Executive compass | June 2009

Behind the scenes at the GXP® User Conference

Chris W. Higgins, customer support director

Chris W. Higgins, customer support director

Welcome to summer in the Northern Hemisphere, from the GXP customer support team. Ah, June — vacations, sailing, relaxing by the pool — wait, it’s only 10 months until the 2010 BAE Systems GXP International User Conference and Professional Exchange takes place. We have to get started; we need to make plans. Not to worry; we already have. The date is set, April 19 – 23, 2010, same venue as this year, the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in San Diego. The format should be similar as well, with the exception of a few changes to incorporate the outstanding feedback received from workshop surveys and conference evaluations.

OK, I can go back to soaking up summer. But first, I want to take a few minutes to explain what happens behind the scenes before and during the conference.

Planning begins with a review of survey responses from the previous conference to facilitate drafting a rough agenda. From there, we start the search for prospective speakers and discuss workshop and professional exchange topics. At about four months from the start of the conference, we assign teams to work on each of the workshops and presentations. One month out, we begin a six-step review process to finalize all presentations. Two weeks from the event, we ship more than 25 cases packed with demonstration and training equipment from Reston, Virginia to San Diego.

Everything culminates with rehearsal week. We assemble the global customer support and product management teams in San Diego to rehearse, review, and revise presentations for the conference and government contractor session at the
BAE Systems campus. Systems are allocated and plans for moving equipment are finalized. Rehearsals take place from 7:30 a.m. to early evening. Then, at the end of the week, we gear up for our move to the hotel. On Saturday morning we fill a large flatbed truck and a panel van with equipment and supporting materials for the conference. In one big move, which is accomplished in less than two hours, the entire kit is loaded and transported to the Hilton hotel.

The day before the conference, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, we meet to discuss logistics, then split up to assemble the Internet café, walkup workstations, workshop rooms, and main presentation room. During conference week, the customer support team works around the clock to make sure all systems and presentations run flawlessly. Along the way, there are generally a few runs to the local electronics superstore for emergency parts. Setup is complete by noon and we conclude the day with one last round of rehearsals. Final preparations are put in place, and then it’s showtime!

We look forward to seeing you at the conference next April.

Chris Higgins
Chris W. Higgins
Director, customer support
BAE Systems Geospatial eXploitation Products

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