Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Q/A with Pat Justis

The chair of GTH was found in the expo hall during the morning hours of Tuesday, attending to various tasks, greeting the passing parade of attendees and generally taking in the overall feel of the conference from as many vantage points as possible. We grabbed a few moments of his time between those tasks, to get a state of the conference, with the afternoon sessions the only remaining elements of GTH.

GTH: How would you categorize the success of the conference to this point?
Justis: Very successful. I'm very happy. I've talked to a lot of exhibitors that are happy, to a lot of speakers and attendees. I've been to workshops and sessions and could not be more pleased. Maybe a little bit more pleased, but not very much more pleased.

GTH: What did you learn from prior conferences - either attending, or just hearing from people - that helped you try to adapt and improve this one?
Justis: A few things. Greening the conference as much as we can. The other thing was making sure that people had time to take in the exhibits and take in the new technologies and existing businesses, what they offer to help get the job done. And just logistically, not being too spread out, so that people have time to get to exhibits and workshops and food and events. All those kinds of things, I think, we've addressed pretty well.

GTH: The flipside is that I'm sure people from Detroit are intrigued by what's happening and what works. What are you telling those folks?
Justis: We've been telling them that as soon as we're finished paying the bills, we'll be happy to talk to them and to pass that along. We haven't really talked a lot about details and lessons learned, yet. We have talked about speakers and things that they might bring back. Like the Greensburg, KS, group, having them come each year to give an update.

GTH: Any personal highlights?
Justis: The City Museum was my favorite place. Second would be tied, between Ray Anderson and the Greensburg, KS, folks who were so inspiring in their message. I wouldn't have wanted to miss those, they were fantastic. Really balanced approaches, but visionary in moving us in the right direction. You don't always get the visionary, soul-searching stuff and they definitely hit the target on that.
GTH: Last thought, then. What would you like people to take out of all this, other than just the three days in the convention hall.
Justis: I'd like them to take away the imperative of what we have to do, that we have to change the way we are doing business. We can't do business as usual. And, hopefully, we can connect them with techniques on how to follow that imperative, how to get it done.

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