I write this the day after the conclusion of LBM Strategies Conference 2020. I’ve gotta tell you…I’ve been looking forward to this day. After all, it’s easy for us to write about embracing change, and leveraging technology to work better and smarter. But it has a whole different feel when the main characters are us—and when the new adventure will play out in front of a live audience.
When it became clear that our plan for an in-person event in Boston wasn’t in the cards, we decided to jump feet-first into the bleeding edge world of virtual conferences. We didn’t know if the speakers who’d agreed to speak live in Boston would be willing to pivot to digital. We didn’t know how the presentations would transfer from live to virtual. We had no idea how many LBM pros would want to attend a virtual conference. We had no idea whether sponsors would support an event that didn’t provide the unmatchable experience of live interaction with many of our industry’s top dealers.
Armed with more questions than answers, we did what we typically do: we aimed high and pulled the trigger. We kept with a three-day event—though cutting the hours back to work with all time zones. Thankfully, almost all of the speakers agreed to share their stories virtually. In order to give attendees something tangible for attending, we promised welcome boxes to the first 250 registrants, complete with autographed copies of books by Kevin Hancock, Rick Davis, and Rikka Brandon—plus lots more goodies.
When we opened registration for the Sept. 23-25 event the first week of August, it hit home what kind of a risk we were taking. Not just the money…but the risk of holding a big event and having few people show up. We had less than six weeks to register 250 people—and to secure sponsors.
Thankfully, registrations came in steadily from the very start, and continued right up until the day the conference began. We ended with more than 250 LBM pros—about 80% of them dealers and distributors.
Over this three-day event, 23 LBM pros delivered 14 amazing sessions. Average attendance at each topped 100 people. Those 23 presenters went way above and beyond—sharing experiences and insights that I have no doubt will make a difference for attendees. The small-but-mighty LBM Journal team amazed me with how they stepped up and did whatever was necessary to make this happen. I salute the 250 LBM pros who invested time to meet virtually with peers from across the U.S. and thank the 19 sponsors and exhibitors whose financial support made this event possible. Here’s to reconnecting, live and in person, in Boston next fall for LBM Strategies Conference 2021.
— Rick Schumacher
Executive Editor & Publisher