Fire-Rescue International 2019 (FRI) was a success. We had more than 8,600 attendees and hundreds of exhibitors and presenters at the Georgia World Congress Center. Before going to Atlanta, we asked some of our committee members to give us their take on the value of the IAFC and FRI. One response stood out — the networking opportunities that come with attending and learning in person. Chief Robert Shimer said this (full article here
Attending conferences in person offers several advantages compared to other methods of delivery. Attendees can meet and speak with the presenters in person, which is probably preferable to an offline conversation or a live chat. Most importantly, there are numerous opportunities for networking with your peers, product vendors, and others. Both professional and personal relationships can be developed and fostered when attending conferences. It is difficult to imagine similar relationships developing if we resort only to online training and education.
FRI was a packed week full of inspiring new ideas, educational opportunities, and great connections. One of the highlights of the conference was the installation of the new president. During his inaugural address at FRI, Chief Ludwig said,
"Raising my hand and swearing an oath was not a ceremonial high five. I assure you I am not going to warm a seat or just occupy a title. I plan on making a difference. I want to leave it better than I found it."
Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting parts of the general session and some great interviews with IAFC TV. We begin with Chief Gary Ludwig's installation speech.
Steven Ilchishin is the Content & Communications Manager at the IAFC.