By Janet Hauk, ESA Convention Chair
This year’s convention was a busy one from start to finish! Many people arrived the prior weekend to do a little exploring on their own before getting down to business. Then on Monday they were off to Santa Fe on the Rail Runner for a little history, shopping and eating. The only complaint I heard was there wasn’t enough time to do it all. There was an optional trip to Sandia Peak and the world’s longest tramway planned for Tuesday evening but the wildfires in Arizona called for a change in plans. There was a thick layer of smoke blanketing the area so we
decided to switch things up and move this excursion to Thursday. The sunset was amazing and the meal was incredible.
Our outside tours this year were to Los Alamos Labs Bradbury Science Museum and the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. You don’t have to be a scientist to appreciate these museums. There is so much history there, and detailed explanations on each exhibit make it easy to absorb it all. The scenery on this trip was amazing and lunch outside on the patio under clear blue skies was exceptional.
Atop Sandia Peak
From the Wednesday reception through the meetings there was a lot of networking going on. We thanked Brian Devine for his years of service as director of District 1, and although he wasn’t in attendance, we welcomed new director, Joey Strickland. The Supporting Members elected a new Assistant Supporting Member Representative, Dave Beckwith. There were a few new faces who were welcomed into the group who assured us they will return next year. Jep Enck, our speaker extraordinaire, was informative and entertaining. We learned many things about customer service and he included a primer for each of us to develop our own customer service manual. In these more difficult economic times it is more important than ever to keep our current customers while building a bigger clientele. And there was a reminder that the customer isn’t always right. If you missed him, you missed one of our better speakers!
Jep Enck facilitated the beginning of our Roundtable Discussions and the members were soon voicing their concerns about a number of items they wanted to discuss with their peers. A lively discussion ensued and many expressed their regrets that the time was up much too soon. No matter what we do or where we go this is always the most appreciated part of our conventions. It is member driven and many satisfying answers to perplexing problems are found here.
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
After a break for lunch and an abbreviated board meeting, we were on the road again. This journey took us to a fabulous restaurant called El Pinto. Our most efficient bus driver, Charles, drove through the dusty parking lot to deliver us to our assigned entry. When he opened the door of the bus we were met by the sounds of a mariachi band and as each of us passed through the gate we were handed a cold margarita and escorted to our private open air patio. The fun had begun! From the appetizers to dessert the dinner was most pleasing but the star of this evening was the atmosphere created in this setting. No sitting down in a stuffy restaurant at an assigned table; we were free to move about the area and enjoy more camaraderie and another opportunity to network. We finished the evening with the drawing of the three scholarship winners, as well as more door prizes, and a very competitive group of bidders for the Silent Auction items. All agreed that it was a most successful ending to an enjoyable week. As a reminder, if you have not sent your Convention Evaluation sheets in, please do. Your comments and opinions matter to us and will help in planning future meetings.
Now, on to San Antonio…
Janet Hauk, ESA Convention Chair
Download the ESA July 2011 Newsletter