“…It’s the first live event we will attend, since Covid…” “…Will enough FM’s show to make it worth it… What about the delta variant?”
These were the questions that were racing through our minds when we decided to commit to joining the Connex 2021 National Conference, but I am sure glad we did. This was the perfect event that our team needed to launch our new Integrated Parts Management Service. More than that, It was what I needed professionally after being KO’d by zoom fatigue for over a year. Being able to laugh alongside colleagues and being connected to new people face to face was worth every dollar. One thing is for sure, Connex is growing and is determined to be the power house organization for Facilities Management. Here are my top takeaways and highlights from this year’s event from a vendor perspective.
- The FM’s are there!
Connex is definitely the place to meet facility managers who are generally interested and exploring services and products. This is much more than a trade show, it is a networking conference packed with education sessions, round table discussions and my personal favorite the Multi- Site FM Quick Connect Speed Networking Event (think speed dating with FM leaders). Our team was personally able to meet with FM leaders for organizations like Best Buy, Caleres, Gap, Ashley Stewart, PetCo, Public Storage, Rite Aid and Walgreens among others.
- The Covid safety measures were just right
The event took place in the lavish Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center which already had mask wearing guidelines active within the resort. However Connex gave individuals the flexibility to choose their own comfort level within the conference, by providing red, yellow and green bands that could easily be seen to let others they were meeting (in most cases for the first time) their own comfort level. Everyone naturally understood the importance of staying safe by respecting the boundaries of others while still making meaningful face to face connections.
- The “extras” brought true value to the experience
Connex is positioning itself not only as the leader in FM but also in FM professional development. There are many different ways to get involved with Connex. The Connex Foundation Impact empowers the multi-site facilities industry and expands its ability to execute local charity projects, provide scholarships and elevate the industry as a whole in an effort to shrink the skilled trade gap. Keynote Speaker, Dr. Simon T. Bailey shared insight into the customer love approach that Disney has built an entire culture upon. Committees like DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and The Young Professionals create learning spaces that not only grow the network externally but help to develop, grow, and refine current members to become the leaders of tomorrow within facilities management.
I felt that the FM needs were well represented and that the councils, committees, and task forces formed to support FM industry verticals and emerging trends were well grouped and organized. I would personally like to see a task force or council focused on supply chain management for next year. In consideration of the new Covid environment both FM’s and Vendors are looking for better ways and best practices to manage their replacement parts and supplies that are often shipped from overseas. The global supply chain is still a long way from recovering from the covid supply shortage or its demand shock. Disasters like the Suez Canal blockage, microchip shortage, and rising shipping costs are also intensifying the irregularities. I feel Connex could definitely be the right place to bring these issues to light and bring even more value to their base as we navigate through a post pandemic world.
Without a doubt this year’s convention, well exceeded my expectations. Two thumbs up, 5 out 5 stars! I walked away having developed quality relationships for the future both from a sales perspective and for professional development. I am excited about future events and will be keeping my finger on the Connex pulse to get involved as much as time permits. I highly recommend it and look forward to seeing all of you there next year at Connex 2022.