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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Surfaces StonExpo 2012: Education Program Planning

Surfaces StonExpo 2012: Education Program Planning
Last week, April 7 and 8, 2011, the Surfaces/StonExpo Education Advisory Council met in Dallas, TX for the yearly planning meeting to hash out the direction of the 2012 Education Program.

The process is intense!

The meeting takes place at Hanley Wood Exhibitions offices. We meet initially as a full group, and then break into two groups to specifically address Surfaces and StonExpo separately. We then come back together again to review, further discuss [or debate] education sessions before returning home.

This is the second time that the two industry shows - Surfaces and StonExpo - have come together. The implications for the education program mean that some sessions remain unique to each show and others are relevant to attendees of both shows.  As you can imagine, when we break into separate groups, the focus in on each industry's specific educational needs.

We start out identifying the core topics that must be covered. We discuss which are the industry's hot topics. Finally, we identify new industry issues. The topics range from technical and installation issues, to design trends, to business best practices...

Next, we review the program submissions, decide which topics make sense given the environment, make sure that core/hot/new topics have been covered and then re-evaluate in case the same subject has been addressed too many times or not enough.

On the Surfaces side, we reviewed in detail several hundred Surfaces-focused education program submissions! StonExpo did the same with their submissions.

Surfaces StonExpo Education Advisory Council
The entire Surfaces StonExpo Education Advisory Council

StonExpo Education Advisory Council
The StonExpo Group with Chelsie

Surfaces Education Advisory Council
The Surfaces Group with Dana and Chelsie

As Chelsie Thornton commented, "I don’t know about the Surfaces group, but on the StonExpo side, we seemed to be working feverishly to cover everything thoroughly during our brief day and a half time together!"  

The last part of the process brings both groups back together to review a merged listing of proposed education program topics, debate which stay or go and which need additional followup.  We don't stop until the program outline makes sense to all in the room.

Yes, intense!

Here are the members of the Surfaces/StonExpo Education Advisory Council who attended the April meeting.

On the Surfaces side:

On the StonExpo side:

From Hanley Wood Exhibitions: Kelly CooperHeather GibkeAmie GilmoreDana TeagueChelsie Thornton and Amanda Young.

Thank you, Hanley Wood and all of my fellow Surfaces StonExpo Education Advisory Council members. I learn a great deal about both industries during this intense process and can't imagine doing so with a better group of people!

Added 4/18/11: For additional perspective on the process, check out Paul Friederichsen's post on the Surfaces/StonExpo Blog titled Dedicated to Educational Excellence.

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  1. I enjoyed this post and getting a glimpse on the insight and planning behind these big shows. I'm impressed to see a good mix of backgrounds, age, sex, and occupation for the educational program planning. And, know they made an excellent choice in including you! Congrats and thanks.

  2. Bill, you're so wonderful! Thank you!

    The process - including the range of backgrounds represented within the advisory council - is definitely well thought out with the right combination of structure and free-flowing discussion.



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