The 2020 WABE convention took place on Nov 4th & 5th and marked 70 years for our organization. This convention was held virtually and literally put together between mid-August and November. Just ahead of our first organizational meeting in March, we were thrown into the unprecedented global pandemic. Immediately, we had to shift gears. It became evident early on that an in-person convention would not be possible.
Our then President, Clint Hollinger, was determined that cancelling the convention was not an option. We quickly changed gears and explored the option of hosting a virtual convention. We partnered with the Scarritt Group and put together a digital platform. WABE attracted over 160 member delegates, which is twice the normal number of delegates that we see during an in-person convention. This illustrated one of the benefits of having an on-line convention, as we were able to welcome delegates from across the country. The convention itself featured several very well attended paper sessions, along with expanding our educational offering with an ON-DEMAND section containing additional media content.
I would like to recognize the efforts of this year’s committee: Our outgoing Past President, Bill Stovold for his guidance and advice. Paper chairs Mike Modney and Tessa Potter, who did an outstanding job coming up with remarkable LIVE and ON DEMAND content. Host Chair, Marco Auriti and Sessions Chair Sarah Boutette who were highly creative in their efforts of getting this virtual convention off the ground. Eric Becker was our exhibitor liaison who helped bring together our vendors into this new virtual world. I would also like to recognize that once again, the glue that held this event together was our WABE Office Manager, Kathy Watson.
Another benefit of a virtual convention is that the convention remains accessible online until the end of August 2021. When you paid your $25 delegate fee, you retain access to the WABE site. You can go back, look at papers and will be able to attend future offerings every quarter through educational seminars. If you have not yet registered, you can still register online any time for $25 to access that content, including LIVE papers that were recorded. That includes the exhibit hall with the ability to gain vendor’s contact information.
During the convention Awards Ceremony, we recognized members of our community with the following awards:
Retirement Awards: George Buzunis, Chris Lee, John Bos, Allan Smale and Jonathan Hutchinson
Spirit Award: Jonathan Hutchinson
Excellence in Engineering Award: Mike Modney
RW Lamb Award: Laverne Siemens
We are also pleased to announce our new executive board members for the next two-year term:
President: Rob Brown
Past President: Clint Hollinger
Secretary/Treasurer: Tessa Potter
Most importantly, we thank our numerous sponsors and exhibitors who ventured out into the new virtual world with us, by providing their continued financial support of our convention. Without their participation, our conventions would not be possible.