The 2009 Convention Review

By Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan, Publisher and Editor of Connections MagazineThe 2009 ATA Convention and Expo was held October 4-7 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The convention began on Sunday morning with the usual golf tournament, as well as a tennis tournament; various committee meetings were held in the afternoon, with an opening reception in the evening.

The presentations began on Monday morning, with the U.S. Senator from Louisiana, David Vitter, giving a positive and supportive opening address, thanking ATA for selecting New Orleans as a convention site. Asserting a conservative, pro-business stance, he expressed great support for ATA’s SRO (self-regulatory organization) and encouraging continued efforts to advance that work.

ATA chairman of the board Phillip Grudzinski gave a compelling speech detailing the past collapse of the economy, paralleling economic recovery with the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, in which it was the people who made the difference; people “answered the call.” In a similar manner, for ATA it is people who have made the difference and answered the call. Breakout sessions followed, with lunch in the exhibit hall.

After lunch, Lon Safko gave another keynote address on the impact social media has on our businesses and the call center industry. He shared his “Ten Commandments for Social Media,” starting with “blog like crazy” and “create profiles everywhere.” Four more breakout sessions followed and then time in the exhibit hall, with the ATA-PAC fundraiser in the evening.

Tuesday’s session began with the “State of the Industry and the Future of the ATA” by Tim Searcy, ATA CEO. Reminding attendees that the “past is prologue,” Tim reviewed ATA’s areas of activity, including political action, self-regulation, chapter events, and promoting association growth. As an organization, ATA’s focus is steadfastly on contact center education, advocacy, and networking.

Next was a keynote address from Comcast’s Tina Waters and Marty Marcinczyk, who shared their company’s work to “unify technical expertise with personal connections,” with ample insights and inspiration for the attendees to take back to their own call centers. More breakout sessions were scheduled throughout the day, interspersed with time in the exhibit hall. The day ended with the ATA Annual Awards Gala, followed by Casino Night.

Vendors at the expo included:

  • 121 Direct Response
  • 360CRM
  • Allant Group
  • Avanza BPO Spain
  • B-Connect
  • Capitol Marketing
  • Cicero, Inc.
  • Contact Center Compliance
  • Cyber City Teleservices
  • DialAmerica
  • Etech Global Services
  • Genesys
  • Honkamp Krueger & Co
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Interactive Softworks
  • Intermedia Marketing Solutions
  • Invest in Bogota
  • NCO Group
  • NeuStar, Inc.
  • NobelBiz
  • Noble Systems
  • NovaTel ASP
  • Nuxiba Technologies
  • Pearson – Knowledge Technologies
  • Pipkins
  • PossibleNow
  • Prognosis
  • Purple Heart Services
  • Stratasoft, Inc.
  • Support Seven
  • Teleaccion
  • TeleBlock
  • Telematch
  • Vertex Business Services
  • Vocalcom
  • Voiance Language Service

Wednesday was a day of volunteerism with the Call Centers Care philanthropic project, which focused on rebuilding a local park.

[From Connection Magazine November 2009]