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edpa-keynote-speaker-eric-chesterEDPA ACCESS 2016, this year held at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla., is off and running as of this writing. The weather outside is rainbow typical, sunny then rainy then sunny again, but inside it’s all a buzz of educational excitement and outstanding networking opportunities. And, Exhibit City News is in attendance!

After a variety of exciting outlier Wednesday morning, Nov. 30, adventures such as a fishing excursion, a ziplining adventure and the Annual EDPA Golf Open Scramble, the whole official shebang was kicked off by EDPA Executive Director Jeff Provost followed by an unparalleled evening keynote speech by award-winning author Eric Chester, CSP, CPAE (above), as sponsored by Craig Shotwell and AV Images.

In his presentation, “On Fire at Work – How Great Leaders Ignite Passion in Their People Without Burning Them Out,” Chester humorously reminded us of the equation “Happiness Equals Expectations Minus Reality,” and then seriously expounded on the “soft skills” of core work ethics values, or “knowing what to do and doing it!”

Following were educational and networking events such as a First Timers Meeting (yours truly in attendance) and Women In Exhibitions (one of ECNs favorite subjects), and the opening Supplier Showcase Preview, which was actually like a miniature tradeshow, with booths and exhibitors, of which ECN was one.

At the First Timer’s meeting, ECN writer Jeanne Brei and I had the honor of being seated at a table with Blue Pony President Nathan Grepke, Bray Leino Events CEO Rob Grahamslaw, North America Display Corp. Vice President of Sales Tim Bookout and our table’s mentor, Jay Burkette, vice president of Expo Displays, whose job it was to get us all more involved in the EDPA. Our phones will be ringing soon.

The beautiful night was capped off outdoors by a poolside welcome reception and dinner that featured Roast Baron of Beef and a sumptuous variety of flavorful side dishes – steak-fried potatoes, German pizza, pasta and raviolis, shrimp brochettes and much more, followed by Strawberry Shortcake and other sweet desserts, including Strawberry smoothie yogurt shots. Oh yeah, there were a couple of bars, too, but no one was interested in that (not).

Day 2, Thursday, Dec. 1, began with a President’s Introduction (welcome new EDPA President, Gwen Hill), and a second keynote address by National Speaker Association Hall of Famer Stephen Shapiro, author of “Best Practices are Stupid,” who led the crowd in playing “Personality Poker: the Playing Card Tool for Driving High-Performance Teamwork and Innovation.” Everyone in attendance was dealt a winning hand.

After a second visit to the Supplier Showcase, more educational ops and presentations included “Down to Business,” “Leading the Way,” an Economic State of the Union, the 2016 EDPA Portable Modular Summit, “Withdrawal Liability – The Hidden Liability,” the 2016 CEIR Index Report: A Deeper Dive, “Honing Your Social Media Strategy for 2017” and “What Goes on in the Boardroom.” Talk about a full agenda!

Then it was time for another brief stop at the Supplier Showcase booths, followed by the Third Annual CFO Roundtable (going on as of this writing).

This second night, soon to unfold) is for the main fundraiser of the EDPA Foundation, the Not-So-Silent Auction and the President’s Gala. Keep your eye on this website (www.exhibitcitynews.com) for more info and the results.

-Arthur Bloberger, ECN editor

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