I had the amazing opportunity to attend the CFTA conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Sitting in the Dane County Regional Airport, waiting for my flight home to San Ramon, CA, I reflected on the week of activities: a tour of Epic, Inc., a local band at an outdoor bar and grill with delicious food, dancing, and great conversations. The venue was top notch; hosted by the University ofWisconsin Madison, the Edgewater Hotel provided a relaxing atmosphere. The views of Lake Mendota were awe-inspiring, The restaurants – The Statehouse and The Boathouse – and the in-room dining, provided satisfying cuisine. The rooms were spacious, comfortable, and elegant. But what really made this conference one of the best I’ve ever attended was that the sessions were about real-life experiences concerning successes and challenges. This was a refreshing and welcoming approach for the conference. Here are the five main reasons as to why this conference should not have been missed.
1. Communication, goals, and accountability.
2. Non-sales Vendor involvement.
of the attendees were vendors, including myself, but I never heard a sales pitch. We each presented solutions and observations, then shared experiences. Software solutions were mentioned in context to problems that were presented, but everything was collaborative instead of competitive. Each vendor was given a time to give a 6-minute Spark Talk. We presented our solutions concisely, some with humor, others with facts, and some with an overview of their offering. Overall, the collaborative environment ensured that everyone felt included and had the opportunity to learn and contribute.
universities executing CAD drawing and GIS applications with little resources and sometimes minimal support. These commonalities created an instant bond because we understood and had empathy for each other. Because of this bond, our conversations were not forced or insincere. They flowed easily. We discussed BIM, GIS, CAD, KPI’s, etc. We talked sports, families, shared laughter, and shared successes and challenges. Conscious time was set aside for these conversations. I personally had many that stood out, but would like to highlight two in particular: 1) I had the opportunity to receive advice on
how to resurrect a neglected piece of technology that had been
disregarded. It is slated to be replaced even though it is still a viable
solution. 2) I also was able to have a great conversation about BIM: how it is connected to the IWMS industry, its strengths, and its weaknesses.
4. Sharing Freely.
5. Meetings that Broke the Mold.
organization as they continue to provide disruptive innovation. The challenge of disruptive innovation was given to all Universities in attendance. As a vendor I was inspired to pick up that challenge. How I will accomplish that is worthy of another article. So, for now, I’ll see you, my new friends, next year at The Ohio State.