15 May UTC Telecom and Technology Part 1
As I write this I am at Dulles airport about to board a plane to Cape Town, SA, via Amsterdam. My flight was supposed to leave at this time yesterday, but airlines being what they are these days, my trip got screwed up and I had to leave today instead. The plus is that I got to spend the entire Mothers’ Day with my girls and husband, and the minus is that I will miss a few things at the start of African Utility Week where Africa UTC is hosting an ICT track in partnership with AUW. Though I’m sorry to have missed part of the conference, I have to admit that I think the plus outweighed the minus in this situation.
Given the intensity of last week and my recent travel schedule, I am tired(!!)–probably shouldn’t admit that either although it would be impossible to miss if you saw me. So, this blog will be the first in a two-part series about the conference in Charlotte last week. I promise a riveting, swashbuckling Part Deux once I recover from this trip to South Africa.
For Part One, I am going to list the highlights, as I saw them, at least:
- Well-attended committee meetings and high levels of engagement on Monday.
- $21,500 raised from the golf tournament on Tuesday for the new UTC Foundation (UTCF).
- Launch events like the UTCF reception and partnership with UNC Charlotte’s EPIC Center beyond my expectations.
- Students coming over from EPIC and engaging with UTC.
- The amazing NASCAR feel of the conference — special shout-out to the NASCAR-flagged carpet for the awards dinner.
- Really well-attended general sessions and breakout sessions (from what I am told and for the few I was able to sneak in or listen to).
- Excellent content for the summits on Tuesday afternoon — now we need more attendees, especially for the policy summit which included folks from the FCC and other government agencies.
- A new format for the second general session combining the membership meeting with a congressional speaker. Note that we will invite Members of Congress from wherever we are having the conference and hope that we will continue to be able to work with their schedules to make it happen. I’m sure we’ll hear different policy and political perspectives as we move around the country.
- Another change of format, flipping the gala night with the awards night. We did that because of the availability of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, but it seemed to work out really well in terms of attendance at both events.
- Pat Pope’s (NPPD CEO) speech and Chris Heck’s (Duke’s VP and CIO) speech — symbiotic to each other and extremely insightful.
- Kathy Nelson’s new Chairwoman’s speech — she rocked it even after a guy in the next ballroom pulled a power cord midway through and she had to pause.
- Matt Schnell’s farewell speech and boundless energy throughout.
- The games at the NASCAR Hall of Fame (and the shrimp and grits — yum!). I was crap, as my UK friends would say, which still bugs me given how much I wanted to kill it on the simulator. Guess I’ll have to go back.
- The band — special kudos to Russ Straayer and Randy Peterson for organizing/sponsoring.
- Cigars under the stars — and moon. That moon was perfect.
- The weather — all under our control, right?
- The hospitality of the Duke employees.
- The fun members.
- The UTC staff.
The bottom line…this is a great show in my view. Thank you to all who attended, rest up, and we’ll see you at some of the regional meetings…