What Is A TopCon?
- TopCons versus RETECs
- A TopCon/Conference is any meeting for which a registration fee is charged (other than a Minitec or regularly scheduled monthly meeting)
- Features a program based on either a single subject or several closely integrated subjects
- Is designed to appeal to a particular segment of the plastics industry
- Sponsors can be a Division or a Section; both can co-sponsor the same Conference
- Promoted internationally and to multiple Divisions
- A bid for sponsorship, preliminary program, budget, site and committee must be submitted to headquarters when dates are requested. All petitions are subject to review and approval
- RETECs are TopCons by another name
What Is A Minitec?
- A Minitec is a one-day (or less) conference put on by a Section or Division, and promoted only within the (geographical) boundaries of that Section or Division. Minitecs are not approved by the SPE Headquarters Events Department
- No revenue sharing with SPE Headquarters
- Little servicing from SPE Headquarters
- Website listing
- “Local” promotion to host Division, Section and surrounding Sections
- All other conferences, of any length, are TopCons and must be scheduled and approved through SPE
- Headquarters under the existing guidelines for TopCons.
How Do I Get Started?
- Develop a conference topic/theme
- Recruit interested volunteers
- Form a Conference Committee
- Chair, Technical Program Chair, Treasurer, House Chair
- Decide with whom you wish to partner: another Division, Section, SPE Headquarters?
- Select preliminary dates and location
- Consider unconventional dates
- Better hotel availability and deals
- Less competition with other established events
- Consider unconventional dates
- Develop preliminary technical program outline
- Complete and submit petition paperwork to SPE Headquarters approval
Venue Selection Considerations
- Which geographic area is best suited for your conference?
- Where are other SPE events held (economies of scale)?
- Where is there a sizable concentration of SPE members or industry who will be interested in your topic?
- What type of venue/facility are you interested in?
- Conference Center
- Convention Center
- Where is SPE tax-exempt?
Working with Hotels
- Develop an RFP (Request for Proposal)
- Schedule of events
- Number of meeting rooms required, type of seating and capacity
- Expected audiovisual requirements
- Anticipated food and beverage (F&B) events and spend per person (pp)
- Room blocks
- To have or not to have?
- What is attrition?
- Hotels submit bids – negotiations begin
- Submit contract to Sue Wojnicki
- Conference or House Chair signs contract
Developing Your Program
- Typical TopCons have 30-50 presentations more than 2-2.5 days
- Your program can be what you want it to be
- Invited presentations versus call for papers
- Collecting presentations versus papers
- SPE Author Release Form
- Conference Proceedings
- Online paper collection available at cost through SPE Headquarters
- Promote early, promote often!
- Direct mail versus electronic promotion
- Mailing lists and data via SPE Headquarters
- No charge for registration processing; email confirmations sent to attendees
- Membership dues and renewal fee is currently $109
- Include one year of SPE membership in nonmember registration fee
- At least $150 between member/non pricing
- SPE can set up and collect funds from online registration
- 2.7 percent credit card processing fee
- Best to keep funds under one roof
- SPE can also collect exhibitor and sponsor funds
- Registration reports
- Checks can be cut with two weeks’ notice to defray advance event expenses
- Processing of on-site registrations
- Final event financial summary
- House Chair liaises with hotel/host venue
- Identify two volunteers who will man on-site registration
- Advance registration badges in alpha order
- Ribbons (moderator, speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, usher, etc.)
- On-site registration forms customized for your event
- Plain white badge stock and empty badge holders for on-site registrations
- Badge template emailed in advance
- Technology requirements
- Laptop or desktop computer with Office installed
- Printer (for receipts and on-site badges)
Identify other on-site requirements needed from HQ; send list to Sue Wojnicki.