Thanks to all those who were able to attend CSDA’s 2018 Convention and Tech Fair earlier this year at the beautiful Grand Wailea Resort in Maui! We had such an enthusiastic crowd of industry professionals join in on the Aloha spirit and festivities, including an impressive number of new members too!
We are thrilled that our Hawaiian event was attended by such a large number of attendees this year! It was the largest group to come together for a CSDA Convention in 10 years! Attendance was up 68% over the 2017 event in Puerto Rico.
A major highlight of the event was keynote speaker and shark attack survivor, Paul de Gelder. CSDA members and friends were captivated by his story of perseverance and overcoming challenging obstacles in his life to become a successful and inspiring presenter. His mantra, “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome” motivated attendees to look at challenges in their own lives from a new perspective. Many attendees shared their admiration for the speaker noting he was the best they’d seen. “Paul was incredibly engaging and inspirational. One of the best speakers ever and CSDA was lucky to have him!” noted attendee and Board member Dan Dennison.
Other informative presentations and panel discussions included a range of topics. Among these were best practices for hiring and employing millennials and managing expectations on concrete polished floors. An impressive job story on cutting a large hydroelectric dam in British Columbia was also on the agenda. CSDA Past President Rick Norland gave an important and informative presentation on insurance loses and managing insurance risk and IACDS President Julie White said his presentation was one of the best she’d ever seen!
Aside from all the business sessions, some excellent networking opportunities and social events were available in Maui too. The ever-popular CSDA Tech Fair was again part of the convention agenda. Twenty-five leading industry manufacturers and affiliates exhibited at the event, drawing a great crowd, with five first-time exhibitors joining the mix! Attendees took the opportunity to talk one-on-one with vendors in an intimate setting that often can’t be achieved at larger trade shows.
Did we mention the resort amenities? The Grand Wailea offered exquisite luxuries including a lazy river, water slide and an elegant swim-up bar that was popular among attendees. Many attendees mentioned it was the best resort they’d ever stayed at with incredible service by the staff, striking views and an unmatched tranquility. CSDA members and friends also enjoyed a variety of exhilarating excursions including snorkeling, beach activities, hiking and an awe-inspiring whale watching tour that offered wild encounters with humpback whales in their natural habitat.
CSDA received a lot of great feedback on the event. “What a fantastic turnout we had for the 2018 Convention in Maui! The sun, the sand, the warm tropical breezes; Maui truly was paradise! I had the pleasure of meeting several first-time attendees and encouraged them to become more involved in CSDA,” said Jack Sondergard, CSDA President.
Next year, we’re keeping the tropical theme going as the CSDA 2019 Convention & Tech Fair will return to sunny St. Petersburg, Florida at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, March 11-15. This was the site of the 2015 Convention and there were multiple requests to go back. A very competitive rate was secured, and attendees can arrive early to experience the Firestone Grand Prix Indy Car race on March 8-10 to watch racecar drivers zip through the streets and along the waterfront of downtown St. Petersburg. See you all soon!
More details on this, and other events from CSDA, can be found at www.csda.org or by calling the CSDA office at 727-577-5004