California Educational Data Processing Association
The DataBus - Vol. 36, No. 1
December, 1995-January, 1996

San Jose Conference a Huge Success

Analysis: Positive indications point to a conference enjoyed by all attending.

Ken Jones, Lodi Unified School District

For those of us who have been attending and/or managing the CEDPA conference for many years, there are a few strong indicators of success. All those indicators were present by the time we finished the conference on Friday afternoon. We may have been tired, but we were very happy to have put on such a successful event.

First and foremost, we asked ourselves if the content of the conference met the attendees' needs. The indicator we use to gauge this is the participation in the breakout sessions and the vendor exhibit show.

Almost all of the breakout sessions were well attended, with standing room only being the common theme. The vendor show which sometimes experiences a dropoff in attendance late in the afternoon was still hopping when we shut it down. Many of the vendors that I spoke with had not stopped talking to attendees for the entire six hours. They all indicated that this was one of the best conferences for making contacts that they had participated in and expressed an interest in coming back to CEDPA next year.

Another indicator is the number of attendees who are interested in the Friday morning portion of the conference. In the past, Friday's participation was less than on other days. This year only a few people were missing on the last day, and we even had enough interest that an ad-hoc roundtable was created at the last minute. (The roundtable was about Windows NT networking-ed.) The Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings which are usually minimally attended (I personally believe people use this time to rest up for the hospitality suites) were well attended and we spent several hours on issues that are affecting us all.

The final indicators regarding the quality of the conference site are the comments on the food. I think that the last job that I would want is that of food services. It's a tough job feeding all those people in such a short period of time while trying to make everyone happy. We received only one negative comment on the food at the Fairmont, but we heard lots of positive comments. The facility was really terrific overall, but the food!!!

The Board has started the planning for the 1996 conference. This coming year we will be visiting a Palm Springs location for the very first time. After several visits to this resort in the desert, we became convinced that we should give it a try. The Marquis is another great hotel right in the middle of downtown Palm Springs so there should be plenty to keep us busy both during and after the conference. They tell us that October is about the best month for that location.

As stated in another part of this publication, we have become a virtual Board in many ways. As you may or may not know, board members serve on a voluntary basis and sometimes are not able to attend monthly board meetings. However, the Board spends considerable time discussing what the attendees would like to hear and see at the conference., and much of that discussion takes place in cyberspace. You, too, can participate in this process. Please feel free to send us e-mail at the addresses listed on page 2. We welcome your suggestions for conference speakers, vendors you do business with who might like to attend or exhibit, ideas on future conference locations, ideas for our web site, or any other feedback that you would like to give. Your voice will be heard and responded to.

Thanks again to the 1995 conference planning committee. It is a big but very rewarding job. "Welcome" to the new members of the Board and welcome to those attendees who came to their first conference and will now be receiving this fine publication. Have a good year!

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