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Southwest Fox: Day -1

Wednesday (Day -1) is prep day. I woke early at 5:00am (8:00am Eastern) and it was like Christmas morning. I went out into the family room of our suite and started opening some of the boxes. I couldn’t help myself since there were a few things I did not see before shipping. One was the Techsmith boxes. Once again Techsmith really came through for use with Camtasia and SnagIt as give-aways and tons of pens and marketing materials. The other thing I was looking for was the VFPX Administrators Award we had made up (more on that later).

Bright and early was the delivery of the AV equipment for Rick Strahl’s training session. I worked with the conference people and the AV-dude to ensure the equipment was set up in time for Rick’s sessions.

Off to breakfast with the organizers followed by our “pre-con” with the facility staff. The people at the Arizona Golf Resort and Conference Center are top notch. Special thanks to Sharon, Liz, Mark, Bennie, and Nancy for making this a pleasure. We found out last year how well these people work together and worked with us to ensure comfort for those attending the conference. Nothing goes perfect, but these folks work hard to get as close to perfect as possible.

After our “pre-con” meeting we had the warehouse in our room moved to the assembly area in the board room. We assembled the binders by inserting all the materials printed for us by Smooth-On this year. Next up were the badges. The schedules you got in your badge had to be cut and folded. Once they were done we laid out all the materials around the table we want in the conference bag. This is when we noticed we were missing the CDs from DBI. I made a call to Rod Miller who gave me the tracking number to find out where they were. Unfortunately they were delivered, but no one was available to take delivery. That meant they had to be delivered on Thursday. Minor crisis, adrenaline rush, but not a disaster. We had established the backup plan early by delivering the goods to everyone via an FTP site earlier in the week. Frank Perez arrived in town and made an emergency run to his dad’s place to see what other goodies were delivered at the last minute and tried to track down the CDs in case we could get them before Thursday.

Marshal (Tamar’s husband) and Therese (my wife) made a couple of trips to the airport to pick up speakers. Therese also picked up the remaining shirts from our vendor.

Over in the main building the rooms were getting fitted for the screens. We upgraded the screens to the 12 foot kind purposely because they look better and are more functional than the 10 foot ones. I kind of think of it as getting the 24 inch LCD instead of the 19 inch. Both are functional, but the bigger one is way better than the standard size. The rest of the AV equipment is delivered in the afternoon. I take the opportunity to make sure it all works. We had to make a couple of minor tweaks to the room setup to fit in the projectors for optimal viewing.

During the afternoon I processed a last minute registration and provided details needed by another person to get their registration authorized and a check cut.

Back to the assembly room where things were not slowing down I found the crew going in circles. This is a good thing! All the materials are laid out around the table. Each person goes in circles to pick up the materials and place them in the conference bag. Putting together 160 bags went quite fast.

Special thanks to Rob and Chris who work at Stonefield, Therese, Marshal, and Cathy Pountney who helped the three organizers get everything put together. Once assembled we moved it over to Fairway 1 (the staging area) in preparation for the registration opening Thursday morning.

Last thing was the battle to get the wireless working with the conference Internet connection. Frank and I battled the hardware until it finally worked. Fortunately Frank likes hardware (unlike his boss who hates it) and was persistent until we got it working (more on this later too for those who claim it never worked).

We decided to head out to dinner at Chili’s so Tamar and Marshal could see their Phillies win the National League Championship. Go Phillies!


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