Friday, August 8, 2008

Live from Denver: Day Two

Hello again from rainy Denver. We're about to head over to the big networking event at the Hard Rock Cafe, but we wanted to wrap up the 2008 Society for Marketing Professional Services Build Business national conference. Here's a quick look at last night's Awards Gala and today's happenings:

* For the first time in my five trips to Build Business, last night's Awards Gala went off without even a hiccup. (Well, there might have been a slight mishap, but more on that in a minute.) The evening got off to a great start when everyone made their way inside the ballroom a few minutes ahead of the 7 p.m. start time. It was very impressive to see how quickly the evening moved along. People were quiet and respectful for a change, perhaps due to the decision of conference organizers not to serve alcohol for the first half-hour of the gala. It was also a nice touch to honor the SMPS founders who started the organization 35 years ago during the AIA national conference in Kansas City.

* It was sad to hear that former SMPS national president Ron Garikes is not doing well. SMPS National President Donna Corlew became visibly choked up when mentioning Garikes' name during the Gala. Garikes, who is suffering from an advanced form of ALS, has many friends within SMPS and countless numbers of people who he has helped in some way. Every year at Build Business, you can be assured to hear many attendees share Garikes war stories. Unfortunately, we can't print any of them here!

* Surprised to hear this afternoon that the alliance between the Professional Services Management Association (PSMA) and SMPS is no more. PSMA is getting a new name, AEBL, and will no longer be affiliated with SMPS going forward. PSMA's membership, comprised of AEC firm leaders, has declined in recent years, which led to the partnership with SMPS and Build Business becoming a joint conference. Not sure what will happen going forward.

* OK, we promised you that there may have been a mishap during last night's Awards Gala, and here's the story. When Corlew was on stage handing out the 2008 Marketing Communications Awards, her heel got stuck in a small space where the risers should have come together, but did not. Unfortunately, the hem of her dress was wedged underneath the heel of the shoe, forcing the ever-graceful Corlew to quickly reach down, free her heel and the dress, and proceed as if nothing had happened. Of course, there were several hundred people looking on, so we all know better. But Corlew, as always, handled it like a pro!


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