By Angela Pitts, Director of Staffing Technology
It had been a few years since I attended TempNet. Over the years I had enjoyed the opportunity to share the experience with other staffing members throughout the United States and this year, I was very excited to come back as a vendor.
It was nice to see so many familiar faces at the conference. It didn’t hurt that, when I attended the conference in the past, I’d represented a company out of Montana. Granted, there are not an abundance of staffing companies in Montana, which makes us a little more memorable. That, or my award winning smile and personality just can’t be forgotten. Either way, I enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with several people that I hadn’t seen for years during the evening cocktail hour.
One of my favorite parts of every conference I attend, whether I attend as an exhibitor or attendee, is the key note speaker. I’ve heard quite a few and have enjoyed most. Rarely do I walk away without some nugget that doesn’t inspire me to be a little better or to do a little better.
This year’s keynote speaker, the president of 9g Enterprises, Inc. and a former fighter pilot Bob Vosburgh, did not disappoint. In his speech, he recounted a story from when he was serving in England as a fighter pilot and buzzing his family reunion. It appears that even back in the 1970’s, the military wasn’t too keen on non authorized displays by military personnel. At the end of his story, he left us with a thought by his commanding officer. After having to deal with the consequences for his actions, his superior approached to ask him if he would have made the same decision if he had been standing next to him at the time. He encouraged him, at any time when he had to make a tough decision from then on, to think about what he’d do if his superior was standing there next to him. It’s a simple concept, really, but it’s so applicable to many situations.
I would love to be able to tell you firsthand about the rest of the day’s speakers, but as an exhibitor, your main focus is to educate as many attendees as you can about your product. We had several approach us that already knew a bit about us and wanted to know more, so I spent several hours at our booth demoing our software. Anyone that knows me knows I really love to demo Avionté. I’m passionate about staffing, and when you mix in a great software product, demoing is a fun way to spend a few hours.
On paper, the days look like they are going to be long (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.) but in reality, the time flies by! I attribute this to lots of activity and a great team member. After our evening reception, which was very well attended, a group of us headed over to The Cliffhouse to enjoy another fine evening of dinner and conversation. We were fortunate to have one of our longtime friends at the conference, who not only recommend the restaurant, but joined us as well! Joe, you certainly did right by all of us!
One of the main topics of discussion at TempNet was the Affordable Care Act. Although much has been firmed up, there are still a lot of questions regarding it. I was fortunate to spend some time with Friday’s speaker Ed Lenz, Senior Counsel for ASA, prior to his presentation on Thursday. During our conversation, he asked about what Avionté was doing to stay ahead of the curve, and I was happy to report about all that has been done, and is on the docket to be done soon! Laura Schmitz, our VP of Operations, has been diligently working to make sure that our customers and internal staff know as much as we can about the ACA, given the uncertainty of how it’s going to truly affect staffing.
Ed delivered the morning’s general session on the Affordable Care Act. In previous two days, all of the sessions ran on time, but this session did not. I believe this was the main reason that so many attended this year; everyone wants as much information as they can get. The session ended up going about an hour over, but many of those I spoke with after stated that they felt more confident about the information that was presented.
It seemed as if Jason and I had just put up the booth when it was already time to take it down. We were using a new booth for this show, and this was the first time that it had traveled outside of the office. It was just as easy to put up as it was to take down. I’m sure that had something to do with the ever-prepared and extremely well planned Brenda. Brenda makes us look good, no matter where we go!
We’ve had several of our customers at the conference and sincerely thank them for all of the good buzz! I was standing in line at lunch with one of them, who’s said she’d asked several others what software they were using and told them she used to be on the same one, but has made the switch and couldn’t be happier. We even had a mini Client Connection with one of our newer customers and one that had been on the software for a couple of years. Both had come to Avionté from the same software provider and had a lot to discuss regarding how to really make Avionté work well for their business.
Now, anyone who has attended TempNet in previous years knows about the Turtle Games. Each year, a different challenge is offered up to the geographical regions. In the past, I’ve participated in hoppy horse races, limbo contests and scavenger hunts. This year it was a cooking contest. Each was assigned with a part of the meal (to be shared by all), but also with pre-dinner entertainment. There is a video floating around somewhere which features a whole mess of the western states doing a dance to Katie Perry’s “California Girls”. Our team also produced a very fine shrimp alfredo.
Alas, it was time to depart. Several attendees had already left, catching the red eye back to the east coast. A few planned on staying around for the weekend. As for Jason and I, we had early flights on Saturday morning that we needed to catch.
It was a wonderful experience as our debut at TempNet and we are looking forward to seeing many attendees again at our Client Connection, ASA and at the next TempNet conference.