All Member Forum

A Virtual Success

By Mr. Jeffrey Paniati P.E posted 10-01-2020 02:32 PM

By all accounts, our first-ever virtual ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibition was a success, with nearly 1,800 participants during the two weeks of technical sessions, and many more joining in the 25 Council and Committee meetings held the third week. You can read highlights from the meeting in this issue of ITE Journal, and I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the event and thank those who contributed to its success.

It was with more than a little trepidation that we began developing the meeting, not knowing how well the program would translate to the virtual world, or if the technology would hold up. While we were able to gather lessons learned from other association colleagues, our meeting was the largest virtual event in the transportation field at the time of delivery—so we were pioneering, as well.

As I look back on the three plenaries, 30 technical sessions, 40 posters, eight workshops, 25+ exhibitors, and 10 social events, it all worked remarkably well. The virtual format allowed us to better manage the time allocated between presentations and questions better than what a live event permits. We reached members who have never
attended an ITE Annual Meeting before, and recording all of the sessions gave registrantsaccess to content they might have missed, even after the meeting’s conclusion.

While nothing replicates the social interaction of in-person meetings, we had some great social events using the virtual tools at our disposal. Thanks to John Davis and the
Traffic Bowl Committee, Mike Salatti and Dan Beaty, and Dave Thatcher and Stantec for their efforts. Much appreciation goes to the Southern, Mid-Colonial, Midwest, MOVITE,
Mountain, Northeast, and Florida Puerto Rico Districts for putting on excellent events.

Thanks to our Executive Committee—ITE International President Randy McCourt, International Vice President Alyssa Rodriquez, and Past President Bruce Belmore for their
outstanding job in helping us deliver key elements of the program. Randy’s facilitation of the Opening and Closing sessions was carried off without a hitch, and Alyssa moderated
one of the most impactful sessions, the Transportation and Equity Plenary. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you watch the recording, available on YouTube.

I want to thank our Title sponsors—Cubic Trafficware, Econolite, Gannett-Fleming, GRIDSMART Technologies, Kimley-Horn, Miovision, Siemens, and Transoft Solutions—
and all of our sponsors and exhibitors. Your support is essential to our success. And congratulations to all of our award winners.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to recognize the ITE staff. In March we began contingency planning for a possible virtual meeting. Much time was spent researching technology, engaging with speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors, developing schedules and scripts, building the online program and Guidebook, assisting attendees through the
registration and access process, and providing behind-the-scenes support. The ITE staff shined as they turned that March vision into a very successful August reality.

While I look forward to being together in Portland, OR, USA at the 2021 ITE Annual Meeting, you can be certain that we will take advantage of the lessons learned from this
year’s meeting to bring you more technical content virtually in the coming year. As always, you can connect with me on the ITE e-Community and on Twitter, @JeffPaniatiITE.

This is from the Director's Message in the October 2020 issue of ITE Journal.