AND MOST IMPORTANT: Time to learn, relax, enjoy, reconnect and laugh!!
Mix ingredients together in the order and proportion to best fit your schedule. Pick and choose from the concurrent workshop offerings, technology workshops, food, food, and more food and entertainment. Stir together – old friends, new acquaintances, a breath of fresh air, and time to enjoy all. Savor the memories, the knowledge gained and the wisdom shared throughout the year!
When Business Officials from the Tri-State region gathered for the 12th Annual Tri-State ASBO Conference in May 2004, all of the above ingredients were present in great abundance. The official start of the conference was once again a technology day. Wednesday featured advanced workshops in Excel, PowerPoint, PDAs, and Facilities-Capital Asset Management. After swapping a couple of laptops, we were able to have everyone up and running for productive sessions throughout the day. We want to thank Rick Hutchins, Adjunct Professor and Director of Computing at Lebanon College, Connie Hyslop, President of Hyslop and Associates, Norma Jean Loftus, Handheld Computing Consultant and Jay Readinger, Education Specialist in the School Facilities Team at the Maine Department of Education, for their participation. The feedback and evaluations for all four sessions were excellent.
Wednesday’s dinner and entertainment were well attended and despite some acoustical problems, those gathered seemed to have a wonderful time reconnecting. The buffet was excellent and the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater presentation provided a wonderful diversion from our normal fare.
We began the day on Thursday with student entertainment provided by the Stratford Public School Music Ensemble and Health Screenings throughout the day sponsored by Health Trust. The Opening session of the 12th Annual Tri-State ASBO conference featured welcoming remarks by NH Superintendent of Schools for SAU 58, Sherwood Fleury and the NH Commissioner of Education, Nicholas Donahue. We were delighted to have both in attendance.
The General Session – Auditor/Client Relationships - was well attended and most informative. We want to thank Kathy Tyson, partner, Runyon, Kersteen, Ouellette, for her preparation and dogged determination in her attempts to be with us. Kathy was quite ill and unable to present. But thanks to the resourcefulness of Steve Plodzik, Partner, Plodzik & Sanderson, the presentation was a rousing success.
The morning breakout sessions concentrated on critical issues business officials face daily. Melissa Bowler and Brian Cournoyer of the Scott Lawson Group brought insights into dealing with indoor air quality control. Dean Haller of HallerLee Human Resources Consulting presented up-to-date information on HIPAA compliance and Sue Puddington, Risk Management Consultant, discussed critical issues regarding adequate insurance coverage. Lennie Goff, the Transportation Director for SAD #47 in Oakland Maine shared his experience using routing software for student transportation.
The afternoon began with four concurrent workshops. The first was a panel discussion on No Child Left Behind law. The panel consisted of practitioners who have had to deal with the implementation of the law and its impact on districts. Thanks to Barb Eretzian, Superintendent of Schools for the Auburn, ME School Department, John Everitt, Superintendent of Schools in Montpelier, VT, and Mark Joyce, Executive Director of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association for their sharing their experience.
The second breakout session brought us two different perspectives in negotiations strategies. Pat Trow Parent, Manager of Personnel Services for SAU #29 and Roger Kelley, a labor relations consultant with Drummond, Woodsum and MacMahon discussed the changing trends in negotiations strategies.
While the topic of Universal Waste Management drew fewer attendees, we want to thank Ann Pistell of the Maine Department of Education for bringing us information to help in dealing with hazardous waste.
And again our appreciation goes to Steve Plodzik for a lively, interactive discussion of Student Activity Funds. The session was well attended and certainly gave participants a lot to think about.
The Vendor Exhibit and Reception, always a favorite among conference registrants, capped off the afternoon. This dedicated time gave us all an opportunity to meet the people behind the products, and a chance to explore new choices for our Districts. Thanks to all of you who spent time with the vendors, and to the vendors who provide so much support to the Annual Conference. As usual, the raffles and giveaways were a great treat for all.
The evening banquet followed, with entertainment provided by the Groveton High School Band. The performance was a wonderful reminder of just what our jobs are all about. We were pleased to have the new Executive Director of ASBO International, Anne Miller, address our gathering. Anne spent a great deal of time at our conference meeting many of our number and discussing their concerns. She brought ASBO International’s congratulations on 12 successful collaborative conferences and is bringing our brochure and programming ideas back to International for their information. We were also pleased to have Jim Rowan from Ohio and a Director of ASBO International and Richard Weeks, President of Massachusetts ASBO attend the conference. Jim was recently elected as Vice President of ASBO International and Richard is running for a Director’s position at the 2005 ASBO International Conference in Boston.
The evening was capped off by dancing to 70s music with DJ Scott Blood. Many of our number spent the time reconnecting with old friends in a festive atmosphere.
Friday began with Student entertainment at breakfast, provided by the White Mountain Regional High School Chorus. What a great way to start the day!!
Breakout sessions continued on Friday morning covering policies for communicable disease exposure control and Defibrillators in the school environment, presented by Ty Gagne, Loss Prevention Consultant with Primex3. Many of our group were updated on Social Security issues by Bob May, Management Support Specialist with the Social Security Administration. For Maine participants there was an opportunity to learn more about changes in State Subsidy of Education and its impact on upcoming budgets (Essential Programs and Services). Other members took the time to review Health Insurance and other optional plans. Wendy Lee Parker, Assistant Executive Director for Risk Services with the Health Trust, focused on factors contributing to soaring healthcare costs and some possible ways to help manage them.
Following the Concurrent workshops, we were all treated to a delightful keynote speaker, Karyn Buxman. She is a motivational speaker who combines her skills as a health professional, storyteller and humorist to wow audiences across the nation. Her message to us was “I have one nerve left, and you are standing on it.” Even the dour predictions of doom (health insurance, retirement, education funding and communicable disease) heard earlier in the day, could not stifle the laughter and release provided by Ms. Buxman. What an uplifting way to end our time together!!
The final outing for a few hearty souls was the annual golf tournament and from all reports, that too was well worth the effort, though we will not vouch for the scores we have heard.
All in all, we cannot help but feel that this was a tremendous conference. Evaluations were excellent and the comments about the service at the hotel and scope and depth of the conference offerings were overwhelmingly positive.
We want to thank all of the attendees for their enthusiastic participation and share a special word of appreciation and praise for the Staff of the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa for a job well done.
As always, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the committee members who worked so hard to put on a first-class conference once again.