As discussed in previous posts, the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) conference will have a jam-packed agenda with over 200 presentations and a two-night expo over the course of five days. While attendees will depart with more information than can be believed, those that have attended in previous years know that AMUG is much, much more than sitting through countless hours of one-way dialogue.
AMUG’s agenda is designed with hospitality in mind. The social aspect of the event initiates personal engagements and cultivates networks. By plying attendees with copious amounts of food and beverage, AMUG has created an event that attendees don’t want to leave. From breakfast through bedtime, attendees will gather, congregate and converse.
Mike Littrell, president of CIDEAS and the 2014 AMUG Advanced Finishing Technical Competition Winner, said, “Having been involved with AM and 3D printing for over 17 years, it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn at AMUG. And this event manages to include a number of entertaining activities that go beyond a typical networking session. At AMUG, lifelong friends are made and the education continues through every moment of this extremely well organized and entertaining event. ”He continued, “Comprised of and operated by some of the most revered individuals in the industry, it’s the “who’s who” for additive manufacturing.”
So how does AMUG do it? It gives no one a reason to leave the venue in search of entertainment or conversation. For example, on both nights of the AMUGexpo, attendees dine and mingle while exploring the vendors’ wares. What results is a unique combination of networking reception and exposition. At 11:00 pm, there will still be hundreds of attendees milling about.
For the bashful, AMUG has a few tactics to promote networking. Most notably, the sit down lunches start with a drawing of table numbers from a fish bowl. According to Tom Sorovetz, AMUG event manager, “At all other events, friends and co-workers sit together. At AMUG conferences, we create conversation pits that bring together those that do not know one another. They sit down as strangers and leave as friends.”
To break the usual routine of dining with a small group of friends after a conference closes for the day, AMUG hosts dinners each night. On Tuesday night, the activity is an off-site awards banquet that in the past has included bay cruises and go-cart racing. Attended by the vast majority, these evening activities create fantastic opportunities for information exchange and network building.
The included hospitality makes the AMUG Conference quite cost effective and expense reports quite small. The $695.00 registration fee, if registering before March 21st, covers all meals, activities and conference sessions. So attendees find that the only additional expenses are travel and hotel. The AMUG Conference will be held in Jacksonville, Florida from April 19 – 23, 2015. View the preliminary agenda here.