NPA Final

I flew home from Las Vegas last night after a truly charming time at the NPA Conference. There was a lot going on and a lot of people to see and parking things to do. I also got some good ideas when PIE comes around next Marcy. The NPA has graciously offered to assist at PIE next March by providing and sponsoring some speakers. Based on the quality I saw this week, they can only bring more benefits to our speaker list.

I sat in on a presentation by  Julian Jones, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Impark,on using social media.  I was happy and humbled to see that he actually used this blog as an example of what to do in social media. I must say, however, I thought Julian did one of the most complete jobs in discussing social media I have ever seen. I sat next to Tom Carter who came in a skeptic and when out with tons of new ideas and a look on his face like a deer in the headlights. We all have a lot of work to do in this arena.

There was some grumbling that the group had slipped downmarket a bit since they served box lunches on Wednesday in the exhibit hall. Hell, I thought it was great. The hot food that is usually provided at these things is mediocre at best. In this case we got our choices of sandwiches, chips, fruit, salad, and dessert.  What more do you want. Well, maybe a little adult beverage – hint hint.

Kudos to Jeff Pinyot and  the group at Eco Parking Lights.  The NPA ran a drawing to raise money for its scholarship fund. Folks bought tickets and the resulting cash was split between the winner and the fund. Eco won and promptly turned the $1600 right back over to the NPA and the scholarship fund. Now that’s what its all about.

There were a few hiccups, a misstep here and there, but on balance, this was a very good show and considering that virtually all the staff was brand new, I have no complaints. It was pulled off as well as any show I have visited recently, including our own PIE. They are certainly to be congratulated in bringing over 800 people (not including exhibitor personnel, you cynics) to their program.

I was told by one committee chair that he had been an NPA member for years and on committees for years, but for the first time he actually felt challenged to become active. That is saying a lot.

All the best to Christine Banning, Jed Hatfield, and their professional and volunteer staff.


PS – An observation — as the exhibit hall wound down on the last day, exhibitors begin dismantling their booths about a half an hour before the end of show. Unlike other experiences we all have had, there was no “exhibit police” wandering the hall threatening the vendors and demanding they stay until the last moment. Very gracious NPA. Well Done.

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