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What is a Virtual Conference?

Español | Translation Sponsored by TCA

I am an old school, pencil-to-paper type of guy. I like handshakes, face-to-face meetings, and the excitement of the negotiation. With the pandemic, I have found myself disabled, in many ways, by the loss of my favorite personal tools, and I have been looking for new tools to use. I have actually found navigating new tools and skill sets to be an unexpected and exciting result of our new way of life. I have been pushed further, technologically, than I ever imagined being.   

In the tilt-up concrete industry, my once-a-year craving was to meet with my fellow comrades to discuss and admire all the new products and technologies at the Tilt-Up Convention Expo. Now, with the pandemic-driven, socially distanced environment, we have wisely chosen a new path for the convention. The virtual convention is an innovative way to keep our conventions moving forward and keep us safe, while being a way to include participants who may not normally be able to attend. While we hope that this is not the “new norm,” and that we can one day meet again in person, a virtual meeting is the next best thing.

When I first heard of the idea of a virtual convention, my expectations were less than remarkable. I envisioned chaos and complications. However, after my introduction to the logistics, I found it to be uncomplicated, clear, and creative. I was pleasantly surprised. I hope you too will find it to be an exciting and innovative way to meet, learn, and promote tilt-up construction. Of course, for our younger members and those new to the TCA convention, this will be child’s play. The younger generations are much savvier to social media, alternative means of communicating, and networking and are probably wondering why we haven’t done virtual conventions in the past. A lot can be said for the face-to-face meetings, social gatherings, and hands-on experience with products and displays, so hopefully we can incorporate both in-person and virtual approaches in the future.

All that the visitors will need this year is a computer and good internet connection. As you enter the virtual exhibit hall with your virtual badge, your avatar will be able to visit booths. With the simple use of arrow keys, the attendees’ avatars will explore the exhibit hall, see the displays, and converse with one another. They will be able to network with any combination of attendees, engage with sponsors and exhibitors, and visit seminars. This will all be done from the comfort of your office, home, or wherever you may want to visit from. Not only is this convention format convenient, but it also means that no travel expenses or exorbitant time away from work and family will be necessary. The best part of the virtual convention is that you are able to invite employees, clients, and other vendors who may not have been able to attend in person. The traffic for the virtual convention is expected to be more diverse. With this anticipated wider audience base, we hope to gain membership. It is the next best thing to being able to attend in person all under one roof.

The TCA hopes you will embrace the virtual conference and invite your employees and others in your network to participate. It is important that we support the exhibitors and sponsors making this event possible for us all. The larger the audience, the better we can promote our industry and grow our membership! The younger generations will be able to help those less familiar with virtual tours, thereby taking leadership roles through helping those of us who may need the extra guidance. This should open new dialogue, helping bridge the generation gaps within our own businesses as well as between businesses.  

The TCA thanks all those who participate in building the virtual booths and those who will be attending. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that our industry can survive and move forward in the virtual world.

Scott Bunney

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.