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Arizona Roadshow Recap | 2024

The idea of hosting the Arizona HETMA Roadshow was first mentioned to me back in October while attending a separate Edu conference. Having the event locally in downtown Phoenix was intriguing, especially as previous institutions in Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles found success in hosting their version of the roadshow. At the time, we briefly discussed high-level items related to the scope, size, and overall agenda to ensure this event would be valuable. What started as a basic goal of having a few manufactures and local schools attend, quickly shifted gears. I decided to take on the challenge and get “100 higher-ed attendees” at the conference (what were you thinking Chris). As it would end up turning out, I was going to be in for quite the surprise.

I admit, I was both anxious and concerned for the first 60 days as we only had about 75 people registered! But after New Year’s came around, things started picking up speed and picking up speed quickly. We had multiple manufacturers start asking to attend as word spread, to the point where we used up absolutely every sq. ft. of available floor space. As the numbers increased, the pace continued to grow exponentially. 100 registered soon went to 150, and 150 quickly turned into 200. When we finally closed out registration, we had 220 officially confirmed. What began as a focus on having 10 major manufacturers, ended up landing at 26 tables including four integration companies. We not only hit our goal, but we also exceeded it!


Note the extremely professional programming created. The HETMA booth ended up giving away all items; we actually ran a bit short from the original 150 we had planned on!


The day prior to the event, we spent roughly six hours preparing for what would eventually become a very engaging session. Planar setup a 10’ diagonal DVLED, Legrand had their new mounting system and AV rack on display, Panasonic showcased an ultra-short throw projector along with their Panasonic Connect system, and Shure had their new ceiling array products. In addition, we had various furniture vendors on display including Spectrum and Heckler.


The room was ready to go and looked like a mini-tradeshow! HETMA marketing was at the registration area, guest tables, and manufacturer booths.


The day of the event, things started moving in a hurry. We had twenty institutions represented across Arizona, Texas, and Pennsylvania. What a networking opportunity! As people poured in, we asked that they grab breakfast and meet/greet as the campus tours would begin soon. Just after 9am, we broke out into manageable-sized groups and toured the campus. Half would see and interact with our simulation center technology, the other half would see a variety of our learning spaces prior to switching places. The sessions were frequently cited as engaging and brought individuals together. As we rushed back to the event location, lunch was served and quickly followed by an overview of HETMA and an excellent speaker panel. I am not sure if it was a single day record, but I heard we added forty new members to the HETMA community!


Let’s be clear, this could not have happened without the support of Ryan Grey. Two incredible speakers from ASU were asked to discuss the future of technology and opportunities they were seeing within their respective environment.


As the day wrapped up, manufacturers had their giveaway’s and we made our way to the best part of the event, happy hour. It was extremely fulfilling for me to hear all the positive feedback from end-users, manufacturers, and peers as they made their way out. A few mentioned that it was more valuable than attending CES and that these roadshows simply cannot be overlooked. One manufacturer indicated that they need to attend and sponsor every one moving forward. What an amazing opportunity and one that I am eternally grateful for having been a part of it. I look forward to seeing the continued success of the roadshow and the HETMA organization in the future!


This roadshow could not have happened without the help of Chuck Fortino, Ryan Grey, and Sean Snitzer. An incredible group of guys that have a passion for AV!

Author: Chris Dieterich, CTS

I’m a self-proclaimed AV evangelist with a focus on constantly improving content delivery. I’ve had the opportunity to work for the University of Arizona Learning Technologies team for the past 11 years and still feel like I have so much to learn! Previously, I came from the hospitality industry and focused on providing the best experience possible – something that I firmly believe is critical to success within the A/V Edu realm. Following the ethos of always having more to learn rather than to offer, I consider myself to be the ‘greenest tech’ in the room.