Blood, Sweat, Tears, Rewards – the RTC Committee

The RTC Event series has been running for 12 years now, with our first event way back in August 2005 in the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney. As an organisation we have always sought to build a very close knit, passionate, energetic group of people to design and run the events. They are people who are more than happy to disagree with me and with each other, but also who have the respect for each other that allows them to accept other’s opinions even when they do not fully agree. Our debates are lively, healthy, and on-going! Each regional committee is broken up into a handful of primary roles – speakers; program, IT, sponsorship; marketing – with other smaller tasks that may be taken by a committee member or passed on to an associate committee member. The roles aren’t black and white either, with members pitching in to each others’ jobs whenever they are able to provide assistance.

To put on events of the scale and sophistication of the modern-day incarnation of RTC is A LOT of work! The process starts roughly 2 years prior to the event itself, and a committee member generally will spend upwards of 150 to 200 hours a year on event related activities.

….. but here’s the thing:

These people are not paid for the time and energy that they put into this process! Yes, they are volunteers.

Naturally, any costs incurred are covered, and we also cover the costs for committee members not only to attend their local region event but also one other international event. There is also a committee workshop where we bring the committee into the destination for a three day workshop approximately 6 months before the conference itself (but make no mistake, this is a WORKshop…). And that’s (almost) it.

So why do people join the committee and put up with all of the work (over and above their day jobs) that comes with it? RTC is an event series that leads the community in relation to BIM, that helps to foster and build that community, that is constantly looking at how to do things better. It is an organisation that respects and encourages diversity – in gender, in discipline, in region, language, thought and argument. That fosters and rewards free thinking and radical ideas. It is an environment where people can have an impact on the BIM community conversation at a local AND global level. And it is a family in which people’s ideas, positions, and attitudes are treated with respect and received with gratitude.

….. but here’s the thing:

These people are not paid for the time and energy that they put into this process! THEY ARE VOLUNTEERS

So, as part of the way we say thank you to our volunteers, we put on a committee ‘play day’ on the Monday following each RTC (the Sunday is full of meetings debriefing from the conference and tracking the lessons to be learned for the next event). After the event last week (AUS 16), we took the committee for a scenic helicopter ride through the Hunter Valley which finished at a lovely restaurant up in the hills. Last year, after NA 2015, we went kayaking in the morning, had a great BBQ lunch on the Potomac river, and then used pedicabs to do a guided tour of downtown Washington DC. In Budapest we went caving up in the hills and then had lunch at Cafe 57 (with pumpkin gnocchi so good that I may never be able to order it anywhere else again). We have been go-karting (of course!), sailing, ridden 4WD buggies, been to museums, and more.

Once or twice we have had questions asked about this expenditure, whether by a delegate or even internally, over concern about the perception that these activities might create in relation to our costs and expenditures.

Are they expensive? Yes, they can be.
Are they extravagant? Nope, not compared to what we ask of our volunteers.
Why not? If you amortise the cost of such ‘play days’ against the time that committee members put in, it is the equivalent of paying them in the order of $1-2 per hour. Seems to me that is not exactly a living wage…
Are they worth it? Yep, and we will keep doing it. It is a way of saying thank you that also continues to build and strengthen the bond of friendship, teamwork and respect that is so integral to what RTC does, and it is a very small thing indeed when set against what those volunteers do for RTC and for the community at large.

So, if the idea worries you, do please come talk to me (, but know that we love our team, we look after our team, and we will continue to do so! :-)

On that note, let me say thank you once again to:

Jim Balding Nick Kramer David Spehar
Chris Needham Desiree Mackey Bob Yori
Phil Read Steve Stafford Clay Starr
Richard Kuppasamy Jose Fandos Randall Stevens
Phil Lazarus Gordon Price Aaron Maller
Nigel Ford Martin Taurer Marcus Fich
Clay Hickling Silvia Taurer Chad Clary
Adam Sheather Robert Manna Parley Burnett
Bob Bell Craig Barbieri Bob Weygant


I find it hard to think of a better group of people to work with, and even harder to think of trying to build RTC into what it has become without this amazing group of people. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! If you would like a bit more information about our committee members, check out the Committee page on Of course, we also have a truly amazing group of professional event planners and managers on staff here in Sydney, and two region managers, in Steve Stafford and Silvia Taurer, who do two roles at once! We’ll dedicate a separate post to them in the future.

We love putting on RTC, they love putting on RTC, and we hope you love attending RTC.
I look forward to seeing you at one of the upcoming events. RTC NA is now only 7 weeks away!


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