Here at NTCA, we produce a lot of meetings. Trust me, we feel the pressure of returning from a great meeting only to gather in our board room to immediately debrief and compare notes on possible topics and structures for future meetings on the calendar; and I know members have commented on the number of meetings and we have really made some terrific strides in being more strategic and mindful about changes in these meeting structures. That is why I am so proud that we were able to really bite the bullet and eliminate regional meetings from our calendar next year and replace them with, what I personally think, will be a more strategic use of time for folks with our Summer Leadership Symposiums instead.
However, I am always struck by how many more members or RLECs could be sending their staff to our specialty meetings that really provide unique and one-of-a kind training for the staffs of our members companies – PR/Marketing, Finance and Accounting, HR/OSHA to name a few. And then there is our IP Vision meeting. The crown jewel for much of the RLEC business model with tracks for voice, video and data that include the strategies in all key areas of management, technical and marketing – from an unbiased, non-vendor perspective. Throw in a large number of exhibitors showing off the latest and greatest, peer interfacing and the ability to earn credits towards an NTCA certificate and I’m always sure that we’ll be busting the walls down at this conference. Don’t get me wrong – attendance is robust – but I am simply waiting for the day when every NTCA member will recognize the value and importance of keeping their technical teams educated and up to speed and that networking is as critical to that level of employee as it is to those higher up in management. I still get some of my best ideas through networking and would be frustrated to be in a place where growing and learning and comparing notes and best practices isn’t encouraged. We just came back from our executive forum where a key focus on discussion was on recruiting and keeping technical staff. Offering the opportunity to attend IP Vision is just what those staff members are hungry for and I think an easy box to check in terms of continuing education. The biggest testament to the value of this meeting? I’m seeing more and more electric utilities getting into broadband and cable folks attending our meeting so I know that we’re hitting the right market here!
Moving from digital to datafication, the intersection of business and technology, the realities of linear video, modernizing the rural network, managing managed WiFi and the always popular focus on new revenue streams will all be teed up later in April in lovely New Orleans (and for those who have not been back to the Big Easy since Katrina, it is rebuilt and better than ever!) later this month.
Hope to see folks there!