DALLAS — Facility administrators and vendors gathered for the 9th semi-annual Educational Facilities Forum from Oct. 9 through Oct. 11 in Dallas, Texas.
Featuring a ‘no-hard sell’ environment, the forum kicked off Sunday evening with a meet and greet, followed by the official welcome Monday morning and a launch directly into one-on-one meetings between administrators and vendors to discuss specific needs and services.
In between networking breaks, the forum offered workshops on a range of topics, from optimizing dashboard use for measuring energy and other building systems to geothermal heating and cooling for ‘dynamic’ school performance.
“The event’s gone very well. We’ve had about 100 delegates here and 60 vendor companies. Everyone turned up, made it to their meetings, and everyone is still here at lunchtime on Tuesday — so it’s gone very well. We’re very pleased,” said Forum Networking Events CEO Paul Rowney.
Lunch breaks and dinners were also geared to encouraging network meetings, with pre-assigned seating for interested parties.
With two to three administrators from nearly 40 schools, the Dallas gathering attracted most of its attendees from throughout Texas, along with some representatives from out-of-state schools.
In a feedback survey from the Dallas event, out of 21 respondents, 100 percent of school administrators said they found the forum to be a more efficient way to source new supplies compared to an exhibition, and 100 percent said attending the forum saved administrators time sourcing suppliers.
School attendees said the event was a great way to get a snapshot of several products at once to determine need.
“I have my list of suppliers that I normally use. With this forum I realized that there are others with better technology and competitive pricing,” an official from the Seminary of the Southwest said. “The ADA workshop has already caused me to start looking hard at our plans to improve the campus.”
Other respondents said the face-to-face networking worked better than tradeshow environments, where attendees might miss some vendor areas.
The conference is held in different cities to allow additional markets to interact, according to officials from the organizing company, Sarasota, Fla.-based Forum Networking Events.
To complement the Education Facilities Forum that will take place at the same time, Forum Networking Events invites business officers from higher and college educational establishments, as well as school districts, to meet at the first Education Business Officers Forum, in Soldier Fields, Chicago, which begins April 25, 2012.