The past four months have been crazy to say the least – and now it’s time to give everyone an idea on how we plan to approach the next four months leading up to the Fall Convention this October 27-29 in Orlando.
Since the cancellation of EMDA’s Spring Management Workshop back in early April, the EMDA Board has held numerous calls regarding plans for the Fall Convention. And, after conversations between the Boards of EMDA and the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) – the Fall Conventions will go on if we feel it can be done safely and in a way that does not negatively impact the valuable networking experience noted as one of the biggest benefits of EMDA membership.
Decision-making is difficult to say the least when we see how quickly things change and how no one really knows what will come next. Our takeaway from watching the last four months is that it pays to stay patient and adaptable. “Flexibility” and live events are usually at odds with each other. From hiring vendors and speakers weeks in advance, and attendees having to confirm travel plans – it’s impossible to take a completely “let’s see how things work out” approach to convention planning. We’ve all seen how localized the issues caused by this virus can be. A couple of months ago Florida wanted New Yorkers to stay out … and now it’s the opposite. Some areas of the country may seem to be in recovery while others are headed in the wrong direction – and two weeks from now it could all change again.
So, what does it all mean for the EMDA Fall Convention?
It is EMDA’s responsibility to deliver the best experience we can in a safe environment. There is no doubt that this year, the Fall Convention will be different. That’s okay, so long as we feel that we can still create a dynamic experience worthy of your time and money.
That’s our bar, and, after discussions with the leaderships of EMDA and FEMA, we’ve identified late July/early August as the next target time period for us to make a decision on how to proceed. We will communicate all details and options if a pivot to a virtual or hybrid event has to be made (The Associations are exploring how to integrate a digital component for those who prefer it). Once that decision is made – which will largely be dependent on what the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista hotel and public health officials tell us, as well as how other events and attractions in the Orlando-area are handling crowds – we will communicate our plan, as well all of your options.
FEMA opened their Convention registration today and EMDA’s registration will open in the next week or so, as usual – and be assured, if you register and it turns out we have to cancel the in-person event, fees will be refunded.
Thank you for the patience everyone has shown as we all work through what will likely go down as the most challenging year in all our careers. With so much going on in the world there has never been a more important time for the networking and education opportunities that EMDA delivers. We will do our absolute best to ensure that continues.