In the Fall of 2004, CompTIA was having a conference in Austria. I decided to bring four of my six kids with me. Our twin girls Holly and Haylee, age 14; Dallin, age 10; and Chase, age 7. I brought along my father in-law to help supervise the kids while I was at the conference. I wanted to bring my kids with me and give them the trip of a lifetime. We all brought backpacks and sleeping bags with us and drove across Europe. We slept on the side of a road in France, on top of a pizzeria, and in hotels. At the conference, to save money, I would call our hotel room and tell my kids to come down and sneak in to where breakfast was being served so they could eat the leftovers.
My kids and I in front of a little pizzeria we slept above in Goldach, Switzerland
While at the conference, I said to myself, “If I ever do a conference, I am going to invite families to attend.” TestOut is now on its fifth conference and, true to my word, I have invited educators like you to attend with their spouse and children. Each day during the conference, you and your family will have breakfast together. Once the regular agenda starts, your family will leave to participate in an organized activity like hiking in Utah’s scenic mountains or visiting a nearby historic site. While you participate in workshops and sessions, we provide entertainment for your family. When lunchtime rolls around, everyone comes together again to eat, and over the second half of each day you and your family will enjoy an activity together. Of course, not everyone has a spouse and/or children. Anyone is welcome to attend alone, or with one invited guest, perhaps a sibling, or parent, or best friend.
Our conferences are so unique and fun that, at our last conference, I had two retired teachers who have attended multiple TestOut conferences call and ask me if they could still attend. I couldn’t say no, so they came. I love showing off my home state of Utah with its mountains, trails, and parks, so every year our conferences have showcased a different part of the state. This year our conference is in Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital. Not only will you be attending and participating in the various sessions of the conference, but the excursions and activities provide a rare opportunity to visit with other teachers and find out how they run their classrooms. We hope that you will be getting answers to your questions, as well as providing answers to someone else’s.
On the last day of the conference we have a Mexican fiesta with food and entertainment. I have always told our employees that it is part of my culture to treat people like they are part of the family, so we do just that, and eating Mexican food is just part of how we do things here at TestOut. We have been in business for 26 years, and I believe we have survived because our customers are treated like family and of course because we have a great product.
I am excited to host you and your family or guest on July 9-12, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics. I hope you'll join us.
P.S. Dana Fellows, a former instructor of Computer Information Systems at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Ill., a longtime TestOut customer and participant in past conferences, was hired by TestOut last year as an instructional designer. Dana brings a perspective to TestOut that will make LabSim even better and he is providing us input to make this year’s conference the best one yet. I look forward to personally welcoming you to Salt Lake City.