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Musings From Montreal

The 2010 BICSI Canadian Conference & Exhibition held in Montreal in early May was beneficial to everyone, be it the RCDD who attended as many speaking sessions as possible or the RCDD who made a token visit to the exhibit hall and opted...


May 1, 2010  


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The 2010 BICSI Canadian Conference & Exhibition held in Montreal in early May was beneficial to everyone, be it the RCDD who attended as many speaking sessions as possible or the RCDD who made a token visit to the exhibit hall and opted instead, to play golf and party at night on Crescent Street.

There is merit in both, of course, but particularly the latter. Having a distributor or equipment manufacturer wine and dine key cable installers, consultants and network engineers, was once as much a part of a BICSI event as the conference itself.

That the tradition appears to have been rekindled at least marginally is proof, I suppose, that marketing dollars are finally starting to flow again and that the worst of the recession has passed.

Seeing a group of golfers/delegates gathered in the lobby bar of the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel late Monday afternoon of the conference, I was reminded of a comment Rick Boyd, general manager of Marcomm (Toronto) made a couple of years ago during the magazine’s 10th Anniversary industry panel held at our offices in Toronto.

The question asked by me was this: Do you feel that trade organizations such as BICSI are serving the best interests of both their members and the IT industry? How can they be improved? I cannot speak for the U.S. but certainly in this country they need to pump up the membership. I mean, for an organization of that size to only have 811 members in a country of 35 million is, to me, a little astounding.

“They put on a hell of a golf week every January,” he replied. “Thank you BICSI.”

Henry Franc, senior account manager for capital projects with Belden, who spoke in Montreal, saw it a different way: “I think that’s part of the benefit and part of the challenge of BICSI.

To Rick’s point, you know people make fun of the golf week. One of the most important things that BICSI does is give people a forum to interact with their peers, not just in a professional capacity, but an interpersonal capacity. They have mandates varying from education and certification to writing standards.”

That is why regional events such as the one held in Montreal, which should be held bi-annually instead of every three years, work.

The conference stream contained close to 30 presentations that were both timely and relevant and the fact a record number of attendees showed up will no doubt provide the BICSI brain trust with confidence moving forward when it comes to determining where the next venue will be held.

One delegate admitted there was reticence from some of the vendors initially about exhibiting in Montreal early in the planning stage, but judging by the numbers they obviously determined it was worth it from a networking perspective.

“It allows them to get many of their customers together in one place at one time, whether that’s over a beer in the bar or dropping by the booth,” he said.

Another major step took place on the training front on Day One with an announcement that BICSI is “developing relationships” with three Canadian facilities – The Leonardo Da Vinci Training Centre, Pearson Electro Technology Centre and Pre-Apprenticeship Training Institute.

Each is currently working toward Authorized Training Facilities (ATF) status.

“We are committed to bringing BICSI programs and services and making them fully accessible to Canada,” said BICSI executive director and CEO John Clark. “These authorized training facility discussions are an important foundation step.”

Conference coverage begins on p. 8.