What to Expect at IAAPA Expo | Virtual Education Conference
When IAAPA Expo | Virtual Education Conference takes place later this month, the venue will be different, but the high level of quality industry insight featured will be very familiar. Over the course of three days, experts will dive into topics like entertainment, safety, food and beverage, and managing in these unprecedented times. The IAAPA Program Planning Committee is responsible for evaluating topics from all over the globe to put together the popular education conference at IAAPA Expo. This year was no different. Bernie Campbell, committee chair of the IAAPA Food and Beverage Subcommittee and regional VP of sales for Whirly-Drinkworks!, explains what to expect from IAAPA Expo | Virtual Education Conference.
How did the program come together for IAAPA Expo | Virtual Education Conference?
Not much differently then it would if we were all gathering in Orlando this year. The IAAPA Program Planning Committee has been hard at work preparing for the Expo all year. We had eight sessions we were developing before COVID hit, and I was honored when the IAAPA Food and Beverage Committee was asked to prepare two sessions for the virtual education conference. The hardest decision was choosing from all the terrific content we were developing. The Committee was extremely understanding and I’m confident the IAAPA members who attend our sessions will find they provide tremendous value. I’m really proud of the content we assembled and how the committee rallied in the face of adversity. The whole planning committee and the IAAPA staff should be commended for the work they have put in to try and make this education conference a success.
Besides from taking place in a completely digital environment, how different will this year's conference be?
If you are looking for great educational content and interesting conversations, in some ways, it may be better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really going to miss seeing everyone in person, but I have attended a couple of other Virtual Conferences, both in and out of our industry, and I feel like I was able to enjoy, really concentrate, and soak in the discussion from the comfort of my home office without distraction. Also, I really like being able to quickly listen to the sessions that may have overlapped or didn’t fit into my schedule. It’s very convenient to have all the recorded content at your fingertips immediately after it’s presented.
What about the conference are you most excited about?
I know how hard my team worked on preparing the program, so I’m really excited to see where the other planners have taken their sessions. The planning committee has assembled some terrific industry experts that cover such a wide range of topics, there will be something for everyone. If you can’t come away with at least three ideas that make a significant difference at your location, you just weren’t listening.
I’m really looking forward to the live cooking demonstration on Monday with Wilf Seymour from Knott's Berry Farm. He and Ken Whiting of Whiting’s Foods together should make for a very entertaining time. It will be interesting and entertaining to see how the Pop-Up Lounges play out, and speaking of entertainment, I can’t wait to see what IAAPA has planned for those entertainment breaks.
IAAPA Education events are also great places to connect with industry peers and there will be opportunities to network at the conference. How are you hoping to engage with fellow IAAPA members during the event?
I’m planning on jumping into the Pop-up Lounges and tuning into the Networking Events on Monday and Tuesday. I also know there will be a live Q&A learning lounges with the speakers after most sessions, so I hoping that will be another opportunity to “connect” with friends. I know it may not be the same as bumping into someone in the hallway or at a session like if we were live in Orlando, but it’s a COVID kinda year and I’m going to make the best of it.