Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Southwest Fox 2009: Pre-Conference

On Tuesday, October 13, Rick, his wife Therese, Tamar, her husband Marshal, and I arrived in beautiful sunny Phoenix to start preparing for Southwest Fox. The weather was a pleasant change from home, where it had snowed throughout the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. We ran some errands, such as picking up the shirts and conference bags, water, and other supplies. We had a great dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and called it an early evening, as most of us had been up since well before sunrise (2:30 a.m. Phoenix time in my case). I slept a much needed eight hours.

We spent Wednesday meeting with hotel staff, assembling binders and bags, and doing other prep work. This year, we decided to do things a little differently: rather than assembling a bag when an attendee comes to the registration table, we did them before hand, including shirt and name badge. This made a huge different at registration time: it was easily handled by one person, whereas in previous years we needed at least two or even three when it got busy. We were done by about 3:00 so I caught up on some emails until dinner time. That evening, I got to meet the Ceil Silver Ambassador, Emerson Santon Reed from Brazil. I was thrilled to meet him and found him to be very nice and really excited to be at Southwest Fox. A good-sized group, including Tamar, Marshal, Rick, Therese, Barbara Peisch, Dan Freeman, and Emerson, went to P.F. Chang’s for a really good dinner.

I got up early Thursday (as I did pretty much every day) to help finalize registration, then for the first time ever, attended a pre-conference session since we didn’t need everyone at the registration table. I saw Walt’s excellent session on SourceGear Vault, as did Trevor Mansuy and Chris Wolf, who both work for me. We’re really fired up now and plan on implementing Vault soon.

After a tasty Mexican lunch, I spent the afternoon at the registration table. It’s always fun doing that because you can meet up with old friends and put faces to the names of new people. Afterward, several of us went for dinner (BBQ ribs and chicken) at the hotel.

At 7:00, we started the keynote session. After introducing the speakers, thanking sponsors and others who helped, covering conference logistics, and awarding Cesar Chalom the 2009 VFPX Administrators Award, Sara Ford began her keynote on CodePlex. You can watch the entire keynote at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/swfoxtv. Afterward, we held a reception in the trade show area so attendees had a chance to talk to the exhibitors.

After the reception, a group of people went to the hotel bar while others congregated in the “Mike and Toni Feltman Party Suite,” which was to become a very popular place over the next few days.

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