Region News

Region 5 Holds Super Successful Fall Conference

Thursday, November 8, 2007   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Nimmer/Larry Schmitz
The Northeastern Wisconsin Chapter hosted the most successful Region 5 Conference in recent memory on September 19-20 in Green Bay, Wisconsin at the Radisson Hotel and Convention Center.

The conference was attended by 130 IT professionals, including AITP members, non-members, Student members and sponsors.

John Council, Region 5 President,welcomes the group to Green Bay, WI

Chris Nimmer, President of host chapter,welcomes conference attendees

According to Larry Schmitz, Conference Chair, a large part of the success of the conference can be attributed to the assistance provided by the conference sponsors and the hard work of the conference committee. The Gold Sponsors for the event included Robert Half Technology, ITT Technical Institute and Adobe Systems. Silver Sponsors included Delta Communications, Inacom, Zyquest, Praxilient, and Soft Choice. The conference committee included Chris Nimmer, John Council, Mike Kuchenberg, Al Bandola, Steve Femal, Rick Steeber, Steve Gilsdorf, Matt Bingham, Jeff Main, Steve Krueger, Rick Piunti, Joanne Fischer, Bill Erdman, Rudy Brunner, and Larry Schmitz.

Highlights of the conference included 9 seminars run on three concurrent tracks on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a cocktail reception and gala banquet.

The banquet speaker was Mr. Lou Gentine, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Sargento Foods. Lou talked about Sargento's history and its commitment to its employees, customers and the community. His talk, titled "Building a Corporate Culture for a Competitive Advantage", was truly inspiring. For those not familiar with Sargento, they are a family owned company headquartered in Plymouth, Wisconsin, and are a major player in the cheese products industry. Last year, 100 of their production employees won over $200 million dollars in the lottery-yet most of them are still working at Sargento. Lou gave the audience some insights into how the company's corporate culture, and how they treat their employees, may have contributed to the high retention rate of these "instant millionaires".

Lou Gentine explains how his company has used their corporate
culture to gain a competitive advantage

The conference banquet was attended by members of 9 Region 5 chapters, student chapters, sponsors, "bosses" and non-members

John Council, Region 5 President, presented the Northeastern Wisconsin Chapter with the Region Outstanding Chapter Award for 2006. Chapter President, Chris Nimmer also presented a number of IPA awards to its members and presented Rudy Brunner with the Chapter Outstanding Member Award for 2006.

Thursday's program consisted of the Region 5 Board Meeting in the morning and two Leadership Workshop sessions in the afternoon.

John Council presides over Region 5 Board meeting

Tony LaCrosse and Mike Welch explain the awards process

Larry Schmitz and Mark Gilfand led the "brainstorming" session called "Let's DO IT!" on improving student chapter support

The first of the Leadership Workshop sessions was a review of the existing AITP Awards Programs and discussion about how to apply, instructions for completing the paperwork, chapter frustrations with the process and red tape, etc. This session was led by Tony LaCrosse and Mike Welch, members of the national AITP Awards Committee. The information provided by Tony and Mike helped "demystify" the process of submitting applications and the inherent record keeping involved at the chapter level.

The second session, titled "Let's DO IT!!" focused on a group discussion of what the professional chapters, the region and the association can do to provide MEANINGFUL support to our AITP Student chapters, advisors and members. The end product of this session was a draft document that recorded the ideas, suggestions, and concerns of the group as it relates to doing a much better job of REALLY supporting our Student Chapters, their faculty advisors, and their individual student members. The consensus was that it is time for AITP to stop giving lip service to programs such as the Interim Member program, active involvement of the professional chapter in the activities of the student chapters and support of faculty advisors and student members. The draft document was shared with all Region 5 chapters and forwarded to the new national Student Leadership Council. It will also be the working plan of action for the newly formed Region 5 Student Chapter Support Committee. For more information on this effort and/or a copy of the document, contact Larry Schmitz at

The conference also had its "social side" with a Region Hospitality Suite on both nights as well as the opportunity for participants to try their hand at "games of chance" in the Oneida Casino that adjoins the Radisson Convention Center. The casino provided all participants with free gaming coupons as well as participated in the huge door prize drawings that were part of the banquet. Conference sponsors, and the Radisson Hotel, were also VERY generous in their contributions to the door prize drawings.

Bottom line is that this conference will be remembered by all participants for the educational and networking opportunities it provided.

AITP Region 5 Wishes to thank these GOLD Sponsors. Without their support, events such as this would not be possible.


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