Orlando: Florida Health Care Association Annual Convention – FHCA

FHCA is the Florida Health Care Association Annual Convention.  Established in 1954, the association has been celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014. This is a federation representing over 1,000 members and over 500 facilities which provide skilled nursing, post-acute and sub-acute care, short-term rehab, assisted living and other services to the frail elderly and individuals with disabilities in Florida. FHCA membership also includes more than 400 associate members or companies that provide valuable products and services to long term care providers.  This turned out to be an excellent place for long term care professionals to connect with peers in the profession. The events, networking opportunities and seminars all helped to re-energize commitment to quality care among hard-pressed professionals, and to learn about the latest trends in the profession.  Okay, put your fingers to your temples.  Feeling re-energized yet…?  #fhca2014

Las Vegas: American Library Association Annual Conference

ALA is the American Library Association, and its annual conference in Vegas covered key issues such as innovation and transformation, ebook lending and usability, digital content, community engagement, leadership, the impact and potential of new technologies, books and awards, copyright, outreach, privacy, services for makers, library advocacy, core values, career development, teaching and learning, and best practices on a range of library-related concerns.  Phew!  That’s already pretty much a library-full of topics right there.  Actor, producer and country songster Jeff Bridges shared a slot with twice-over Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry at the ALA President’s Program, and stand-up comic, writer and TV star B.J. Novak had something to say at the Closing General Session.  Oh, you wanted ACTIVITIES?  They we would have seen you at the Think-Fit “Power Flow” yoga class.  Okay, everyone, lotus position….

Nashville: National Association of Elementary School Principals – NAESP

NAESP  is the National Association of Elementary School Principals.  School principals, superintendents, teachers, and decision-makers from around the country gathered in Nashville  to learn about the latest ideas and best practices.  A misconception exists that raising standards will improve student achievement, we were told. However, raising expectations through standards without addressing instructional practices will only widen the existing achievement gap.  A keynoter presented structures that can ensure every student acquires common core skill sets, communications, collaboration, and critical thinking.  Other well-attended sessions looked at Challenges and Opportunities — Why Poverty Matters and What Schools Must Do, and Flipping Professional Learning to Impact Student Achievement.  Serious stuff.  Except that the “flipping” thing sounds a little… well… flippant, no?  #naesp14

Boston: Electrical Apparatus Service Association – EASA

EASA is the Electrical Apparatus Service Association, and it positions itself as the “Electro-Mechanical Authority”.  So what do electro-mechanical authorities talk about when they get together?  Well, since you ask, things like Understanding O-rings in the Submersible Pump Maintenance & Repair Process, selecting the correct bearing seal, common misconceptions about how to dry wet motors, and (here comes the big question…) when it comes to motors, how hot is hot?  Talking of hot topics, there was keen debate about motor base support and alignment, with delegates anxious to secure “a basic understanding of frame construction that can help minimize motor vibration”.  (A clue:  when motor vibration problems occur, we heard, the magnitude and direction of the vibration can give a good indication of where to look for the cause.  Oh, and don’t forget to check the soleplate… #EASA2014

Atlanta: ISTE – International Society for Technology in Education – NECC

ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education, and the conference took as its theme the idea of “connected learning, connected world”.  ISTE 2014 featured sessions in several different formats to accommodate a variety of learning styles. Professional learning sessions focused on the development of leaders and training in leadership among teachers.  There were further sessions focusing on the technology, resources and policies necessary to build the infrastructure for effective teaching, learning and administration, plus original research papers investigating the use of technology to enhance education.  Among keynoters was the comely actress and activist Ashley Judd, who, we heard, has visited grassroots programs around the world carrying a message of empowerment and equality to heads of state, donors, the private sector and the media. Unlike a certain ex-president, Ms. Judd did NOT ask “Is our children learning?”… #ISTE2014

Calgary: Global Petro

“This extensive showcase of technology driving the petroleum industry”, we heard, “features rigs, drives, casings, muds, fracturing, perforating, downhole, measurements and more”.  The SPE Heavy Oil Conference Canada, was held in conjunction with GPS, and explored revolutionary ‎technological innovations and challenges through its tailor-made conference program, offering in-depth discussions and lively debates.  There was probing of technical topics related to heavy oil, including the application of geology and geophysics, reservoir characterization, incremental recovery, drilling and completion, market access, and footprint reduction.  The delegates (from twenty countries) were typically managers, business analysts, design, development or drilling engineers, technicians, exploitation or facilities engineers, reservoir or structural specialists, wellsite geologists…  Who knew it took so many disciplines to make a gooey black hole in the ground?

Nashville: Electronic Security Expo – ESX – NBFAA

It stands for Electronic Security Expo. ESX is, we heard, the only major national trade show focused exclusively on the needs of electronic security integration and monitoring companies. ESX helps electronic security company owners, executive managers and their staff discover best practices, uncover key business and mentoring relationships, and learn about the industry’s challenges and opportunities. This is a different kind of tradeshow, featuring education, a “right-sized” expo of 200+ exhibitors, all focused exclusively on the needs of integration and monitoring companies. ESX set out to energize the team by connecting them with expert education from peers that could help them gather vital business intelligence, understand leading-edge technologies, and tap essential market information. The show focused particularly on growing and maintaining recurring monthly revenue (RMR) – a core financial asset for security integration and monitoring companies.  Recurring, recurring, recurring… #ESX2014