March 2017

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March 2017

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

USITT's Executive Director

David Grindle Executive Director

David GrindleI recently was reading about the tradition in Britain that, upon the death of a monarch the words are uttered “The King/Queen is dead, Long the live the King/Queen!”  These words symbolize that while the person has deceased, the role has continued on in the new person.  It is a stark reminder that things continue.

That’s sort of how I feel about the Annual Conference.  It seems so recent that we were saying goodbye in Salt Lake City, but here, in a few days, we will be saying hello in St Louis.  A year has passed, but it is hard to believe.  We look forward to seeing friends and colleagues that we last saw in Utah.  For some of you, this will be your first conference.  I remember that feeling from many years ago.  In fact, people I met on my first day at my first USITT conference are some of my closest friends today.

Sadly, some folks won’t be at the conference.  No matter when we schedule this event, it is tech week somewhere.  That means that people are in their natural habitats and not with us.  Other folks aren’t in the health to make it this year.  We have founding members of this Institute still attending the conference.  Others weren’t founders, but have been at more than 50 of our soon to be 57 conferences!  These are dedicated individuals who love USITT and the people who make it a great organization.

I certainly see the conference through different eyes in my position as Executive Director than when I saw it as a member of the Institute.  But some things are still the same.  I am amazed at the new products.  I love meeting new people.  I still have people that live close to me that I only see at our conference.  I still say “I don’t know, ask Monica at registration,” because that solves everything. Some parts of our annual gathering are the same regardless of your role in USITT.

I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things.  No matter how many years someone has worked in the industry, there is a topic that each of us needs entry level learning. (Unless it involves a sewing machine and then I’m definitely remedial with heavy supervision….)
St. Louis is March may be warm and may have an ice storm.  We have no idea.  But even that can be a first. In Milwaukee I 2013 we had attendees see snow for the first time in their lives.  They were among the hardy few that braved the cold that year.

Have a great time.  Enjoy each day.  Play at the City Museum on closing night.  The conference will be over before you know it, and then we’ll be in Fort Lauderdale, shortly thereafter.