Changes made for 2014 CGSA conference
The Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA) has announced a number of significant changes to its flagship annual event, the Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show (CITCTS) for implementation at its 2014 conference, scheduled for Feb. 17-21 in Vancouver, B.C. The west coast venue will play host in partnership with the Western Canada Turfgrass Association (WCTA) and with the cooperation of the British Columbia Golf Superintendents Association (BCGSA).
For the past 15 months, the CGSA Conference and Events Committee, chaired by James Beebe, CGSA Alberta director and superintendent at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club in Priddis, Alta., has been reviewing member and exhibitor input, reviewing research and debating options for changes to the CITCTS format. Among the changes recommended by the committee and adopted by the CGSA board of directors is that, beginning in 2014, CITCTS will be staged from Tuesday to Thursday with specialized learning workshops (SLW) scheduled on the preceding Monday and the following Friday. Individuals attending CITCTS will be able to attend the event within the normal work week, a request from delegates and members that was repeated frequently in the hundreds of survey responses received during the review’s 15-month timeframe.
Another significant area of change involves the trade show. Exhibitors have regularly expressed concern with the competing time components of the current format indicating that hours that competed with education programming were unproductive hours. Delegates on the other hand told us that 98 per cent of them attend the trade show with the majority, 78 per cent, attending for between four and eight hours. The 2014 CITCTS trade show will consist of eight to nine hours of non-competing trade show time, up from the 6.5 hours under the previous format. There will be no competing hours. The timing has been reconfigured from a Monday and Tuesday format to a Tuesday early evening and all day Wednesday format and will be complemented by demonstrations, tech talks, prizes, food and beverage and other activities to encourage enhanced attendance by CITCTS delegates. This approach will reduce overall exhibitor costs, enhance the exhibitor/delegate trade show experience and provide an opportunity for exhibitors to take part in the education program.
Education opportunities were a priority throughout the CITCTS review. The new format will embrace concurrent conference sessions, keynote plenary presentations, industry sponsored time slots, tech talks and demonstrations as well as full and half-day SLW as every avenue is explored to address training and information needs while providing as many viable options to gain continuing education credits as is possible within the five-day program. Key among these changes for exhibitors will be the opportunity to purchase a 30-minute time slot in one of three rooms during the education component of CITCTS to provide delegates with their company message. There will be 12 such times available, six on each of Tuesday and Thursday.
CITCTS will continue to have a robust social program, providing a number of networking opportunities for delegates, including the president’s reception, the awards luncheon, the trade show social hour and the party night. The new format will provide many evening opportunities for personal time to explore the host city and get together with friends as well as for industry attendees to provide hospitality activities for delegates.
CITCTS 2014 represents significant change, change based on input and feedback from users, members and suppliers. In many ways it will be business as usual, as the CGSA in cooperation with the WCTA and BCGSA, bring the Canadian turf management profession the biggest annual professional development and exhibit opportunity available in Canada for golf course professionals and sports field managers.