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   DataBus - Vol 41 No. 1: December, 2000-January, 2001
President's Corner

The Best Conference Ever

As each CEDPA conference unfolds, the attendees are not reluctant to give feedback to the Board of Directors about those elements that were good and those that needed improvement. This past conference was different. Many attendees complimented CEDPA and added, "This was the best conference ever." It takes little reflection to understand what made the conference such a success. I am very proud to work with the CEDPA Board of Directors as they plan for an entire year to make the conference a reality. Success is directly proportional to the work performed by the dedicated individuals who each had responsibility for a segment of the conference. Each director must take the necessary time to make the many contacts needed to assure success. This time is in addition to the workload that each of them has at their place of employment and this year despite personal tragedy for more than one Director, they still managed to get the job done. I want to personally thank each one of them for preparing and managing "the best conference ever."
Russ Brawn had the toughest job, that of vendor chairperson. He had to contact each vendor and arrange booth space, handle vendor requirements for electricity and data, hire security, request vendor support for drawings and events. He did yeoman work and produced a show that will be hard to match. Scott Sexsmith designed and operated the NOC. He arranged a T1 connection -- not easy in Santa Barbara -- and produced a quality list of technical speakers. Greg Lindner outpaced all previous speaker chairpersons and created five strands for attendees. I can't count the number of times that attendees complimented him on his effort. The other Directors each met countless times with hotel staff, stuffed packets and bags, arranged registration, set golf tournaments, kept the books, managed meals, reserved room blocks, and generally made a concerted effort to make the conference event one that no one will forget.
The Fess Parker Hotel in particular and the City of Santa Barbara hosted CEDPA's 40th Anniversary Conference and we appreciate their contribution. We couldn't have asked for a better setting. We will return and will hopefully once again produce "the best conference ever."
As we reflect upon Santa Barbara, we are already looking forward to Monterey next year. We have acquired additional space to accommodate an expanded vendor show. Oswaldo Galarza will be coordinating that event. If you know of vendors that were conspicuously absent and could benefit our members, please forward their names to him. Mike Caskey will be developing the speaker strands. We especially want to address your needs in this area. My intent this year is to publish a theme as soon as possible and begin contacting folks who can provide you with relevant information for your operations. Please contact Mike with your requests. Terrell Tucker will manage the NOC. We have already discussed ideas to make the NOC a showcase of best practices and technology. I think you will see some significant improvements in next year's version.
I have a few personal goals for this year. Number one is to implement a membership strategy that makes sense for our attendees and for the organization. I will rely heavily on the creativity of Greg Lindner to lead this redesign process. You indicated in a survey that membership was an issue that needed attention. I think we can all benefit from a policy that encourages participation in the organization. Next on the list is the need to share information more intelligently. The listservs generate a lot of traffic which is good for free flowing discussion but they are unorganized which doesn't work well for other kinds of data. I will work hard to organize our web pages so that we can assist you in your jobs. I will work with Addison Ching, Databus Editor, to get job postings and position descriptions on our Web site. I hope to also include information about those systems and best practices that can help us manage our operations. Finally, I want to work with CSEA and other employment organizations to make the legislature aware of the dire need to fund support positions for our organizations. With the breadth of technology implementation across the State, the systems that we implement will naturally decline without technical intervention and support. It takes dedicated and hard working individuals to keep the infrastructures, the desktops, systems, and delivery models current and operational. It would seem prudent for the State to protect its investment by funding support positions.
I think these goals are achievable and I will report every other month to you on the progress we make toward them. I encourage each of you to let me know if there is something the organization can do to assist you. Take care.