Welcome to WaterWords! This is Hunter Crown’s new blog and this is the first post on our new site! Let’s get right to it...
WEFTEC 2016 was a success! New Orleans is a wonderful town for the WEFTEC conference. The conference center is located near the Riverwalk and within easy walking distance to many wonderful restaurants and hotels.
On Tuesday night, we ate at Drago's (located within the Hilton, not the original location). Drago's is a New Orleans institution and the char grilled oysters are not to be missed! Interestingly, Drago's was founded by a Croatian couple who grew the business into an empire. Today, the business is run by Tommy Cvitanovich, son of the founders. The Croatian connection was meaningful to us because one of my team members, Ana Filipovic, came to the US from Croatia. When our server found out that Ana was from Croatia she brought Tommy to our table. It was amazing to watch them talk about the “Old Country” with both recognizing specific roads and homes in various towns! Tommy, by the way, is a force of nature. If you want to know what it takes to create success in the hospitality business, learn from him.
If you haven’t experienced business travel using AirBnB, I would highly suggest that you consider it. In every case, I have spent less as a business owner on lodging and have never been without the required amenities (you can go for a run outside versus on a treadmill). This year we stayed a couple of blocks off of Bourbon St in the French Quarter. It was quiet yet convenient to the action. Check it out here.
And now back to the show. Keep reading to find out some of my observations from this year.
Where are the young people?!
Hunter Crown has been working in the water and wastewater talent acquisition space for the last 10 years. This is not a new observation but I felt it more keenly this year because I was traveling with a millennial. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. They are a larger cohort than the boomers. Without them in the room, will there be innovation and progress?
Lots of M&A activity….
Lots and lots of conversations were taking place at WEFTEC regarding potential mergers and acquisitions. This was a strong display of confidence. My hope is that the right deals get done for the right reasons.
Booths were well appointed and sharp!
I really thought that the booths looked great this year. Companies clearly made an investment in their marketing. Two booths really stood out to me and they were JWC Environmental and Bio Lynceus, LLC.
JWC Environmental engaged a Hollywood set designer who really connected JWC’s technology through the use of story and journey. The display was awesome! In fact, it helped me to make a point to several clients of talent acquisition in the water and wastewater space. I asked my clients if they thought the booth design was great, which they agreed it was….I then shared with them that it was professionally designed….lastly, I asked them if they thought the designer had explicit wastewater experience? Of course not! Think about how you hire….are you too focused on hiring for past experience versus hiring for the right traits, behavior, culture fit, and potential?
BioLynceus, LLC showed us the future of tradeshow booths. They basically daisy-chained together a number of LCD TVs and then cast graphics and story across the screens. The display looked great, allowed them to present show specific information, and reduced booth space obstructions. Plus it drew people in (it did its job!) because it was unique and eye-catching. Do you think this is the tradeshow booth of the future?
Lastly, the energy was good.
Wait, no. The energy was GREAT! All of our clients were upbeat and the crowd was engaged. My hope is that next year will be even better. On to Chicago in 2017!