It’s always fun to watch Teresa work.
Last weekend I accompanied her on a site visit to San Antonio TX to check out the location of the NAEC Annual Convention and Trade Show this fall. John and Andrea Sweeney, current NAEC President and First Lady, also came along. John will preside over this convention and become what is affectionately called a ‘has-been’ at its conclusion.
You can’t believe the effort that goes into this sort of preparation. This contract is signed – it’s going to happen in San Antonio some 6 mos from now. Teresa is there doing what she calls the ‘broad brush’ stuff. She will go back and pass her notes onto Kerrie Rebmann who is the staff meeting planner. Kerrie will go on site a couple of times between now and then to do the tie-down details.
So, you ask, “what’s the broad brush stuff”? I’m gonna tell you. In both the HQ hotel and the overflow hotel, we looked at guest rooms, breakout rooms, meeting rooms, banquet rooms, ball rooms, bar rooms, and public spaces –we talked about décor, views, acoustics, lighting, seating, bedding, breakfasts, lunches, hors d’oeuvres, dinners, food stations, buffets, cocktails, patios, average temperatures, plan B’s, and plan C’s. We met with the hotel management and food service manager , the Chef, the Sous Chef, and the banquet sales types.
At the Convention Center where the trade show will be, we also had a run thru of capabilities. We saw and talked about registration, entry, security, loading docks, layout, floor loading, ceiling heights, power, lighting, heating, cooling, set up, and tear down. The Convention Center has its own set of management and sales types all of whom could not have been more helpful.
Three hours were also made good use of by representatives of the SA CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) who gave us a soup to nuts tour of the city – quite an up-and coming area – already the 7th largest city in the country.
And this is the broad brush sort of stuff? I cannot imagine what the rest of the NAEC staff goes through as the event draws near.
There is a two week long rodeo festival that we were lucky enough to get in on – hint – try the Texas wine. We walked thru only one of the three buildings full of anything southwestern – whew – hundreds of vendors. Each of us bought components of what will be our outfits for the “Diamonds and Denim” event in September. The Diamonds and Denim event is going to replace the formal dinner dance which has been a part of NAEC conventions since forever. (BTW – this is the NAEC’s 65th birthday year)
Beyond that – and I know this will shock those who know me, as well as Teresa, John, and Andrea – we put the bar and restaurant scene to a severe test. San Antonio has a unique feature – a river that runs right thru the town – The Riverwalk – Sidewalks on both sides – packed with bars and restaurants. Private barges and water Taxis travel up and down the river at all hours, taking revelers from top to bottom. Andrea said she could do it backstroke but we didn’t allow her to show us.
The American Culinary Institute has a campus and restaurant where we had dinner – Yum – crazy different fare. Restaurants from dive to divine (we checked em all out) are lined up one after the other. For the most part it is a get your boots on, get a buzz on kind of place.
So here’s the upshot. San Antonio – go there and have some fun. Don’t miss the NAEC this fall.