NEXT 2014 Conference Recap
NEXT (adjective): Immediately following, as in time, order, and sequence
The APTA National Convention has always been overshadowed somewhat by the busier CSM (Combined Sections Meeting) conference that takes place at the start of each year. Perhaps because it takes place in the summer, the APTA National meeting has always seemed more subdued and workmanlike in comparison to the flashy and celebratory environment found at CSM. In 2014, the national convention looked to rebrand itself and possibly upgrade its experience by calling itself the NEXT conference. Although I was initially skeptical that this would be anything more than a cosmetic endeavor, it must be said that the 2014 show was significantly more vigorous and seemingly better attended than past conferences. The convention took place in Charlotte, North Carolina in damp and muggy conditions. Known as the “Queen City”, Charlotte is the 2nd largest banking city in America and home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The 4 day event featured thousands of attendees and once again hosted annual favorites like the Oxford Debate, Student Assembly, McMillan Lecture, and the which we recently covered on this blog. Settling in at booth #1512, our Advanced Medical team saw a steady stream of experienced therapists mixed in with a surprisingly large number of DPT students. As always, our throwback 80’s shades, vacation giveaway, colorful t-shirts, and overall pleasant approach proved to be a winning combination. Students continued to be impressed with our commitment to clinical support and mentorship, while potential clients came away with knowledge of our customized service plans and vendor-neutral approach.
On Thursday night, we were joined by longtime Advanced Medical PT Kelly Ortego for a night of sushi, celebrity sightings, and mechanical bull riding. At this point, it isn’t a national convention experience without New Grad Manager Tommy Oswald playing cowboy atop a fake bucking bronco. SPOILER ALERT: The Bull always wins. Dinner was livened up by friendly conversation with Hall of Fame Center Patrick Ewing, who currently is a coach with the Charlotte Hornets. The week was hugely successful and we look forward to the “NEXT” conversation with the hundreds of professionals who graced our booth last week. In other news from the conference:
- The Keynote speaker was Mark Kelly an accomplished astronaut, naval captain, and Gulf War veteran. Mark is the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who survived a shot to the head in January 2011. The address was tied to his wife’s recovery efforts and the heroic work being done by therapists.
- The APTA House of Delegates met to discuss issues and motions related to broadening the impact of the therapy profession by expanding its scope of practice and gaining enhanced recognition within the healthcare community.
- As a Cleveland Browns fan, I was excited to meet All Pro cornerback Frank Minnifield, who has recently entered the PT market with a device that measures knee stability. Frank was instrumental in the creation of the famous “Dawg Pound” end zone section in the 80’s.
- APTA PT PAC was strongly represented and I was able to get a full briefing on the current legislative news from my favorite contact: Lindsey Still. Lindsay informed me of the cautiously optimistic environment that may lead to a permanent fix regarding the therapy caps.
What was your favorite part of the NEXT Conference?