Wow, like years in the past, the decompression after RTC just seems to fly by. I can’t believe it is already 2 weeks since we were all in Scottsdale. I know I heard it more than once, and I agree, this was the best RTCNA I have ever been to. Our goals of – Learn Something New, Meet Someone New and Have Fun were all met. I was not able to attend many sessions, but heard good things about them. The social events, in my opinion, were all perfect!
As a means of tying everything up with a neat little bow (or lasso?) I thought I would jot down a few of my thoughts on the event.
First I would like to make a shout out to all that made it out to the event. Once again we had more people there than in years past as we topped the 600 mark for the first time in the history of any RTC event! I know we harp on this being a community, but without all the facets of this community we are nothing. Thanks to the delegates (Aussie for Attendees), the exhibitors, the sponsors , and the speakers, for making the effort to go to SchHOTSdale in July!
As I mentioned in my wrap up session, it takes a small army to put on an event of this quality and magnitude. My deepest thanks and gratitude goes out to you once again:
The Committee – Steve Stafford, Desirée Mackey, Bob Bell & Nick Kramer
The International Committee in attendance – Jose Fandos
The Staff aka “The Heart and Soul of RTC”– Heidi Lam, Harriet Cottam, Marissa Pilon & Mili Goswami
The Executive Committee – Wesley Benn, Heidi Earl, Chris Needham & Phil Read.
The Voluntolders – Marcus Fich, Aaron Maller, Bill Debevc, Julie Debevc, Brian Mackey, Todd & July Ratley & Kelly Cone
What a GREAT PLACE to hold an RTC event?!? Hats off to Wesley, Steve and Heidi Lam for this selection. All of our classes and labs were on the same level (for the first day at least) and all within a couple minutes’ walk. The plenary space was a perfect size and the exhibit hall felt very comfortable with 600 people and 42 booths + the playground, the RTC VR Experience booths and a couple of bars. The Lab (special thanks to Bill Debevc and Nick Kramer for setting them up a couple weeks in advance) ran smoother than any lab I can remember. On top of all of this, the hotel staff were outstanding. The service and attention to detail was superb.
For a few brave souls, we held RTCNA Golf Day on Wednesday morning. We had 5 groups go out and give that little white ball a whack. The weather was perfect for the 5 holes Bob and I played with the groups. We got some great pics, plenty of laughs and, of course, that one great shot that will bring us all back to the course.
The feedback from the delegates and the speakers was 95% positive with a number of people claiming these were the best sessions they’d seen at an RTC event, which is fantastic to hear. We did have a few hiccups with A/V in the initial session, but once that was figured out, there were very few issues which is always good to hear. There was one issue that we had never encountered before. We had one of the class rooms above the hotel laundry room and the machines seemed to be knocking on the floor. We moved the classes and kept on a truckin’. Thanks to all the speakers for making this a world class event! Keep a look out for the highly anticipated speaker ratings which will be announced in the coming weeks.
What can I say? Ashraf knocked it out of the park, it was off the chain!!! How often do you go to a technology conference and get a feel good keynote that lifts your spirits and inspires you to be all you can be while enjoying the gift of giving? That is just what Ashraf Habibullah did. We are looking into publishing this presentation, but no promises.
The Welcome Function
In keeping with tradition, we all gathered in the exhibit hall for the first of 4 social events. Richard Taylor of Ideate gave us a quick welcome and noted a few of the great things they are doing with BIMLink, Explorer and their newest product the Ideate Sticky. For the most part we were able to catch up with old friends, make new ones and see all the great products exhibited throughout the hall.
The After Party
In a follow up to the Keynote, Ashraf and CSI hosted a first class After Party at “The Venue” in downtown Scottsdale. A sellout of 450 delegates were swept off to the event in first class coaches for the 10 minute drive. Upon arrival we were all greeted by a 15-foot-tall princess on the red carpet then photos with Ashraf. The entertainment for the first 45 minutes was an electric violinist and two acrobats on silks. After that we had “Ashraf’s All Stars” band rock the joint for plenty of great music and dancing. There was one intermission where Mr. Habibullah gave away at least 20 iPads, iWatches, Katy Perry DVD’s, CSI hats and more; all you had to do was sing a Katy Perry song with him to take home your gift ;-)
The Pool Party
Once again this year Chaos Group stepped up to sponsor the Friday night function. After Corey Rubadue gave us all an update on the latest on VRay for Revit we headed off to the pool for another first in RTCNA history. We held a pool party complete with a lazy river, a beach entry pool, a “flowrider” wave rider and the “Dive-In Movie – Monty Python and the Holy Grail. After that party, the adult pool was rockin with endless belly flops while the Brittlebush Bar and Grill had 150 or so folks discussing all the great things they had learned in the past couple of days and catching up on the past year’s projects.
The Gala Dinner
As is tradition we wrapped up the event with the traditional Gala Dinner, complete with a costume contest. The theme this year was the wild west. That did not stop the Viking or a few others from being a bit creative. To kick things off, Ben Glunz of BIMsmith gave an awesome overview of their new product BIMsmith Forge. After that, we had drinks and a sit down dinner. The band SMITH was our live entertainment and rocked the house with some traditional country music then loosened up with some Journey, AC/DC and even a country version of Brickhouse. The highlight for me was playing cowbell while Steve Shell played lead guitar on one of the last songs of the evening.
I am here to tell you that RTCNA 2017 is right around the corner. We will be gathering North of the boarder in Toronto, Canada at the Westin Harbour Castle, 3-5 August 2017. Once again we will be looking to Learn Something New, Meet Someone New and Have Some Fun!
Until then – Happy Trails Partner –
– Jim Balding