One of the main things everyone on the Infrastructure Resources team works hard on is to be good listeners. If we do a good job listening, we know which conference sessions to develop and what articles to include in dp-PRO and the Excavation Safety Guide. If we listen to our readers, we hear which speakers and authors resonate. If we listen to partner organizations and endorsing organizations, we choose the best dates and locations for our conference. If we listen to our exhibitors and sponsors, we create an expo floor that is full of things that will make attendees want to spend time there.
We can always get better, and one of our main goals rolling into 2022 is to keep listening and keep improving. One of the reasons we are so excited about our 2022 and 2023 live events is that we have been able to listen to the 23,522 attendees that have attended since 2004, as well as the 1,704 subject matter experts who have put on sessions. Listening has helped us develop the right mix of session topics which appeal to attendees, whether they’re attending their 10th or 15th conference or coming to their very first Global Excavation Safety Conference. This has also helped us keep the quality of our sessions high. In 2019, our last live conference, our session quality rating was 3.41 (4 is EXCELLENT and 3 is VERY GOOD).
Many of our attendees have told us that they would rather see our conference happen earlier in March, or even February, because it is harder to get away as the dig season gets close. People have told us that they have big events during April, National Safe Digging Month (NSDM), which require significant time to plan and execute. They don’t want to be gone right before such a busy time. Hearing all this feedback led us to having the 2022 event March 1-3. We listened to people tell us they loved Tampa, so in 2023 we are going back to Tampa, February 14-16.
Exhibitors are a key component in a good Expo and a successful overall event, so feedback from both attendees and exhibitors shaped some changes to the schedule and the layout for Global ESC 2022:
- People told us that the large, structured lunches and breakfasts were too formal and rigid. Based on this feedback we created meal pods scattered around the Expo floor which give people the flexibility to grab their meal when it is convenient for them and sit with smaller groups of people where they can network. This also gives conference attendees more time to spend with exhibitors learning about new technology.
- Many attendees have told us that in addition to full length sessions, they would love to see some shorter sessions. Rather than reduce the number of full-length sessions we have added shorter sessions which will take place on the Expo floor. Some of these will be educational Tech Talks and some will be facilitated discussions more aimed at networking and idea exchange. This will make the Expo floor more fun and full of activity.
- Some people tell us they want sessions from dawn to dusk and others want to see more of a mix of sessions, networking, and Expo time. To accommodate everyone, we dedicated Expo hours where everything is on the Expo floor. We have two learning labs on the Expo floor which will have sessions, along with the Tech Talks, networking talks, and new product demos. When the Expo floor is closed, we will have Plenaries and sessions back-to-back.
We know many people are super excited to finally be back face-to-face, but we also know not everyone is comfortable traveling yet. Back in late 2019 when we started planning our 2022 event, I never expected Covid to still be such a big part of our world, but it is clear that a sizeable part of our industry has adapted to the new world. We totally respect everyone’s perspective and have done everything possible to find the right mix of safety and functionality.
My wife and I both kicked off 2022 with positive Covid tests, so now we have been on both sides of the fence. I literally tested positive the morning of January 1. Hello 2022. Luckily, my symptoms were very minor. My wife had far worse symptoms and they dragged on longer, but she battled through it. Now, it is full speed ahead into 2022.
I hope to see many of you in Phoenix, but if you can’t make this year be sure to circle Feb 14-16, 2023, for Global ESC 2023 in Tampa, Florida