Over 240 blew into the Windy City for USIndoor's 10th Anniversary Facility Operators Conference and Trade Show at the beautiful Indian Lakes Resort in Chicago's suburbs June 16-20th. A record number of seasoned operators, plus startups and vendors, experienced this newly renovated resort amidst education and fun, creating one of USIndoor's best-attended conferences.
Certified Arena Operator's Class
sponsored by Universal Fabric Structures
The Conference kicked off with USIndoor's 4th Annual Certified Arena Operator (CAO) Program Wednesday, June 16th. Since 2007, over 100 attendees have taken the intense 2-day course designed for general managers and attended by sport facility owners, managers, startups and even some vendors.
Directed by Jim Cline, CAO (The Goals Group, Westerville, OH), the Program is instructed by leading industry authorities and consistently receives great feedback. The Program provides measureable skills and specialized knowledge that can be immediately applied to broaden one's background and enhance a career in recreational sports. To earn their "CAO" credential, attendees must have their take-home exams in by August 1st, with results expected by September.
Facility Bus Tour
sponsored by Zoom Media
Back from a year's hiatus, USIndoor's all-day Facility Bus Tour on Thursday visited Players Indoor Sports Center (Naperville), McCook Athletic & Exposition (McCook), Chicago Indoor Sports and ChiTown Sports Facilities (Chicago), and Sports Zone (Melrose Park). Close to 80 participants were treated to guided tours of the much differing facilities and gained first-hand insight into each operation's management style, programs and plans.
sponsored by ActiveCommunities
USIndoor Meetings Director, Lou Mengsol, officially opened the 2010 Conference on Friday morning and announced Orlando, Florida, as the event's 2011 destination. The General Session featured USIndoor's second annual State of the Industry Keynote Address, led by Bryan Finnerty, of The Sports Facilities Advisory. Bryan addressed key areas of the market that are changing due to the economy and shifting consumer choices, including financing, technology, competition and management.
Association president Don Shapero led the General Session, which included reports by Jim Cline, CAO (CAO Program), Mark Grossman (Insurance), Chris Moler (Sponsorship Program), Afrim Nezaj (Members-Only Committee), and Pete Spanos, CAO (Advisory Board of Directors). The session concluded with the presentation of 5- and 10-year member awards, and a surprise honor to Don Shapero "in appreciation for pioneering the United States Indoor Sports Association."
The Monument Sports Group (Insurance), Mark Grossman
Soccer & Tennis Systems (Flooring & Boards), Hank Aldrich
President's Reception sponsored by The Monument Sports Group
World Cup Viewing Area sponsored by Arena Sports (Lil' Kickers and Sports I.T.)
Friday culminated in the President's Reception and Trade Show. The atmosphere of the Trade Show was electric, with attendees visiting nearly 40 vendors, gathering information and exchanging ideas and business cards. Throughout the two days of the Trade Show was a positive buzz from vendors and attendees alike, as experienced operators and startups got an up-close look at the latest technology and innovations to help take their facilities to the next level of utility and profitability. Vendors from major segments of the indoor facility industry were represented: from turf and board providers, to netting and lighting, building structures, marketing, sports & kids programs, apparel, shipping and financial services, scoreboards, software and insurance.
Core Education Sessions
The Conference's core program consisted of tracks of educational sessions for existing operators and for startups. Friday's Existing Operator Track began with insightful sessions on "Creating a Sponsorship Inventory" and "Building Relationships with Your Local Municipality." The Startup Track offered an industry overview, along with guidance for maximizing the conference experience. Over 25 sessions provided, over two days, for existing operators, "Building a Redemption Program," "7 Measures of Success," "Athletic Performance Programs," "Understanding Social Media" and numerous roundtable discussions. Startup topics included: "Decision Factors for Opening a Sports Facility," "Legal Issues," "The Feasibility Study," "Establishing a Business Model," "Financing," and "Risk Management."
Saturday evening's social included a World Cup Celebration with replays of the World Cup on large monitors. The setting on the sun-drenched patio overlooking the golf course was equally fabulous, as festivities lasted well into the evening.
Conference Survey Results
Response from attendees was overwhelmingly positive over Conference dates, its location, choice of hotel, schedule of events, moderators, format, affordability and Trade Show. Recommendations from existing operators called for educational sessions to target specific markets and experience levels. One thing is for sure: Chicago will reappear in our future. Your association is always looking for feedback and your comments are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Our Sponsors!
USIndoor wishes to thank its generous sponsors for supporting our annual event once again. Those not mentioned above include:
EZFacility.com (Administrative Software)
Becker Arena Products (Dasher Boards)
GEMS USA (Apparel & Equipment)
Lime Energy (Efficiency Lighting)
This year's Conference was by all accounts a great success. Still, we constantly evaluate how to make it more productive and enjoyable. So, for 2011 in Orlando, we're going to be tweaking our educational sessions a bit to reflect your feedback. New sponsors have already been talking to us about next year's event, and we will be are broadening our outreach to multi-sport facility operators and vendors. Finally, we will be making extra efforts to assist those planning to come early or stay late and enjoy all that Orlando has to offer, including discounts to a number of area attractions.
Beyond the Conference, USIndoor will soon unveil a new website that will more clearly define its distinctive functions as a trade association and a sports association. This fresh approach will help us attract even more valuable resource providers, programs and expertise, as our membership widens its scope, while promoting the activities that make our industry thrive.
SAVE THE DATE! USIndoor has already begun plans for next year's Conference in Orlando - a new and exciting destination for us at the fabulous Orlando Marriott World Center, June 15-18. Sneak a peak at Marriot World Center.
On behalf of the USIndoor leadership and staff, I would like to thank again all of our generous volunteers, outside speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and you! It is all of your support that helps us give back and serve you. Thank you for your commitment to all that USIndoor represents and for your involvement and support where possible. And remember, please, to show your appreciation to all our volunteers and USIndoor providers.
United States Indoor Sports Association
1340 N. Great Neck Road, Suite 1272-142
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454-6822