Report to Region 3
Conference Committee

Charles J. Lord, P.E., Chair
29 January 2000

2000 is off to a great start in Region 3 for conferences.  Our two main regional conferences, SoutheastCon and Southcon, are making big plans for 2000, and our other regional conferences are doing well, including the NC Symposium and JamCon, both looking to great fall meetings.  Please see the individual reports for the conferences for details on these.

We have some challenges facing our region that need to be addressed in these next two years.  Declining attendance and the competition of alternative information delivery mechanisms are going to force us to look at ways we can offer the advantages of conferences in new ways.  CD-ROM publishing of procedings, on-line conferences, and distributed shows (where a trade show travels from town to town rather than counting on the attendees to travel far) are all alternatives that we will need to look at.  Conferences have served two critical purposes in our region in the past: serving the information needs of our membership, and revenue generation for our region.  Meeting both these needs in the future will take not only the efforts of the Conference Committee, but all of our hard-working volunteers.  Anyone who wants to be involved in facing these challenges is welcome to jump in and be involved!

I am grateful for the strong legacy that Jim Howard has left in this position, and especially grateful for Don Hill, SoutheastCon 99 chair, who will be serving as Conference Committee Vice-Chair.

Some short-term challenges that face us are:

Southeastcon Manual - we have been in the process of writing a conference how-to manual for those who are interested in hosting SoutheastCon.  This has been in a semi-finished state for a number of years and needs to be completed and published.  We also need to look at capturing the critical knowledge and experience of past SoutheastCon committees to pass along to future SoutheastCon committees.

Future SoutheastCon sites - we are currently soliciting hosts for SoutheastCon 2003 and beyond.   Now is the time to start planning!  I started work on SoutheastCon '95 four years out and needed all of that time.  If your section has any interest at all, have them talk to us about it!  Was it a lot of hard work? Oh yes.  Was it worth it? You betcha!!!

Sections Congress 2005 - Only three regions have not hosted a Sections Congress yet.  We are the only region in the Western Hemisphere that has not.  It is our time!  We are looking for prospective host sections.  Some key needs are a good international airport and a hotel that can hold the event (they are looking for a 500 room block).   The Conference Committee is poised to help any and all sections that are interested in bidding for SC'05 to prepare their bids and defend them to RAB.

Strategic Planning - We have also been tasked with the following R3 Strategic Plan items:

1. Develop Region 3 training program specifically for conference treasurers.
2. Review horizontal conferences in Region 3. Consider possible new areas/sites as well as CEU credits for tutorials.
3. Review vertical conferences. Provide Sections information on how to formally solicit Technical Society Conferences.
4. Examine professional management for conferences.

Come join us!!!

Charles J. Lord, P.E.