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Previewing the 2021 NSSGA Annual Convention

By |  March 5, 2021
Jennifer Dugas NSSGA

Dugas

With the 2021 National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) Annual Convention to be held digitally March 8-9, the association’s Jennifer Dugas paid P&Q a visit to offer an inside look at the upcoming festivities. Dugas serves NSSGA as vice president of meetings and events.

What’s new with this year’s NSSGA Annual Convention, and how will the event differ from past events? What can attendees expect?

This year, the annual convention will look a bit different, no doubt. Committee meetings have been scheduled from March 1-5 to alleviate screen fatigue, and the main event will take place March 8-9.

Virtual attendees can expect an interactive and engaging experience from their home or office and on any device – whether it’s a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet. The platform supports interactivity between participants for one-on-one meetings, social feeds and other ways to connect with colleagues and friends.

What is the goal of this year’s annual convention? How will it help producers and manufacturers across the aggregate industry?

Just like an in-person event, a digital event is going to bring people together. The interactive platform that we’ve chosen really allows for that interaction.

As we look toward the future and looking at platforms, we had to find something that had a lot of interactivity and the ability for folks to connect and network. We’ll have some collaboration rooms where attendees can go in and have conversations with friends.

In addition, just doing the business of the association – our annual membership meeting and our board of directors meeting – is very important to the association and our governance. Those are a few things we really look forward to.

Committee meetings are chock full of excellent content and thought-provoking conversations and are certainly a good reason to attend.

Are there any special speakers or sessions attendees should know about?

We are so excited to have Jim Nantz as our keynote speaker. He’s one of the premier sports broadcasters of this generation. Few have seen and encountered the majesty of championship sports more than him. He’s a great addition to the program. He’ll have wonderful experiences to share from his life’s work and in and around the world of sports. We’re really excited to share his perspective with our attendees.

Additionally, we’re having a CEO panel update where you’ll hear from several aggregate industry CEOs in a fireside chat format.

2021 NSSGA Annual Convention logoHow has the process of planning and holding virtual events been, and when might NSSGA hope or expect to have in-person events again?

We’ve learned a lot over the last year, and what we know for sure is the mono-channel approach to meetings and events is in the past. We are future-focused and will always have a digital piece moving forward. We’re striving for an omni-channel approach to meetings so we can connect with our members in many ways and in many places.

We do hope to get back to in-person meetings in the third quarter, but we’ll continue to plan for a hybrid delivery for all future events.

What are the benefits of digital events?

We saw growth over all of 2020 and anticipate our audience growing further in future years. Without travel costs and time out of the office, digital events are the wave of the future.

What’s the process been like moving this event from in-person to digital?

Lots of platform demonstrations and really looking inward to find out ‘what is it we’re trying to accomplish’ and ‘how can we best serve our members?’ As we were looking at platforms, those were two things that were top of mind.

How can we best deliver a meeting to meet the needs of our members? At the end of the day, I think connectivity is a big piece of it, and just giving folks an opportunity to connect like they would in person, but on a digital platform.

Our members are very face-to-face oriented. They’re used to being on the road a lot; they’re used to going to a lot of meetings. What we’re trying to do is bridge that gap. While people may not be traveling right now, this is a great venue for them to be able to make those connections and to meet with old friends, new friends and connect our M&S members to producer members and just make those connections.

What can you tell us about the educational sessions at this year’s convention?

We are offering some breakout sessions – one is going to be with MSHA (the Mine Safety & Health Administration) and the other is going to be on climate change and the Biden administration.

In addition, we’ll have some of the familiar staples you see at every convention such as a government relations advocacy update, our board of directors meeting, and the annual membership meeting, as well.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about the convention?

We’re really excited to have a great virtual annual convention – our first one – and we really want to push people to click that register button so we can see them online.


Featured image: P&Q Staff


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