William Bilancio is on the program committee for the Professional IT Community Conference (PICC) 2011. He was kind enough to answer some questions about the upcoming conference.
SA (Shawn Anderson): What will attendees learn at PICC '11 that they didn't already know?
WB (William Bilancio): Well that depends on what they already know. We have classes that are for the jr admin all the way to the seinor admin. What I really hope they learn is that there is a whole community of admins that are always ready to help there fellow admin.
SA: Based on what you learned at PICC '10, what changes did you make for this years conference?
WB: We have added a vendor area and we have increased the amount of classes offered. We are also offering more windows classes then we did last year. That is one of my goals with this conference, to make the Windows admins feel welcome and to let them there is a space for them in the LOPSA world.
SA: What is LOPSA?
WB: LOPSA is the League of Professional System Administrators. It's a non-profit organization for System Administrators. (www.lopsa.org)
SA: Thinking back to last years conference, what were some common comments or compliments?
WB: Last years attendees really enjoyed the hallway track. It's a great place to meet new people and talk with your peers and just network with other admins.
Of course the price everybody liked. It's low cost for 2 great days of training and talks and papers. We try to keep the price low and still give the attendees there money's worth in traing, talks and food. All meals except breakfast is included in the price.
SA: What process would someone in another location need to follow to start a PICC conference in their area?
WB: Funny you should ask that. The LOPSA local group in Seattle just put on there own conference Cascadia IT. It was a big success.
The first thing a group needs to do is get the volunteers to help plan it and put it on. Both PICC and Cascadia were put together by volunteers. Once you get the volunteers and put together a budget and find a location, it's all about marketing and getting the word out that you are having a conference.
SA: Would you be willing to provide some pointers to other System Admins who would like to organize a PICC conference in their area?
WB: Actually a few of us who put on PICC have formed a company to do just that. We can take care of all finances and getting the contracts together for the venu and food as well as tap the LOPSA education committee to get you trainers.
SA: Any final thoughts on PICC '11?
WB: Yes PICC '11 will be better and bigger then PICC '10. Matt Simmons, the Program Chair, has done a great job getting great talks and keynote speakers. The LOPSA education committee has gotten a great batch of trainers and classes. The price can't be beat for 2 days of training and conference with food included. The early bird pricing ends on April 4th and then the price of admission goes up $75.00.
I'd like to thank Mr. Bilancio for taking the time to answer some questions.
The national conferences are great, but it's too easy to become a wallflower (something that sys admins have always exceled at).
At PICC '11 you'll be face-to-face with sys admins who are fighting the same fires that you are. Pick their brains, and let them pick yours.
It's all about networking.
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