By Andy Slawetsky – BTA held their annual National Conference at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Las Vegas. Nearly 100 dealers and exhibitors gathered at this great facility for a couple of days of educational sessions provided by the 90+ year old association as well as visits with exhibitors.

The event began with a keynote by Meridith Elliott Powell, president and CEO of MotionFirst Inc.

After Meridith, some recognition was given to a few companies such as Muratec and Toshiba and others who received some podium time for their BTA Channel Choice awards. Congrats to all the winners!

The entertainment came after dinner when a comedian/magician took the stage. Asking for a volunteer from the audience, the performer selected BTA general council Bob Goldberg to help with part of the show. Big mistake, as Bob essentially took over the act. The magician definitely got more than he bargained for and it was absolutely hilarious. You can see the first of two videos below (you’re welcome).

The next morning started bright and early, with a full day of presentations from Mitch Morgan of Growth Achievement Partners, Darrell Amy of Dealer Marketing and Ken Staubitz of Modern Office Methods (MOM). And that was all before lunch!

After lunch, there were more sessions from Jim Kahrs of Prosperity Plus, Doug Johnson from LMI and I finished the afternoon with an industry overview where I talked about trends and What’s Happenin’ in the industry with the OEMs.

Other than one speaker going way over his time (SORRY!), the schedule held tight and sessions were only 45 minutes long, followed by 45 minute breaks where attendees could meet with the exhibitors and visit their booths. It was a really nice mix between sitting and mingling and I liked the format quite a bit.

For entertainment that evening, BTA took attendees to Circue du Soleil. I didn’t attend as I had an early flight the next morning but it sounded like a fun night.

Click here for all event photos and videos

The schedule showed a full second day as well with GreatAmerica’s Jennie Fisher kicking things off, to be followed by Tom Callinan of Strategy Development and Gil Cargill of Cargill Consulting. The event wound down with prize drawings.

The conference was sponsored, with many OEMs and partner companies taking booth space at the show. GreatAmerica had a booth, as did ACDI, Xerox, HP, Carolina Wholesale (sponsored by Samsung), OKI Data, Brother, Epson, eesyQ, Toshiba, Kyocera, Polek & Polek, Clover, Continuum, Panasonic, ESP, Lexmark, Muratec, BEI and many others.

BTA has done an amazing job over the years creating a great atmosphere where dealers can learn about trends and resources and develop strong relationships with new and current partners. They’ve also provided sponsors with an opportunity to get in front of dealers and show them what they do and how they can help them make more money.

It was a great couple of days and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak in front of crowds like this. Who else would listen to me talk about copiers and printers???

The next BTA event is coming up soon, with the Grand Slam conference being held in Philadelphia September 13 – 14.

~Andy Slawetsky