TEC Hones Interactive Digital Conferences Amid Pandemic

November 16, 2020

When more than 400 electric utility workers gathered March 10 in San Marcos for the TEC Loss Control Conference, most of them likely didn’t realize how much life was about to change. By March 12, governments and organizations in the United States and around the world began to take extreme measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, and TEC made the decision to cancel the final day of the conference.

The association’s education and training department entered uncharted territory.

“By April, the entire team was working from home, and what was usually the start of a very busy conference season became a scramble of contacting conference planning committees, reviewing current restrictions in the cities where conferences were scheduled and ultimately having conversations with hotels across Texas to cancel our contracts,” said Renee Troup, TEC conference manager.

TEC hasn’t held any in-person events since and is planning no in-person conferences through at least the first quarter of 2021. But the education and training team has since March honed its ability to create engaging digital conference experiences—work that started with the successful August premiere of the virtual TEC Annual Meeting. Troup’s team has been busy building digital events for the 2020 Member Services and Communications and Managers conferences and the 2021 Directors Conference. The 2021 Loss Control Conference has been rescheduled for Nov. 2–5, 2021, in Frisco.

“We are optimistic that we will be able to resume in-person conferences starting with the TEC Accounting Conference next April,” Troup said.

For the TEC Member Services and Communications Conference, which launched Oct. 26, participants had the opportunity to view on-demand sessions led by industry experts and to participate in an interactive session. And every participant could start their day with a fresh coffee—just like at the in-person events—thanks to Starbucks gift cards provided by a conference sponsor.

More information about the digital conferences planned for December and January will be sent to the membership soon.

“We’re excited to share what we’ve been working on,” Troup said.