A year of many firsts and much joy
By Terri Moore
At PNSQC’s annual meeting Nov. 8th, the board discussed committee successes and analyzed the data for areas of improvement over pizza, Caesar salad, and Pellegrino’s.
It was an opportunity to sit back and review the past year while looking ahead to the future. We elected new board members, with Bill Baker and Phil Lew signing up for three more years and Launi Mead taking over for the final year of a past board member’s term.
As a non-board member at the meeting, I have a unique perspective on these matters. The takeaways that I have to share involve conference attendance and highlights from the conference.
Where do we come from?
This year there were 280 attendees at the two-day technical program and 134 in 12 half-day workshops. These attendees represented 19 states, with 80% coming from the Pacific Northwest.
PNSQC is absolutely a regional conference, serving our Silicon Forest community. But we are international as well. This year there were 10 countries represented with presenters, exhibitors, and attendees–a record high number. The countries roll call includes Australian, Belgium, Canada, China, England, Iceland, India, Netherlands, Spain and the USA. Some of these for the first time ever – Hello Iceland!
Corporate Community Support
This is one area that’s been in flux in recent years. The top five firms of the 106 represented are McAfee, Tektronix, Insitu, Mentor Graphics and Jama Software.
The top firms shift around quite a bit over the years; only McAfee and Mentor have had a consistent presence at the conference of late. The most notable takeaway is which firms are missing. Sure ID and Wacom have been solid supporters in the past, yet this year there were no attendees from these firms. Also missing are NWEA and ADP (CDK Global) which in the past sent dozens of employees. Who else is missing and how can we re-engage with these firms?
New Corporate Faces
The group discount allows PNSQC to reach out to a number of new firms. This year we had attendees from O.C. Tanner, ORACLE+Bronto, Simplifile and Act-On Software. In addition, many firms return year after year. We had many employers receiving both the benefits of learning and networking and the nice discount of combining the early-bird and the group discount.
The program chair, Joseph Ruskiewicz, brought in a nice cash sponsorship from eBay. Thank you, Joseph! This allowed us to provide the sturdy and useful insulated totes that highlighted our swag giveaways (and which received considerable praise from board members). Rachel Eggers partnered with CIO Review and ChickTech this year, and Menlo Innovations joined in as partners as a part of Rich Sheridan bringing joy to PNSQC this year. That rounds out the other 14 full-time partner organizations and eight onsite exhibitors that help PNSQC build community year round. Thanks to all.
Finally, after 35 years we had some firsts!
Let ‘em eat cake: A celebratory cake marking the conference’s 35th anniversary was quickly consumed by sweet-toothed members. Never served cake before!
Cheers: We drank a toast as we shared complimentary local brews and wines with all the attendees at each evening’s reception. First time for a hosted bar–yay!
Shorter is better: We shortened up the final day, which brought some feelings of goodwill to many. Especially those working the registration table!
Happy Happy! Rich Sheridan encouraged us to talk about joy at work, an idea that is significant in our everyday lives as well as a component that PNSQC is going to work on year long.
We’re on the road to quality now, look for more details soon. Thanks for all your support.