Can’t forget Christine and Megan who held down the office while we were all gone. Special thanks to Will Decker and Russell Spriggs for helping so much.
Staff had much to overcome including many problems that could not be predicted (some major one’s were totally my fault) but mainly the hotel, which sold to a new owner before we arrived. The new extortionist management was horrible. I won’t get into all of it but I will give you one example so you can understand what we were up against: Prior to arriving, I checked several times to make sure the exhibitor hall had wireless. The hotel assured me it was already there and waiting. Well when I got there they said that the wireless is always on and ready, but that I would have to pay $100 for the password. I tried to argue with them but some of our exhibitors needed it so I gave them my credit card to bill me the $100. Then the hotel tells me “No, not $100 but $100 per exhibitor.” What could I do. So I paid. The next day the hotel comes up to me again asking for more money to access the wireless. Mind you now, the whole hotel has wireless, they are just demanding I pay to access it. I told them I already paid $100 per exhibitor. They said “no, not $100, not $100 per exhibitor, but $100 per exhibitor per day, each day, paid in advance.” This would have been a $50,000.00 payment had every booth wanted it… a charge the hotel conveniently forgot to mention in their contract with us.
That is just an example of what kind of hotel I was dealing with. :twisted: I won’t go into the rest as this one example (above) says it all.
Being a perfectionist in an imperfect world I figure I better just focus on the main issues we needed to succeed at. Those were as follows:
Education for our attendees: It was very good. It was almost too good with sometimes 110 inspectors violating the Fire Marshall’s rules by crowding into 80 person max classrooms. All exit poles said that every course was great. My thanks to our educators and speakers. Most complained about too much to choose from. HOMERUN#1.
Exhibitor traffic: Our opening act (the coattail NAHI convention down the street the 3 days preceding NACHI’s convention) was a total bust. NAHI had only 80 attendees. Some of the exhibitors I met Saturday before our NACHI Convention were threatening to hang me if NACHI had only had 80 attendees like NAHI’s. Well, on top of the hundreds of registered attendees, we had an additional 600+ 1-day pass walk-ins. PRO-LAB alone took $21,400.00 in orders the first day! That is more in one day than the other two association’s recent conventions total take for all days combined. 4 exhibitors had their best convention in terms of interest and sales ever. 1 said he doubled his business with our one convention. Steve Luxon said it was his best attendance and sign-up in the history of CMC Energy and that he ran out of material. We also sold 250+ more room nights than we had to to meet our room minimum on a Super Bowl weekend. And despite our NACHI convention being stretched out for 5 days, the exhibitor hall being open too many hours, and the classes being held on 2 different floors of the hotel, we generated awesome foot traffic and interest for our exhibitors. It was a very big convention. HOMERUN#2.
The Super Bowl party: I have to give credit where credit is due. The hotel managed to pull this one off. Horderves, a huge screen to watch the game, good sound system, very nice dinner, plenty of food. We had a Texas Hold-em tournament just prior (Greg Bell won) and a free raffle of many, many door prizes at half time. 600 attended the Super Bowl party. And best of all, the Steelers won! HOMERUN#3.
With my 3 major issues a success and Krystal back at work, though computerless and not eating solid food (see next paragraph below), I relaxed a bit, only to start counting up all the little things that went wrong, and there were many. So be it.
My worst moment: Krystal is the only staffer other than Aimee who has any experience with helping run a convention. It was a first event for every other staffer. Anyway, Krystal’s laptop screen dies just before the convention, she brings it with her anyway with a dark screen hoping we can plug into another screen and get her docs and notes for the convention. Krystal is my detail assistant and handles all the bazillion little issues. She and I arrive at the hotel at 2 am on Thursday night. By 4 am she is puking in the toilet sick with stomach flu, then passes out for 30 hours. I figure I’m dead figuratively and she is dying literally.
My most freaked out moment: Two exhibitors arrive unannounced with a tractor trailer full of their stuff saying that they decided at the last minute to attend. They thought that we had a big hall and only a few exhibitors I guess. We were packed tight already but kept squeezing everyone till we got them in.
My scariest moment: Talking with Carl Fowler from 3D about how upset he is with a certain other convention :shock: .
My second scariest moment: Talking with Carl Fowler about anything :shock: .
My most proud moment: When I realized we were honored by members of nearly every other inspection association including several ASHI and CREIA Chapter presidents, all the guys from FAPHI, all the guys from ISHI, AARST, NEHA, AHIT, Envrionmental Education Foundation, NORMI, Small Business Administration (who by the way hired dozens of our NACHI members on site), HUD, Florida Department of Health, and even FABI’s Administrator.
My best moment: When I used to run a home inspection company 10 years ago (seems like 100 years ago) I hired a fella, Ron Eckenroth, who later became a competitor, a good friend, and a NACHI member. He even worked for me while a competitor. He stuck with NACHI right through all the PHIC scam stuff in Reading and recently did a home inspection for Chris Morrell’s (NACHI’s webmaster) grandfather. Anyway, I’m doing a class on marketing at the convention and guess who is sitting in the front row? Yep, my old employee, competitor, and NACHI loyalist.
My funniest moment: I put on one of HomeGauge’s crazy shirts. HomeGauge is a software company and a competitor of Lorne Steiner’s. I then snuck up behind Lorne and asked him to pose for a pic with me. I kept my arm around his shoulder and directed his attention toward Russell Spriggs who could hardly keep the camera from bouncing while he held back his giggles. Lorne never saw my shirt till it was too late. We got a pic of Lorne and I in front of the PVS banner while I’m wearing a HomeGauge shirt. Lorne turns to me and asks for a copy of the pic then looks down and sees my shirt. You had to be there but it was funny.
See you all at the next one.