NEHA Deals a Winning Hand: 1998 AEC and Exhibition, Las, Vegas, Nevada
Wow, what a conference and exhibition! With 172 speakers and approximately 1,700 attendees, NEHRs 1998 Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition (AEC) exceeded all previous records for quality and attendance.
Throughout the conference, NEHA staff received spontaneous comments from many attendees that the educational sessions, the opening and closing keynote speeches, the networking luncheon, the special events and tours, and even the registration process were unsurpassed in excellence and value. We thank and congratulate each of the estimated 1,700 people who attended for contributing to - and reaping the re wards from - this special experience!
Credit for this successful AEC is due to the tremendous support NEHA received from contributing speakers, corporate sponsors, and enthusiastic attendees. It is also due to the candid feedback you, our members, gave us during the market research we conducted for this conference. Attendee Peggy J. Guichard-Watters from Phoenix, Arizona, stated on her post-AEC survey form, "Even though I can't get my children to listen to me, I know that NEHA listens to me. I found the speakers and information that I told NEHA I wanted at the 1998 AEC!"
As a direct result of NEHA's market research, certain elements of the AEC were changed. For instance, the blue-ribbon sessions (the most popular sessions, repeated at different times throughout the conference) that we instituted last year in Washington, D.C., were such a hit that we increased the number offered and made them a permanent feature of future conferences. We also offered more drinking-water sessions than ever before and, for the first time, packaged them as a separate, specialized track within the conference.
NEHA also made changes with respect to the exhibit hall. Exhibit hours were tailored so as not to conflict with the educational sessions, so that attendees had more opportunities to take advantage of this important part of the conference.
The program books distributed to attendees were improved as well, complete with prominent organizational tabs, more detailed descriptions of the sessions offered, and the names and addresses of speakers - they even came with canvas tote bags! We also offered more of NEHA's best-selling books than ever before at a significant discount and had them on display in the exhibit hall.
In addition, NEHA improved the networking luncheon by making it possible for more people to attend and by setting an easy-to-read sign on each table to indicate specific areas of expertise for discussion.
Finally, we reinstituted the popular closing keynote speech at the end of the AEC, giving attendees the opportunity to conclude the conference with a sense of pleasure and satisfaction about the entire week of events.
As the Managing Editor's editorial at the end of this month's Journal proclaims, those in attendance at this year's AEC experienced the reward and excitement of becoming a part of something larger than one's self. Through this report, even those who were unable to attend can experience the AEC and all that it brings to NEHA members.
The tremendous success of this year's AEC would not have been achieved without the generous support NEHA received from the following sponsors. We cannot thank these sponsors enough for their continued dedication to NEHA and to the profession of environmental health:
* American Academy of Sanitarians - general conference support;
* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - educational program development;
* Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association - general conference support;
* Mars Air Door - general conference support;
* McKesson Water Products Company - general conference support;
* Mid-Atlantic Environmental Hygiene Resource Center - general conference support;
* National Center for Environmental Health - educational program development;
* National Drinking Water Clearinghouse - general conference support;
* National Restaurant Association - general conference support;
* NSF International - general conference support;
* Prism Integrated Pest Management - Splash II, Monday evening's special event;
* Taco Bell Corporation - President's Banquet;
* Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. …