Jet Rescue

Walking the corridors at an RTC event, people regularly bail me up to ask how I think the conference is going. I routinely bat that back at the delegate with this reply: ” It doesn’t really matter what I think, how do YOU think it has gone so far?” or some variation thereof.

While this is a genuine reaction on my part – the conference can only be a success if the delegate has found it to be so – I do of course have an opinion on the matter! ;-) It seems that it might be time for me to make some comments to actually address the question. Many people would be aware that 2015 was in fact the second time we have held the event at Jupiter’s on the Gold Coast (with the first being in 2011). As it turns out, these two events are the largest we have held in Australasia with 460 in 2011 and 405 this year, respectively. That does of course lead to some other questions (but perhaps for another time…).

There are many factors that we could point to for why this might be the case, from location, to venue, to conference layout, etc, etc, and many of those also tie back to my responses to today’s question.

So, first off: Yes, I think this year’s conference went phenomenally well from my perspective. The team arrived a day earlier than historically typical, which meant a little more time to get setup and to analyse what we were doing; we have added Gordon Price to the team, with a new software deployment system that he built to run our labs; and we had the data in hand to know what needed tweaking from the 2011 event to ensure we best responded to delegate needs. Equally, our back of house team is now a polished, professional, passionate, purple p-team that works smoothly, knows what is needed, and simply gets it done. Finally, this is Chris Needham’s second year as the Event Chairman and he has done a stellar job throughout.

One of the adages the team lives by is that it is ok to have a fire in the back of house, as long as it does not affect front of house (ie. you). This year we really didn’t even have much too worry about in the back of house (… and by the way, another adage is that staff don’t run, really they DO NOT run. So if you ever see one of the team running, it probably means there is a meteorite due to collide with the venue in the next 30 seconds, and you may want to think about running too!).

One of my favourite words in conference terms is smooth. This year was smooooooooth. It was also a lot of fun, with a couple of really great social events thrown into the mix. You can see above that I enjoyed the rollercoaster, and for those of you who are still wondering, no, going straight through that damn chair was not staged! Ouch! Even “Glorious Trainwreck”, on Thursday afternoon, was fun, though we have more physical prototypes to play with for next year.

So thank you to all of you for being a part of what for me has been the most enjoyable Australasian conference ever, and I look forward to seeing you in the Hunter Valley next year!

Regards, Wesley Benn

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