We just completed a fantastic week together in Orlando – HTG the first half of the week and IT Nation wrapping things up the last half. To be honest, I would be hard pressed to list more than a few things I would change even if I had a magic wand to wave and get three wishes. Things were that good. It wasn’t accidental. We have an unbelievable team at HTG. IT Nation has an unbelievable team as well. We used the same meeting team at Baskow to make it even more seamless. Things were amazing.
The HTG team is led by Scott Scrogin, who serves as president. Scott not only drives the team, he also handles all things membership related and manages the ever so critical facilitators who are the heart and soul of HTG’s program. He leads the development of our program and tools, and guides us down the path to adding more value for our members and sponsors quarter after quarter. I know no other man with his talent and skill. My brain can’t even begin to understand the level at which he thinks and analyzes and creates and delivers.
It also includes the best event planner in the industry in Christy Sacco. 570 people registered for the event. She is our answer to planning and group happiness. It is an overwhelming task that consumes her for months prior to each event, but she delivers each and every time. Before we left Orlando we were beginning to talk the May Summit event as well as HTG Q4 2012. Give Christy lots of kudos as she deserves each and every one.
Ken Shetler is our strategic relationship man – he engages with the vendors to put together our sponsorship packages which fund over 65% of the HTG program. To say he has a critical part is an understatement. This event had 70 booths on the show floor which is by far our largest participation ever. Ken focuses on the important stuff – building relationships and making sure our vendors and members get value from that interaction and engagement. Ken makes it possible for us to run HTG – without this vendor support we would simply be a memory as an organization.
Lori Weisenborn is our newest team member and has become a vital piece of things behind the scenes. She has tackled the tough task of trying to get up to speed on what HTG is all about but has done a great job learning and supporting the rest of the team these past few months. Lori gets the draw to also help me with the random things I come up with to focus on – not an enviable role to play. But she is beginning to connect my random dots and align the pieces of information I share into results.
Back on the home front we are supported by my sis in law Sue Sorensen who is all things accounting. She handles the payments and receivables and keeps the accounting complete and accurate so we know what is going on. Jessa Erickson has replaced Mary Petersen as our graphics and newsletter person. While we miss Mary, Jessa has done a great job designing the print and online content we need to keep HTG moving.
We also are outsourcing some important tasks as we grow and need more bandwidth. Chris Chase and the team at Directive have taken over our web presence and we are using JoomConnect to automate some of our tasks such as member applications directly into ConnectWise. We do use ConnectWise to manage our HTG business – and are continuing to find more and more ways to leverage that tool.
Mytech Partners have taken over our IT outsourcing this year. Lyf Wildenberg and his team have taken us light years forward in terms of developing our tools and providing timely and helpful support for all who need it. We have a number of projects on the docket for 2012 and the team at Mytech will be helping us drive those to a successful conclusion.
Commcentric, particularly Lynnette Bohanan, is helping us with marketing and public relations support. They have done great work with content creation and layout for HTG and Hands That Give along with some video production and other press activities. I had a number of meetings with IT publications at the recent IT Nation event that were set up by Lynnette and the team.
VarVid continues to knock it out of the park in capturing the heart and soul of HTG. From videos highlighting our team and program, to testimonials and stories on our members, to comments from our vendor sponsors – this team does an unbelievable job with not only video but photography as well. They never complain about our crazy ideas or unrealistic requests. Thanks to Aaron, Mike and the team for a job always well done.
I would be remiss to fail to thank the ConnectWise team for their support as well. HTG wouldn’t be here today without the support of Arnie and David Bellini in our early formative years. They not only signed on early to support us, but they have provided encouragement and been a great source of guidance and counsel over the years. Their community team led by Jeannine Edwards has been a source of motivation and partnership that has allowed us to become established and successful. We are proud to be part of the IT Nation and give it our heart and soul.
Of course, we announced in the last month the beginning of the next phase in the Heartland story. HTC,Heartland Technology Consultants, has added the first of many to the team that will provide subject matter expertise (SME’s), coaching, and consulting services. Brad Schow has joined in that capacityand provided some much needed assistance this past week in working with our content providers and members needing some additional guidance beyond what the peer groups were able to provide. Our announcement of the HTG Leadership Track for 2012, and the HTG Coaching Track for 2013, are two dreams we have had as part of the vision for some time. It is exciting to see it begin to take shape and there will be many more announcements around that in the days to come.
There are many others that deserve thanks, beginning with my bride. She tolerates weeks of travel on the road to enable us to continue building the HTG community. But let me just stop and encourage you to take time to tell these hard working people thank you. HTG is only possible because of this team, plus you. Not a day goes by that I don’t recognize and thank God for each and every one of you. I don’t say it often enough though, and I encourage you to take a few minutes right now to send a few notes or emails to express your gratitude as well. Vision without execution is hallucination. Don’t hallucinate when it comes to being grateful. Make it happen today! – Arlin