Less than a year ago, in-person tradeshows were the pinnacle of networking and educational events for roadway safety industry leaders looking to connect with peers and learn about new innovations. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, online events have become the new normal—for now.
The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), which has pivoted to online meetings and courses since the beginning of the pandemic, is no stranger to this virtual format. The association will host its 51st Annual Convention & Traffic Expo to a fully virtual crowd of industry leaders from Feb. 8-12 and 16-18.
“Despite COVID-19, ATSSA found it was imperative to find a way to make this premier roadway safety event happen. It’s vital that we continue to facilitate this opportunity to network, learn and share the latest information and innovations. Our work is essential and the value of this type of collaboration cannot be overstated as we work Toward Zero Deaths,” said Stacy Tetschner, ATSSA President & CEO.
Devvon Holst Clay, vice president of D2K Traffic Safety, said she has high expectations for the February Expo after attending ATSSA’s Midyear Digital event. She was happy to attend and said the opportunity to learn and make connections wasn’t much different from the in-person experience aside from the travel and sitting across the table from other members.
She added that while she misses meeting face-to-face, virtual conferences offer the advantage of being easier and more cost-effective to attend while managing a small business.
“Having it virtual, it gives you that opportunity to still work in your office, see your employees and keep your day to day going while having good, important conversations with other industry members,” she said.
ATSSA Expo presenter Eric Greyson, Global Road Marking Leader at Dow Coating Materials, agreed that the virtual format allows for an ease of attendance and fewer conflicting obligations. Having presented at past ATSSA events, he’s anticipating more people will be able to tune in to his upcoming talk on bicycle lanes.
“My hope is that we can reach a much bigger audience and form some new connections that we wouldn't if it were only in-person,” he said.
While the online educational experience is a bit different, Greyson said he’s confident the digital tools will allow for an engaging session with space for interaction and Q&As.
At the upcoming Expo, ATSSA will deliver all the learning and networking opportunities attendees have come to expect from its in-person event. For the first time ever, ATSSA will host a Roadway Worker Protection Summit on the first day, serving as an industry discussion about keeping workers safe. A lineup of over 50 thought-provoking education session panels will lead up to the popular Circle of Innovation that brings industry and DOT staff together for a conversation on new technologies and methods.
And although members may miss the opportunity to share meals and bump into each other in the halls, the Expo will still offer 1-1 networking through chats and private meeting rooms.
Whether in-person or virtual, trade events offer the unique opportunity to stay informed on the latest innovations and connect with industry professionals.
“There's so much opportunity to build relationships and attend education sessions and really be involved in what's going on not just in the industry in your state, but the industry throughout the nation,” Clay said. “It’s wonderful that we have the opportunity to still come together as an industry and focus on the advancements of roadway safety.”
To register for the ATSSA’s 51st Annual Convention & Traffic Expo and find more details, visit Expo.ATSSA.com.