It's 5:00 a.m., and in a few minutes I'll be heading for a five hour drive to Toronto to pick up Chase, and then will drive another two or so hours north to Collingwood, to attend the fifth annual Construction Symposium co-ordinated by the Ontario General Contractors' Association.
This symposium is one of the highlights of the business year, and is certainly worthy of a couple of nights of overnight travel (and the long drive). The reason: The OGCA has found a way to combine solid education with truly practical networking (and for those who wish, some recreation) in an intensive but practical schedule. The Symposium is not your typical "tax write off vacation conference"; you know, the type of event where formal sessions take a couple of hours, and then you spend most of the day on the golf course. Here, the Symposium is set so that after people arrive on Thursday evening -- allowing contractors in most parts of southern Ontario to get virtually a full day's work done -- you are 'in class' all day Friday, with a few morning sessions on Saturday. If you wish to extend your working sessions into a weekend break, you can -- fair enough, the Blue Mountain Resort is a wonderful all-seasons ski and golf resort.
The Symposium attracts a virtual who's who of Ontario's construction industry, and from a marketing perspective for businesses supplying or serving general contractors around the province, it is a no-brainer to attend and sponsor the program. (What better way to market than to be an expert speaker on a topic of relevance to your interests? That type of leadership requires time and planning, not cash -- but many businesses spend significant sums of money on formal sponsorships and receive appropriate recognition for their contributions -- while of course making the event lucrative to the association, and a great economic value to members who attend.)
We've supported the symposium for several years with substantial editorial content, no-charge advertising and publicity both before and after the event, so this year, the OGCA granted us a couple of admission passes and permission to set up a display. The latter is why I am driving -- carting the display material is a challenge (and prohibitively expensive on our cautious budgets) if you fly.
On Friday, especially, I'll be absorbing incredible amounts of information. More in about a day . . .