SNUG Annual Meeting

Reported by Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan, Publisher and Editor of Connections MagazineThe Startel National Users Group (SNUG) held its fifteenth annual meeting February third through sixth in sunny Orlando, Florida. With approximately 100 in attendance, the convention kicked off with an opening Super Bowl party Sunday evening.

The educational meetings started the next day. SNUG President, Chris Bell welcomed attendees and provided additional information about SNUG’s valuable and worthwhile certification program. Although originally designed around the Startel platform, SNUG is already receiving certification requests from centers using other systems; the board will be addressing these inquiries.

Startel President, David Chuchinsky, welcomed attendees, gave a brief company update, and then passed the baton to Tim Wolin. Tim gave the Startel engineering update. The remainder of Monday’s sessions were presented by Startel. Startel graciously hosted the evening’s social event.

Tuesday opened with a presentation showcasing some of the SNUG members’ marketing literature; each company that was represented gave a brief overview and associated cost of their literature. Next, ATSI President, Darlene Campbell, gave an update on the exciting developments at ATSI. In addition to a fresh commitment to serve the industry, ATSI has also added many new members with their “win-back” program. David Gardner then shared his first hand experience with remote agent stations, including how the government paid for them! Chris Twigg followed, talking about using the Internet to send invoices and collect payments. In light of delayed mail during the recent anthrax scare, this was timely and practical information. The final session before lunch was the Startel “Enhancement List” update, headed by Kelly Weiss. Lunch was provided by Startel and VeriCall, which was followed by the business meeting. New board members were elected. The complete board is now comprised of Donna West, President; Mary Jones, President Elect; Chris Bell, Past President; Julia Blythe, Secretary; Susan Mealer, Treasurer; Beth Cooper, Conference Chair; Alice Waters, Conference Co Chair; and Directors Aaron Boatin, Dan Horn, and Kelly Weiss.

Next up was Lanette Reandeau who gave an idea-packed presentation filled with marketing ideas and insights. This convention marked the first time in several years where outside vendors were in attendance; they wrapped up the day with brief presentations: Professional Teledata, Record/Play Tek, QOS Merchant Solutions, TASBill.com, VeriCall and Accurate Messages.

On Wednesday, Dirk Moeller talked about the benefits of database importing, and David Gardner got members up to speed on using frame relay service to connect remote agents. Then Tom van Ouse updated everyone on the status of the Startel “alarm module.” Chris Bell shared a methodology to determine the true cost of serving clients, and Dennis O’Hara presented a wealth of information on using the Internet to enhance marketing efforts.

The Don Berry Award winner was Dan L’Heureux for an unprecedented second time; he in turn presented a portrait of Don Berry to Startel. The convention was concluded with a SNUG certification workshop, lead by Beth Cooper and Aaron Boatin lead a discussion about Voice Net.

By all accounts, this was one of the best SNUG conventions in recent memory. Mary Jones, convention chair, deserves high praise and accolades for her efforts. Special thanks goes Executive Director Dan L’Heureux for his work in producing an organized and effective convention.

[From Connection MagazineMarch 2002]